News and STORIES

Uncertainty For Tiz The Law With New Changes

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Wednesday March 25, 2020
Jack Knowlton and the more than 30 partners in Sackatoga Stable are faced with uncertainty surrounding their leading Triple Crown prospect Tiz the Law. The March 28 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) has been seen as the final barrier for the 3-year-old to become the favorite in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). 

With some questions surrounding the Florida Derby and whether it will run, as well as the postponement of the Kentucky Derby until Sept. 5, the situation is changing. 

March 28 at Gulfstream

The race at Gulfstream Park on March 28 is much like the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack, but it is a grade 1 race and has $500,00 more in purse money. Both races are at 1 1/8 miles. 

The Remsen normally takes place five months before the Kentucky Derby. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that is about the same time frame as between the $750,000 Florida Derby and the postponed Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby. 

"The change in the Kentucky Derby is a disappointment because we thought we had a clear path to it and we had a horse who was mature enough to run a mile-and-a-quarter on the first Saturday in May," said Knowlton. "Maybe now some horses can catch up and get better by September, but there's nothing we can do about that with what's happening in the world."

Knowlton's partnership won the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (G1) with the New York-bred gelding Funny Cide.

"We're hoping we can keep him healthy and sound and get him to the starting gate on the first Saturday in September. That will be a huge deal and the thrill of a lifetime for all of our partners if we can do it. But it's so far out. We're a little more than five months away, and you know things will happen, and horses will fall off the trail by September."

Tiz the Law Set to be Favorite

The concern is whether or not Tiz the Law will be able to run on March 28, with all of the cancellations taking place at tracks throughout the country. The son of Constitution is set to be the favorite among impressive rivals, including Ete Indien, Gouverneur Morris, and Independence Hall. 

Tiz the Law won at 2 in the Champagne Stakes (G1) and the Feb. 1 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream, which was his lone start at 3 for trainer Barclay Tagg.

"We'll be devastated if we can't get this race in. We have a big ownership group, and we had our typical cast of 60-70 people at the Holy Bull, but obviously, that can't happen Saturday with the track closed to the public, and it's a disappointment that we can't be together for the race. Yet in the whole scheme of things, looking at what the world is dealing with, it's not a big consideration," said Knowlton.

"The big thing is that as long as he runs Saturday and finishes first or second, it should guarantee him (of enough qualifying points to start in the Kentucky Derby)," he added. "We're just holding our breath that we can run on Saturday and run well, and then we'll be in a position to call our own shots."

There are 170 points that will be awarded from the race, which is important since the status of the May 16 Preakness Stakes (G1) and the June 6 Belmont Stakes (G1) are uncertain. The Arkansas Derby (G1) has been moved from April 11 to May 2, the day that the Derby normally runs.

Knowlton said that Tiz the Law could target the Arkansas Derby next, but it is difficult to know for certain during this time.