TORONTO, July 26, 2023 – Tyson, a 4-year-old son of Tapit-Honouring, will tackle 1 1/16 miles on the Tapeta and five rivals in Saturday’s $175,000 Seagram Cup (G2) at Woodbine.
The Seagram Cup, for 3-year-olds and up, marks the second straight graded engagement for Tyson, trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Josie Carroll.
On July 1, in his most recent effort, he rallied with authority to best talented stablemate Treason in the 1 1/8-mile Dominion Day Stakes, crossing the wire a 1 ¼-length victor in a time of 1:48.32 over the Tapeta.
“He ran against a quality field and probably didn’t have the best of trips,” said John Sikura, who co-bred and co-owns Tyson under the Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc. banner, along with Stretch Run Ventures, LLC. “But he finished with authority and beat a very good horse. All of those things are impressive and we’re looking forward to this weekend to see if he can repeat that performance.”
Tyson is the first runner out of the winning Smart Strike mare Honouring. A half-sister to Grade 1 winner Streaming and stakes winners Treasuring and Cascading, as well as stakes performers Distracting and Gifting, she is one of five stakes producers out of Better Than Honour daughter Teeming.
Tapit has had great success with the family, including stakes performers by stallion under Tyson’s first two dams, including Grade 2 winner Greatest Honour and stakes performers Sweet as Pie and Soaring. Honouring’s Tapit half-sister, Modeling, is also the dam of this year’s Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Arcangelo.
“He’s a beautifully bred horse from a family cultivated for about 30 years,” started Sikura. “It’s a family that means a lot to me and is very rewarding to the farm. It’s a very important vehicle for our success.”
Sikura, inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2018, hadn’t originally planned to keep the impeccably bred colt, but that changed after the 2020 Keeneland Association September Yearling Sale.
“It’s very unusual for us to keep a colt. That wasn’t the original plan. We offered him as a yearling at what I believe was a very reasonable reserve ($250,000). But he didn’t get sold."
Under the tutelage of Todd Pletcher, Tyson debuted last March at Gulfstream Park. Sent off at 6-1 in the 1 1/16-mile race on the Hallandale oval’s main track, he turned back all challenges to notch a hard-earned one-length victory.
The connections, Sikura included, were impressed by the polished effort of Tyson.
“He was great in that first start. He won with authority. He was supposed to be in a race at Turfway, but he was on the also-eligible list and didn’t get in. The horse had a little setback after that race, but Todd felt he’d be very successful on the synthetic. So, having had a very fruitful relationship with Josie Carroll for more than 20 years, we decided to send her the horse. She’s done a fantastic job with him.”
Tyson won next time out in his first start for Carroll, this May, in his 4-year-old debut. That was followed by a gritty third in the Eclipse Stakes (G2) Presented by Don Julio on June 4.
With the Dominion Day win, the roan is now 3-0-1 from four starts to go along with $145,972 in earnings.
“We’ll see if he can establish himself as the best dirt/synthetic older horse in Canada. We’ll take one race at a time and if he is that we’ll see if he’s a horse that can travel and try to win a major graded stakes race outside of Canada. We’ll focus on this one first. If he runs his race, I think he’ll give a good account of himself.”
Sikura is grateful for his connection to the horse he named after one of boxing’s greatest all-time heavyweights.
“I named him Tyson because of my admiration for Mike Tyson. Not his ability as a boxer, but his resiliency, reinvention of himself, and how he turned his life around when he retired from the ring. It’s not easy to lose everything and bounce back. I relate to that, having lost my dad so young.”
First post for Saturday’s card is 1:05 p.m. Fans can also watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
$175,000 SEAGRAM CUP STAKES (G2)
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Clear Destination – Ryan Munger – Patrick Dixon
2 – Seventysevenstone – Isabelle Wenc – Paul Lepiane
3 – Artie’s Storm – David Moran – Paul Buttigieg
4 – Tyson – Rafael Hernandez – Josie Carroll
5 – Carrothers – Sahin Civaci – Martin Drexler
6 – Kingmax (IRE) – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Jorge Delgado
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms