Sackatoga Stable's Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes winner Tiz the Law was bright-eyed the morning after his 5 1/2-length victory in Saratoga Race Course's marquee race, where he registered a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure.
Shortly after training concluded for the morning, trainer Barclay Tagg was at his barn on the Saratoga backstretch standing next to the garland of carnations that had been draped around the now four-time Grade 1 winner's neck on Saturday.
Tagg said his star 3-year-old colt was in good order.
"He looks fine," Tagg said. "I was very pleased with the way he ran. He did everything a good horse ought to do and did it perfectly."
Patiently guided by regular pilot Manny Franco, the son of Constitution was forwardly placed early as Uncle Chuck set a moderate pace up front. Then he took charge nearing the quarter-pole and drew off in style. The scenario played out exactly the way Tagg envisioned it.
"I pictured the horse being at his best laying second or third in the two path just off the leader, and I figured the leader would be [Bob] Baffert's horse [Uncle Chuck]. We discussed that and that's exactly what he did," said Tagg.
Tagg praised Franco for being an ideal pilot aboard Tiz the Law.
"They work well together, they know each other and it's a good combination," Tagg said.
After becoming the first New York-bred to win the Belmont Stakes in 138 years, Tiz the Law became the first horse bred in the Empire State to win the Travers since Thunder Rumble in 1992.
Tiz the Law will now point to the $3 million Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs, which Tagg won with Sackatoga's Funny Cide in 2003. Tiz the Law is atop the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 372 qualifying points.
Tiz the Law will see a quicker turnaround than he's used to, entering the Run for the Roses off four weeks' rest. Tagg said the horse should have no problems with the timing.
"There's nothing I can do about it, but I don't think it will faze him at all," Tagg said.
Unbeaten in four starts this year, Tiz the Law won the Holy Bull (G3) and Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park en route to a win in the Belmont Stakes before taking the Runhappy Travers.
Following a career debut win at the Spa against New York-breds last August, exactly one year prior to his Travers win, Tiz the Law won the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park. His only loss in a seven-race career came when finishing a close third in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs over a sloppy track.
"He seems to terrorize the competition when he makes his move," Tagg said. "Every race I've seen, even the first one, has been great. He came off that turn, and I thought 'They're going to run by him like he's standing still' and then I look again and he's three in front. It was the same way yesterday. I thought, 'Get into him, Manny' and he just kept running, running, running."
Tagg credits much of the success with Tiz the Law to how hands-on and detail-oriented his team is with the horse, including barn foreman Juan Barajas Saldana and assistant trainer Robin Smullen.
"That's our job, to make things go smoothly," Tagg said. "We've been fortunate with him. We've been hands-on every step of the way. He doesn't go out of the stall without Juan, he doesn't go out to the track without Juan. Robin rides him and I lead him and warm him up and then I pick him up when he pulls up and we bring him back to Juan and Juan brings him back to the barn. It might be boring for the horse, but it's pretty safe."
Tagg said that Tiz the Law likely will have two breezes prior to the Kentucky Derby.
"He'll gallop every day," Tagg said. "He'll have about 10 days before we breeze him again. We'll probably only be able to get two breezes in him before we go out there. We'll go out there a week ahead of time."
Tagg praised Sackatoga Stables founder and operations manager Jack Knowlton for being a patient owner and a great partner over the years.
"Jack is the greatest," Tagg said. "If every owner could be like Jack, it would be a great life."
|Fin||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start / Next Start||HRN|
I. Ortiz, Jr.
Awesome of Course