Cecilia Straub-Rubens, who watched the colt she bred, Tiznow, win the $4.2-million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs last Saturday, died Tuesday night at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.
Straub-Rubens, who would have been 84 next month, had been battling cancer. Mike Cooper, her partner in Tiznow, chief financial offer at her beer distributing company in Orange County and family trustee, said that she was admitted to the hospital Monday, the day after she and her husband returned from Kentucky. She died of a heart attack during surgery at approximately 6:15 p.m.
“Those two minutes it took Tiznow to run that race were the best she had felt in a long time,” Cooper said. “I think it was Tiznow that kept her going. She went out in style, a true winner.”
Tiznow, injured as a 2-year-old and unable to race last year, didn’t win his first race until May 31, in his third start. But under trainer Jay Robbins he developed quickly from there, and went into the Breeders’ Cup off some strong races, including wins in the Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park, the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs and the Goodwood Handicap at Santa Anita. Earning $2,438,800 in the Classic, the colt became the first California-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race, after 48 others had failed since 1984.
Straub-Rubens and Cooper paid $360,000 to supplement Tiznow into the Classic. His win in the Classic makes him a leading candidate for the horse-of-the-year award.
Straub-Rubens preferred to be called Cee. The parents of Tiznow, Cee’s Tizzy and Cee’s Song, were both named after her.
She was married to Arthur “Bud’ Straub, a relative of the Busch beer family in St. Louis. Straub ran Straub Distributing. In the early 1960s, Straub cashed a $10,000 daily-double ticket at Del Mar, bought a horse and then formed his own racing stable.
Straub died in 1981 and his wife continued the racing and breeding operation. Straub-Rubens, who lived in Irvine, married Roy Rubens in 1985. Rubens had accompanied his wife to Louisville for the Breeders’ Cup.
Straub-Rubens is survived by three children from her first marriage, and four grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.