News and STORIES

Tiz the Law Gallops Over Sloppy Churchill Downs

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Thursday September 03, 2020
 As the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) approaches, the field is preparing for the big event. 

The 3-5 morning-line favorite for the race Tiz the Law faced a sloppy track as he galloped over Churchill Downs Sept. 2. The runner has had some trouble in the past with the racing surface.

Previous Trouble With Sloppy Surface

Out of seven starts, Tiz the Law’s only loss came last time out when he faced the slop at Churchill Downs on Nov. 30. He ran in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) in what was his final start at 2. 

In that race, the Constitution colt sat in third, beaten three-quarters of a length. 

Even with the sloppy track on Sept. 2, Tiz the Law didn’t seem to have any trouble. He was escorted onto the track with trainer Barclay Tagg, and he galloped lightly under Hether Smullen. 

"The track is really off so we just gave him a canter around," said Tagg. "We didn't do any serious galloping. Tomorrow, the next two days, we'll track to get some serious gallops into him."

Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law arrived in Louisville on Sept. 1 from New York. Sept. 2 was his first training of Derby Week at the track. 

It began to rain early in the day, with the forecast continuing through Sept. 3 before any clearing. The forecast for Sept. 4 is sunny skies, which is the day of the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), and the same is true for Derby Day.

It is likely that there will be a fast track for the Derby, which isn’t what Tiz the Law experienced at Churchill in the Kentucky Jockey Club. For that outing, he was boxed in for most of the race.

"I like a fast track for him, but he seems to handle everything," Tagg said. "He was pretty young and pretty green then. He didn't come out of the gate good. He kind of left one hind leg there, slithered out of there, and (opposing jockeys) could control him, what they wanted to do. It was pretty easy to keep him blocked in there."

Tagg will have his sixth Derby starter and first since 2008 in Tiz the Law. His last was Tale of Ekati and Big Truck, who took fourth and 18th, respectively. Tagg also took the Derby in 2003 with Funny Cide, a Sackatoga-owned gelding.

Sackataoga and Tagg have worked together for more than 20 years, along with assistant Robin Smullen.

Jack Knowlton is managing partner of Sackatoga Stable.

"People ask me (about the pairing) all the time and I tell them, 'If a guy wins the Kentucky Derby for you, why in the world would you think of going somewhere else?'" said Knowlton. "And in addition to that, I'm around him a lot at Saratoga and more recently, a lot in Florida, and I just know how good horsepeople he and Robin are, how they care for their horses."

South Bend

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has a late edition to the Derby in South Bend, who ran fourth behind Tiz the Law in the Travers. 

Bill Mott won the Derby last year with Country House following the disqualification of Maximum Security. He began training South Bend in the summer after the horse was purchased privately. 

The runner-up finisher of the Ohio Derby (G3) is owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Peter Deutsch, and Pantofel Stable.

The Algorithms colt arrived in Louisville a little bit before Tiz the Law. He was being considered for the Pat Day Mile Stakes Presented by LG&E and KU (G2) or the American Turf Stakes Presented by Smithfield (G2T), both of which are $500,000 races on the Derby undercard.

However, South Bend came into the Derby after Art Collector was not entered due to a foot issue.

South Bend is a 50-1 longshot on the morning line. 

"The Derby, anything can happen, right? We learned that last year," McCarthy said.