By Nicholas Godfrey
USA: Under normal circumstances, Tiz The Law’s convincing 4¼-length victory in Saturday’s Florida Derby would have rubber-stamped his credentials as a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby.
Now that America’s most famous race has been postponed until September 5 owing to the coronavirus crisis, it is difficult to know how significant the $750,000 event will prove relative to a Triple Crown like no other, with dates yet to be confirmed for either the Preakness or Belmont Stakes.
What is rather more certain, however, is that Tiz The Law (Barclay Tagg/Manny Franco) now stands clearly at the top of America’s three-year-old crop after a totally dominant performance in the 1m1f event held without paying spectators at Gulfstream Park.
Tagg and owners Sackatoga Stable won the first two legs of the 2003 Triple Crown with Funny Cide.
“All we know is that we’ve got a horse that’s very special, and it’s pretty exciting for us,” said Jack Knowlton, spokesman for Sackatoga Stable. “Unfortunately none of us could be there today. We were all watching it on TV from coast to coast.”
Sent off 7-5 favourite after his Holy Bull victory, Tiz The Law sat a couple of lengths behind the early pace before joining issue on the far turn and drawing away from front-running longshot Shivaree, who held second from Ete Indien and late-running Gouverneur Morris.
In taking his career record to four out of five, Tiz The Law stopped the clock in 1m50s. “He is something special,” added Knowlton. “It would be a lot of fun going to Kentucky in five weeks, but that’s not happening obviously.
“Now we get to run some more races. Maybe the Wood will come back in play. Maybe we can do a Travers-Derby double. Right now it’s a blank slate. Nobody knows what’s going to happen where or when with all that’s going on in the country.”
Tagg, who rarely says too much, reflected on the performance. “I was very impressed, but I’ve been impressed with everything he’s done,” said the trainer. “He just surprises me, everything he does. He just kind of rises to the occasion and does it with aplomb.”
• Earlier on the card, jockey Florent Geroux enjoyed back-to-back G2 victories with Bemma’s Boy (Mike Maker) and Social Paranoia (Todd Pletcher) in the Pan American and Appleton respectively; the former nailed stablemate Zula Alpha, the Pegasus Turf winner, on the wire.