Record: 8 starts 4-0-2
Purse earnings: $351,767 (U.S.)
Sire: Tapit
Dam: Honouring
Foaled: February 15, 2019
Age: 5
Colour: Grey/Roan
Owners: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings (John Sikura) and Stretch Run Ventures, LLC
Breeder: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings (John Sikura) and Stretch Run Ventures, LLC
Need to Know: Is named after former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson; Won a pair of graded events (Grade 3 Dominion Day and Grade 2 Seagram Cup) in 2023 at Woodbine; was third in the 2023 Grade 1 Jockey Gold Cup at Saratoga; is a Sovereign Award finalist in the 2023 Champion Older Main Track Male category

The “It” factor: “His colour is striking, so you notice him whenever he’s on the track,” said John Sikura. “His stride is so languid and smooth – very effortless. I think that is very appealing, as is the name. He is also a beautifully bred horse. Along with his performances, it adds up to an interesting story, and one I think people have taken notice of.” ​

Bouncing back: “In his final start of last year (G2 Autumn Stakes), he hurt himself. He’s fine now and he’s back at Woodbine ready to start up his 2024 campaign. He hurt his sesamoid hard and he was sore for about four or five days after that race. You never want to make excuses, but that was what happened to him. Unfortunately, that’s racing. ​

“When you look at the totality of his work, it is extremely impressive. It was exquisite. [Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer] Josie Carroll placed him well and he certainly had a great campaign.”

Making the grade: “It’s tough to pick out one race that was his best. I think I would lean towards the Grade 1 in Saratoga. He beat some good horses on multiple occasions at Woodbine, but in Saratoga, he hooked some very tough competition in a million-dollar race, and only lost by a couple lengths. He ran a huge race that day. It’s strange to opt for a race you didn’t win, but that is a hard race to ship in and win – he gave it his all and it was a terrific effort.”

Winning mindset: “It’s hard to tell what goes on a horse’s mind, but when you are ultra-competitive and try your best, which he does – I think horses do have a pride of performance and that’s why the good ones are so consistent. I don’t know if there is an emotional element, but I do believe there is an awareness – it is a competition, and they are trying to get the better of another competitor – when they have succeeded. He certainly has that.”

Cool customer: “He is a very laid-back, cool horse, one that is aware he is a good horse and is not easily rattled. One of the tests of a good horse isn’t just physical ability, but also a strong mental approach. It is easy to get shook up in the paddock or when a race doesn’t go as planned – a fast or slow pace – but he can adjust to those moments with ease. A horse has to have that calmness about them and a flexibility to adapt to different circumstances. Good horses are composed and just like any athlete under immense pressure, they need to have that strong mental ability.”

“Every high-performance athlete has to be aware and stay composed to produce the top effort and he showed that throughout all of 2023.” ​ ​

The name game: “You are always hopeful that when you name a horse after someone who is well known, they will live up to it. I don’t have any association with Mike Tyson, but after his career, I found out very unique in that he could be both self-critical and aware of any and all mistakes in his life.”

“Now, to have that humility and to be even more popular than he was at the height of his boxing career – that’s very unique for somebody to find redemption for no other motive than to find peace. His human-interest story is very inspiring.”

“To have gone what he went through, the highs and lows, the lost fortune and various incidents, and then say, ‘It was all my fault and it taught me a lot,’ is something that I find fascinating and compelling. I was drawn towards that, so when it came time to name this horse, I kept on coming back to Tyson.”