The Tin Man – The Heart of a Champion

The Tin Man is well-known descendant of a few noteworthy racehorses, and some might say that he was born to run. But genes have nothing to do with the fact that at the age of nine, when other racehorses have been put to stud or have become a family pet, The Tin Man is still setting the racetrack on fire. It might seem hard to believe, but this magnificent racehorse has proven to get better with age.

The story of The Tin Man starts in Kentucky on 18 February 1998. He was sired by the legendary Affirmed, from dam Lizzie Rolfe, an unplaced racehorse. This probably goes to show that some racehorses are destined to be race winners because of their breeding, some are just born with heart and others, like Tin Man, have both. His racing career seemed to be doomed before it began, as The Tin Man needed urgent surgery to repair his bowed tendons. This was a great set back and, because the two year old was sent of to rest and recover, the decision was made to geld him. Both his trainer, Richard Mandella, and owners, Ralph and Aury Todd, agreed that it might calm him and prevent further injuries.

At the age of four, The Tin Man was entered into a number of turf races, during which time he walked away as winner of the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Champion Stakes and also won the Grade II American Handicap. In the following year he took home another win at the Grade II San Luis Obispo Handicap. Unfortunately, injury struck again and forced The Tin Man to rest for fifteen months, while recovering from soft-tissue damage in his ankle. Ralph and Aury Todd and Richard Mandella were not prepared to give up on him, showing their firm belief in him through frequent visits and attention showered on him during his recovery.

He did not disappoint his owners and trainer. The Tin Man won the very first race he was entered into in 2005 at Santa Anita Park, showing that he was back and ready to race. In 2006 he was nominated for the prestigious Eclipse Award and won the Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Champion Stakes for a second time. At the ripe old age of eight, he officially became the oldest horse to win this race.

The year 2007 doesn’t seem to be slowing him down as he narrowly came in second in the American Invitational Handicap and won the Grade I Shoemaker Mile. Only The Tin Man knows what the future will hold for him, but one thing is certain, he has gained the respect of all who have ever had the privilege to meet him and he will undoubtedly become a legend in his own right.