Despite having to hit the brakes hard down the backstretch and a subsequent wide trip, Sackatoga Stables' Tiz The Law wouldn't be denied in Saturday's Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 3-year-old son of Constitution, favored at 6-5 in the wagering, cruised under the wire a three-length winner for jockey Manny Franco. His final time for 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track was 1:42.04.
Like 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, Tiz the Law is a New York-bred trained by Barclay Tagg. The colt earned 10 points toward this year's edition of the Run for the Roses for his victory, bringing his total to 22 points and a second-place position on the Derby leaderboard.
“His race was perfect,” Tagg said. “We told [jockey Manuel Franco] to 'stay off the rail no matter what you have to do. Lose the ground and go around them.' It worked out perfectly.”
Tiz the Law was very quick into stride for Franco, immediately striking out for the lead. After going wide into the first turn, Franco took a pretty good hold on the colt to allow Ete Indien the early lead. Relentless Dancer and Clear Destination also rushed up to be a part of the pace scenario, chasing a first quarter in :23.31.
Clear Destination appeared to crowd Tiz the Law mid-way down the backstretch, and Franco had to check sharply and wrangle his mount back to fourth along the rail. Once clear, Franco angled out to the three-path and continued to sit fourth until the half-mile pole.
Ete Indien set a half-mile fraction of :46.60, after which Tiz the Law came running on his outside. The duo sped through a six-furlong time of 1:10.96, and Tiz the Law came away with the lead as he straightened for the short stretch run.
Tiz the Law pulled away to win by a comfortable three lengths, while Ete Indien continued on gamely while clearly second best. It was at least 10 lengths back to third-place finisher Toledo, while Relentless Dancer and Mayberry Deputy filled out the top five.
“He ran like I expected him,” Franco said. “He got out of there and I was able to decide where I wanted to be. For a second, I had to make the turn and I was back on the rail, but when I saw those guys putting pressure on I was able to drop back and get outside where I wanted to be. After that, he jumped in the bit and I was traveling like I wanted. You can see on the first turn, when I took him to the clear on the outside, he got comfortable. He jumped in the bit right away and after that he grabbed me. I was so happy. He galloped out good. When he felt the horses again, he wanted to go. I am so grateful and happy to be here and get the win.”
Bred in New York by Twin Creeks Farm, Tiz the Law is out of the Grade 2-winning Tiznow mare Tizfiz. A $110,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale, the colt broke his maiden on debut at Saratoga before winning the G1 Champagne in his second career start. Facing a sloppy track in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Tiz the Law could do no better than third. The colt rebounded easily in the Holy Bull, improving his record to three wins from four starts for earnings just shy of $500,000.
“Obviously, we were disappointed in Kentucky,” said winning owner Jack Knowlton. “Going in, we felt we had the best horse after he won the Champagne the way he did. He had a lot of things against him that day. [There was a] lot of buzz out there. 'Well, he isn't what we thought he was. He isn't that good. What's Manny doing riding him.' I think he proved today he's the horse we saw in the Champagne.”
As for the colt's next start, both Knowlton and Tagg mentioned the G2 Louisiana Derby on March 21.
“We'll try to stretch it out a little bit,” said Tagg. “They're just young horses. We'll probably go to Louisiana, but I'm not sure.”
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