Tiz the Law kicks off sophomore campaign with dominant victory in Holy Bull

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Coglianese Photos

By Sarah Mace

Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law took a big step closer to an anticipated start in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on the First Saturday in May when he drew off to a dominant 3-length win in the Grade 3, $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

The victory cemented the Constitution colt’s two-turn credentials while showcasing his athleticism and versatility. With 22 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, Tiz the Law now shares the top spot with juvenile champion Storm the Court.

Despite being sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the seven-horse field, Tiz the Law had some questions to answer in the Holy Bull.

Unveiled on August 8 at Saratoga, the blaze-faced colt immediately turned heads. The rallying winner of a 6 1/2 sprint against state-breds, he converted an erratic style in upper stretch into a smooth effortless stride that carried him across the finish line a 4 1/2-length winner. On October 5, testing the deepest waters in the Grade 1 Champagne, Tiz the Law parlayed a stumbling start and pocketed trip into another stunning win, this time after agilely angling out in the stretch before putting the competition away.

Tiz the Law’s final start of the year came in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club where he was sent off as the 3-5 favorite. He sat a similar trip to his first two starts, but the race – which was his two-turn debut and first trip over sloppy going – didn’t come together in the end for him. Covered up and in traffic, he eventually muscled his way through between horses but was unable to deliver a knock-out punch before being passed by Silver Prospector and another closer who had clear running on the outside.

Tiz the Law broke on top in the Holy Bull, but took back almost immediately to let Ete Indien and Relentless Dancer go on with it. Jockey Manny Franco then took a hard hold of the colt on the backstretch to keep from running up on heels before making crucial tactical decision. He checked Tiz the Law out of position and altered course to reposition him in the two-path to avoid the traffic issue altogether.

In the clear, Tiz the Law easily made up lost ground, advanced into second and issued a challenge to Ete Indien in the turn. Hooking his rival, he poked a head in front just before the quarter pole.

In control at the head of in the stretch, Tiz the Law lugged in late but otherwise cruised unchallenged to the wire to win by three lengths. Ete Indien in second finished more than 11 lengths clear of Toledo in third. Relentless Dancer completed the superfecta. Following a 1:35.46 mile, the final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:42.04.

Sackatoga Stable’s managing partner Jack Knowlton led the winning favorite into a thronged winner’s circle. Seventeen years ago, Knowlton and another set of partners famously teamed up with Tiz the Law’s trainer Barclay Tagg to put New York-breds and the New York breeding program on the map with Funny Cide’s memorable Kentucky Derby-Preakness double.

Knowlton said, “Obviously, we were disappointed [with the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes]. Going in, we felt we had the best horse after he won the Champagne the way he did. He had a lot of things against him that day. [There was a] lot of buzz out there. ‘Well, he isn’t what we thought he was. He isn’t that good. What’s Manny doing riding him.’ I think he proved today he’s the horse we saw in the Champagne.”

Knowlton’s former New York-bred star also wasn’t far from his mind.” We didn’t get this [the Holy Bull] done with Funny Cide. Seventeen years later here we are and thrilled to be here.” Funny Cide finished fifth in the race before going on to Derby glory.

Franco reported, “He ran like I expected him. He got out of there and I was able to decide where I wanted to be. For a second, I had to make the turn and I was back on the rail, but when I saw those guys putting pressure on, I was able to drop back and get outside where I wanted to be.

“After that, he jumped in the bit and I was traveling like I wanted. You can see on the first turn, when I took him to the clear on the outside, he got comfortable. He jumped in the bit right away and after that he grabbed me. I was so happy. He galloped out good. When he felt the horses again, he wanted to go. I am so grateful and happy to be here and get the win.”

Barclay Tagg revealed that avoiding a repeat of traffic trouble and the chance of rain were on his mind going in to the Holy Bull.

“His race was perfect,” the conditioner said. “We told [Franco] to ‘stay off the rail no matter what you have to do. Lose the ground and go around them.’ It worked out perfectly. I was a little bit [worried about the forecast for rain]. You couldn’t tell if he didn’t have the kick [on a sloppy track] last time [in Kentucky] or whether they just kept him in and crowded so much that he couldn’t get away. I think it was more that than it was the track. You never know for sure, so why pray for rain.”

Knowlton addressed Tiz the Law’s next start. “As you know, things can always change but we’re talking about going to the Louisiana Derby [on March 21]. We loved his breeding when we bought him. We’re really excited to win this today.”

Tiz the Law was bred by Twin Creeks Farm and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York. Knowlton purchased him at the 2018 Saratoga New York-bred preferred yearling sale from the Sequel consignment for $110,000. From three wins and a third he has bankrolled $498,900.

Tiz the Law’s dam, Kentucky-bred Tizfiz, is a winner of four stakes on turf with a graded placing on dirt. She was purchased by Twin Creeks Farm for $125,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Tiz the Law is Tizfiz’ second foal to earn black type. Awestruck, by Tapit, who was a $525,000 yearling, has collected four stakes placings to date. A full sister to graded stakes winner Fury Kapcori, Tizfiz also issues from the female family of 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick (Phone Trick). She has a juvenile filly by Mission Impazible named Angel Oak, an unnamed yearling by the same sire and was bred back to Constitution last year.

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