What we learned: Tiz the Law widens division lead

What we learned: Tiz the Law widens division lead
Photo: Chelsea Durand

Tiz the Law captured the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes in powerful fashion, marking his third straight win and third career Grade 1 victory. While the changes in race configuration make this race incomparable to past Belmont editions, Tiz the Law still dominated a quality field to widen his division lead.

With that said, Tiz the Law did not face adversity. He took advantage of Post 8, which led to his preferred outside spot. Because of the one-turn configuration, Tiz the Law was in no danger of losing ground early on.

As expected, Tiz the Law took up a comfortable third in the clear, just outside of the longshot Fore Left and Tap It to Win.

Tap It to Win took the field through a 23.11 opening quarter.

Between the moderate opening quarter and half-mile in 46.16, almost nothing else happened. Tap It to Win still set the pace while traveling out a few paths wide, with Fore Left in second and Tiz the Law third.

Pneumatic followed along while running outside of Tiz the Law. Dr Post settled in the middle and Jungle Runner secured the inside.

After six furlongs in 1:09.94, Fore Left began to fade as Tiz the Law moved up under Manny Franco. Tap It to Win looked in deep water.

At the top of the stretch, Tiz the Law secured the lead with his head cocked as usual. Dr Post made a nice outside rally, but posed no serious threat to Tiz the Law. Pneumatic moved into third by default. Right behind Pneumatic, Max Player came into the picture with a steady run.

Franco urged Tiz the Law with right-handed stick use, and he responded by opening up in midstretch. The duo crossed the wire first and won by 3 3/4 lengths over Dr Post, who had 1 1/2 lengths on Max Player in third.

Once again, Tiz the Law displayed nice tactical speed and a great turn of foot to overwhelm the pacesetter Tap it to Win and pull clear. He can also stop and go, as his win in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) demonstrated.

Dr Post and Max Player both closed well to complete the trifecta. But neither of them give the impression of standout talents.

Pneumatic finished fourth after following Tiz the Law early and around the turn. To put that in perspective, in only his fourth career start, he finished fourth in a Grade 1. He could still develop into a good one.

Tap It to Win faded to fifth. Despite enjoying a comfortable lead and souped-up dirt surface, the pacesetter had no answer when Tiz the Law came rolling alongside. In all likelihood, his future is around a mile.

Tiz the Law owns the tools required to capture the Kentucky Derby. If he could move slightly forward between now and September, that would be most ideal, as 3-year-old horses behind him are probable to develop.

Right now, this is the best dirt 3-year-old in training.

Gamine romps in Acorn Stakes

Gamine showed no mercy in the Acorn Stakes (G1). It is one of those performances that racing fans only see once in a while.

Here is a quick recap of the trip.  

To start off, Gamine set the pace in the initially packed group. She led through an opening quarter in 22.48, with Lucrezia following in second.

A packed group is generally the sign of a slow pace.

However, Gamine did not stay close to the group for long. After getting the half-mile in 45.28, Gamine began to open up on Lucrezia.

Gamine went through six furlongs in 1:09.33. Then under light urging from John Velazquez, she poured it on in the stretch and blasted away. She romped by 18 3/4 lengths with a time of 1:32.55 for the one mile.

For one mile, setting the pace 22.48, 45.28, and 1:09.33 may sound blazing, but TimeformUS marked the latter two fractions in blue.

To Gamine’s credit, she earned a 110 Beyer Speed Figure and 125 TimeformUS Speed Figure, adjusted from a 129 because of the pace. Both of those figures are high compared to other 3-year-old fillies, or even Tiz the Law. The general rule is that Beyer and TimeformUS figures are 20 points apart, which means they agree on the number.

Is Gamine suitable for the Kentucky Derby? Dominating a one-turn mile is vastly different than competing in a 20-horse field at 1 1/4 miles.

Also keep in mind that Gamine’s allowance optional claiming win at Oaklawn on May 2 is under review for a positive test.

Wherever Gamine competes next will become an unplayable race, but one to watch regardless. This is a major player on the Oaks trail.

Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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