Tiz the Law justified his 7-5 odds in Saturday's Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., crushing his five 2-year-old rivals under jockey Manny Franco and remaining undefeated after two starts. Owned by Sackatoga Stable and trained by Barclay Tagg — the same connections as 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide – the New York-bred colt from the first crop of WinStar Farm stallion Constitution was geared down at the end, winning by four lengths over pacesetting Green Light Go, with Big City Bob a neck back in third, a half-length ahead of Gozilla in fourth.
Time for the one mile on a fast track was 1:35.41
The Champagne is a “Win and You're In” Breeders' Cup Challenge Series race for the Juvenile division, ensuring an all-fees-paid starting berth in the Juvenile, to be run at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 2. Jack Knowlton, who manages Sackatoga Stable, said Tiz the Law would not make the trip west.
“Highly, highly, highly unlikely for a lot of reasons,” said Knowlton. “Shipping across the country with a young horse and going a mile and a sixteenth around two turns the first time against top competition.
“The Remsen is possible,” Knowlton added. “Obviously we would like a mile and a sixteenth race, but we don't have one here. We'll talk about it. It certainly doesn't look like he has distance limitations so we'll figure it out.”
Franco and Tiz the Law ran into some traffic on the long run down the backstretch of the one-turn Champagne, checking between horses while Green Light Go set fractions of :22.57, :46.15 and 1:10.82 under pursuit from Gozilla.
Franco swung Tiz the Law three wide at the top of the stretch and the colt quickly accelerated to the lead, drawing away with ease in the final furlong.
“He broke a little bit aggressive,” said Franco. “He bobbled a bit and then he took a strong hold early but I got him to relax and he came back to me. I was just waiting for the moment. I didn't want to move too early because I knew I had a lot of horse under me. I was trying to wait as long as I could. He lugged in a bit, he's still a little green. I had a lot of horse at the end.”
“It was just what I wanted to see,” said Tagg. “Out of the gate, he bobbled badly. He out broke himself. Manny [Franco] did a great job with him. He got him all the way back and saved some ground.
“You're taking a chance to jump into a big race like this in just his second start. We didn't do that to Funny Cide. He [Funny Cide] had it a little easier, but we were very pleased with him [Tiz the Law].”
The Champagne was Tiz the Law's first race against open company, his debut coming against New York-bred at Saratoga on Aug. 8. Tiz the Law won that race by 4 1/4 lengths, earning a 90 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest in the Champagne field.
A $110,000 purchase at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale, Tiz the Law was bred in New York by Twin Creeks Farm.
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