By Nicholas Godfrey
USA: With the US Classics season full of uncertainty owing to coronavirus, the Triple Crown may not be enough for trainer Barclay Tagg when it comes to Florida Derby winner Tiz The Law.
The son of Constitution confirmed his status as the nation’s leading three-year-old with a dominant 4¼-length victory in Saturday’s G1 event at Gulfstream Park.
A consummate display means that Tiz The Law now tops the Kentucky Derby qualifying points ranking with 122; he is vying for favouritism with Bob Baffert’s Charlatan at around the 6-1 mark.
The only problem is that America’s most celebrated race has been postponed until September 5 – and there is no certainly when the Preakness and Belmont Stakes will take place as a result.
With the prospect of a Triple Crown like no other, Tagg is eyeing an ambitious programme.
“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.”
Tiz The Law carries the colours of Sackatoga Stable, the upstate New York syndicate led by Jack Knowlton, who came to prominence in 2003 When Funny Cide won the first two legs of the Triple Crown before being beaten by Empire Maker in a memorable Belmont.
Like Tiz The Law, Funny Cide was a Tagg-trained New York-bred. “I buy New York-breds for Jack every year,” said the trainer. “That’s what he wants for his syndicates and we try to buy the best ones we can find.”
Tiz The Law was ridden by Manny Franco, leading rider on the New York circuit in races won for the last two years. “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 three, 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.”