After Great Travers Run, Tiz the Law Likely to be Heavy Kentucky Derby Favorite

Posted on: August 10, 2020, 08:00h. 

Last updated on: August 10, 2020, 01:50h.

The Kentucky Derby is now less than four weeks away, and the final major weekend of prep races produced a couple of dominating performances.

Tiz the Law Derby
Tiz the Law was by himself as he roared down the stretch in Saturday’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. His next scheduled race is the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby, where he should be the heaviest favorite in decades. (Image: NYRA)

On Saturday, Tiz the Law cemented his status as the Derby favorite with an electric stretch run in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. The Barclay Tagg-trained colt took the lead with about a quarter-mile left in the 1-1/4-mile race and pulled away, kicking into another gear after the final turn to win by 5-1/2 lengths.

He’s four-for-four this year, and in those races, all graded stakes victories and three Grade 1 wins, he’s won by an average of more than four lengths.

I didn’t expect a race like that, but we’ll take it. He ran huge,” his jockey Manny Franco said. “He was there the whole way for me and I was just waiting for the moment because it is a long way to go – a mile and a quarter – and he hasn’t gone that distance before, so I’m trying to save as much horse as I could before I made my move.

Tiz the Law went off at 1-2 odds at Saratoga, and when the final round of Kentucky Derby futures betting ended Sunday evening at Churchill Downs, he finished that at even-money.

The expectation is that on Sept. 5 he’ll be the shortest-price favorite since Point Given went off at 9-5 in 2001, and he could come close to matching Arazi, who went off at 4-5 in 1992.

Work of Art

Tiz the Law wasn’t the only contender who had a good weekend.

On Sunday, Art Collector took the lead early in the Ellis Park Derby and cruised to a 3-1/4-length win in the listed stakes race at the Henderson, Ky., track.

While Art Collector hasn’t generated nearly the fanfare or raced solely in the caliber of races Tiz the Law has, the Thomas Drury, Jr.-trained colt is also four-for-four this year. The only graded stakes win came in last month’s Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

Art Collector finished the final round of Derby futures betting at 8-1 odds, making him the co-second choice with Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A.P.

Next Stop, Churchill Downs

Tiz the Law will come to Louisville next month with a massive backing and possibly odds shorter than even-money, an almost unheard-of prospect, given the Derby’s field of up to 20 horses, which at times makes handicapping the Derby feel as futile as handicapping a lottery.

Keep in mind that neither of the big favorites mentioned above with Tiz the Law ended up winning the Derby. Arazi finished eighth 28 years ago, and Point Given wound up fifth in 2001. Also, Tiz the Law’s only loss came at Churchill Downs, where he finished third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He stalked in the leaders in that race, but he never found the gear that he’s found in his more recent starts.

Still, that likely won’t deter many bettors as we get closer to Labor Day weekend. Already, Circa Sports has shorted Tiz the Law’s future odds to +120, or 6-5. Art Collector is +600 at the Vegas sportsbook, with Honor A.P. at +650.

The only other horse with odds under 10-1 on Circa’s fixed-odds board is Authentic, as the Haskell Stakes winner is currently at +980. The Bob Baffert-trained colt finished the final round Derby futures betting at Churchill as the 11-1 fourth choice.

On Circa’s two-way Derby odds, Tiz the Law’s “no,” or lose odds, are -150, meaning a $150 bet would net $100. No other horse in the Derby has shorter “no” odds than -1000.

One more Derby prep remains on the calendar. Saturday’s Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park will only give 20 points to the winner. But that could be enough for a horse on the cusp to get to Churchill. The field for that race has yet to be posted.