Shortly after a 4 1/4-length win at Gulfstream Park, Jack Knowlton, head of the Sackatoga Stable partnership, said the May 2 Arkansas Derby (G1) isn't an option for Tiz the Law. And that race, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is the last prep currently on the schedule ahead of the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby.
"Right now it’s a blank slate," Knowlton said. "Nobody knows what’s going to happen where or when with all that’s going on in the country. All we know is that we’ve got a horse that’s very special, and it’s pretty exciting for us."
Knowlton and his many partners watched from afar Saturday as Tiz the Law stalked and pounced in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby, finishing up in 1:50 as the favorite. With 100 points earned toward the Kentucky Derby, qualifying is no longer an issue, but rather mapping the best path to the fall with a colt that would have been primed to go on the first Saturday in May.
“He’s still got to go out every day," said trainer Barclay Tagg. "He’s still got to be trained. He’s still got to be fed, so we’ll just keep taking care of him and try and keep him mostly fit and see what happens.”
Knowlton mentioned a pair of races at home in New York as potential options -- again, with much still pending.
"Maybe the Wood will come back in play," he said. "Maybe we can do a Travers-Derby double."
The Wood Memorial (G2), originally scheduled for next Saturday, will be brought back at a later date, according to the New York Racing Association. Racing operations are suspended fo now in New York after multiple coronavirus positives within the backstretch population; also, Gov. Andrew Cuomo intends to use Aqueduct as a temporary hospital space.
Racing could resume at Belmont Park as soon as April 24.
As for the Travers Stakes (G1), NYRA has not yet released a stakes schedule. The Midsummer Derby's traditional spot on the calendar would put it one week out from the Kentucky Derby, with a move into earlier August a sensible option.
"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."