I remember chaos. I remember the tight, drawn look on my 4th grade teacher's face as we waited for the news of whether we would be sent home early. Why? We had absolutely no clue. Normally as a kid at the age of age 10 years old, a shortened school day was music to my ears, but this was different. I could sense the fear and the tension. It didn't take much longer before we were told the buses had arrived to drive us home, and we were soon ushered out the doors.
I got home and the first thing I remember was seeing my mom sitting on her bed crying. Again, why? I had no idea. Then I looked up at the TV. Replaying on the screen was a giant plane slamming into one of two skyscrapers. The once glorious building that stood so tall was instantly cut in half, the other was half rubble. Not long after came the next plane, slamming into the second tower, doing to it what had been done to the first.
I remember seeing terrified people jumping from incredible heights to what could only be their death. I was only 10, but this was still one of the most horrible sights I can remember. Other scenes showed nothing but the dark clouds of smoke that blanketed the area like a giant dark carpet of doom. The one word I first think of when remembering it all was horrifying.
Only a few weeks after the shocking terrorist attack on the twin towers, America's Horse of the Year returned in the Breeders Cup Classic and he was seeking to do the impossible. The big handsome colt Tiznow had won racing's year end event the previous year in style, doggedly fending of Giant's Causeway, the European invader.
That year, he was again the underdog to the European raced, but middle east bred and owned, Sakhee. After being out for six months for a wrenched back, it didn't look like Tiznow would be able to withstand the full force of a fit and ready Sakhee. But this was Tiznow, the colt who, when looked in the eye on racing's biggest stage, refused to lose.
Breaking from the gate, Orientate and Albert The Great hooked up in a furious speed duel, with Tiznow not far back in third and Sakhee patiently waiting in sixth. The positions remained the same throughout most of the race, but as the field passed the half mile marker, Tiznow and Sakhee began to move.
As they moved into the stretch, the smaller quicker Sakhee slingshotted himself to a narrow lead. Tiznow was not ready to give in. The American Horse of the Year found himself in a race to the finish. By the furlong pole the two horses were locked into battle, and it was Tiznow who surged clear in the final stride.
The race still brings me to tears and the call of "Tiznow wins it for AMERICA!", rings clearly in my head even now. It was vindication in a way. Tiznow ran his heart out, symbolizing the heart and soul of every American in the process. Tiznow may only be a horse, but he should forever remain, not just an American Horse of the Year, but an American Hero. Tiznow, I salute you.