Barclay Tagg’s Druthers: A Preakness, Belmont, Travers, Kentucky Derby Sequence For Tiz The Law

by | 03.29.2020 | 5:17pm
"Whatever you ask him to do, he just does it," trainer Barclay Tagg says of Tiz the Law, winner of the Florida Derby under Manny Franco

Sackatoga Stable's Tiz the Law, bred in New York by Twin Creeks Farm, surged to the top of the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard with an emphatic score in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Trained by Barclay Tagg, who trained New York-bred Funny Cide to victories in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness for the same connections, the bay son of Constitution earned 100 Kentucky Derby points, boosting his total to 122, for the 4 1/4-length score.

Tiz the Law was piloted to victory by Manny Franco, who has taken honors as the leading rider on the New York Racing Association circuit the past two years.

Tagg said Tiz the Law came out of Saturday's test in good order.

“He's doing great this morning. He's very happy. He takes life easy,” said Tagg.

Tiz the Law broke well from Post 4 and tracked the early foot of Grade 2 Fountain of Youth winner Ete Indien, who was under pressure from Shivaree. Franco asked Tiz the Law at the three-eighths marker and rallied outside rivals into an insurmountable lead.

“It was a perfect ride. He did just what we wanted,” said Tagg. “We asked him to sit in lane two and he sat in lane 3, which you can't have everything you want happen in a race – there's other horses in there, too – but it's about what we wanted and it worked out great.”

Tiz the Law covered nine furlongs in 1:50 flat and garnered a 96 Beyer Speed Figure for the winning effort.

“It could have been faster, but he didn't need to go faster so it's better to save a little,” said Tagg.

Tiz the Law, who graduated at first asking in August at Saratoga, won the Grade 1 Champagne in October at Belmont and completed his juvenile campaign with a good third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club contested on a sloppy Churchill Downs strip.

He entered the Florida Derby off a convincing win in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream. Tagg said Tiz the Law has continued to impress with his natural ability.

“He's pretty much been the same. I don't think he's changed at all really. Whatever you ask him to do, he just does it,” said Tagg.

With the Kentucky Derby now moved to the first Saturday in September and the national stakes schedule in flux due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the veteran conditioner said he is waiting to see how the Triple Crown race dates unfold.

“Ideally, if I had my choice, I'd like to run him in the Preakness, Belmont, Travers and then the Derby,” said Tagg. “If I could set it up, I'd set it up that way. They can't start the Triple Crown with the Derby or we'd run into the Breeders' Cup.”

Out of the Tiznow mare Tizfiz, Tiz the Law was purchased for $110,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-Bred Yearling Sale and is campaigned by Jack Knowlton's Sackatoga Stable syndicate.

“I buy New York-breds for Jack every year. That's what he wants for his syndicates and we try to buy the best ones we can find,” said Tagg.

Earlier on the Gulfstream card, well-bred sophomore filly Highland Glory rallied to capture the $100,000 Sanibel Island by a neck for Tagg. Owned by Steadfast Stable and bred in Kentucky by Bonner Young, the Sky Mesa bay out of Kristi With a K earned an 81 Beyer Speed Figure.

The well-related filly is a full-sister to multiple stakes winner Highland Sky, who captured the 2016 Woodhaven at Aqueduct and 2019 John's Call in August at Saratoga.

Highland Glory's third dam, Highland Mills, produced Grade 1-winners Miss Josh and Royal Mountain Inn; and her second dam, Kristi B, produced Grade 1-winner Bit of Whimsy.

Tagg said he has enjoyed training the entire family, including Miss Josh, Royal Mountain Inn and Bit of Whimsy.

“Highland Glory is by Sky Mesa and out of one of Bonner's mares,” said Tagg. “She's always bred back to the same bottom line. Highland Glory is a full-sister to Highland Sky, who is a fairly nice turf horse, and she's coming along now and doing well.

“Bit of Whimsy was very nice,” said Tagg. “It's all part of the same family. Miss Josh was the first one and she was a Grade 1-winner. Royal Mountain Inn was a Grade 1-winner, but they all came from the same foundation mare.”

Tagg said he is cautiously optimistic about adding another Grade 1-winner to the decorated family.

“We'll see how things fall from here, but I'll likely run her back in a stakes race for 3-year-old fillies,” said Tagg.

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