Opportunities abound for Tiz the Law in Breeders’ Cup Classic

Friday, November 6th, 2020

Tiz the Law bids for championship, all-time NY-bred earnings title and more in Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire Photo.

By Tom Law

Bob Baffert dutifully answered questions about his three Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders in the days leading up to the two-day World Championships at Keeneland Race Course, each time touting the strengths of the trio in his usual way. He talked tactics, early speed, maturity, past experiences and the turbulent year that is 2020, all the while coming back on several occasions to another major player in the $6 million headliner – Tiz the Law.

“You know what, Tiz the Law, he’s going to be tough,” Baffert, himself the winner of three editions of the Grade 1 Classic, said Wednesday morning after training at Keeneland. “I’ve been watching him. He’s a really good horse, and looks great. Barclay Tagg has him looking fantastic. He came in here early, trained. It’s going to be a good horse race.”

Tiz the Law, the lone New York-bred in the field of 10 for the 1 1/4-mile Classic, certainly has impressed onlookers in Lexington in the days leading up to the Breeders’ Cup. Tagg sent the 3-year-old son of Constitution south from his Belmont Park base early, wanting the colt to get used to Keeneland’s surface.

Tiz the Law breezed twice at Keeneland for the Classic – 6 furlongs in 1:13.20 Oct. 23 and 5 furlongs in :59.20 Oct. 31, both times under Heather Smullen. Just as he’s done all year, Tiz the Law worked well and with purpose and he’s been strong in his gallops in the final days before the Classic.

“He looks a picture right now, he looks good, he’s got the right flesh, his coat his shiny,” Tagg said. “He’s just a picture of health. I’m delighted with how he’s come into it.”

Tiz the Law, the winner of four of five starts this season, could stand to win big if the finishes off the season with another victory in the Classic. He’d pocket a first-place check of $3.12 million for owners Sackatoga Stable and become the all-time leading New York-bred at more than $5.7 million. He’d also avenge a defeat to the Baffert-trained Authentic in the Kentucky Derby to lock up the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male with the big prize of Horse of the Year all but guaranteed.

“Obviously it’s been a strange year but we’ve had a great year,” said Sackatoga Stables’ Jack Knowlton. “Obviously disappointed with the Derby but everything before that was perfect and hopefully we can cap it off with a big race here.”

Manny Franco and Tiz the Law need to negotiate the 10 furlongs of the Classic before any of that can happen of course. They’ll leave from post two in the field of 10, which is led by Baffert’s trio of Improbable, Authentic and Maximum Security in the three outside stalls. Just to Tiz the Law’s outside are the formidable Kentucky-based duo of By My Standards and Tom’s d’Etat.

Improbable, winner of the Grade 1 Whitney this summer at Saratoga and Grade 1 Awesome Again this fall at Santa Anita, was pegged as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Tiz the Law is 3-1 on the early line, just ahead of the 7-2 Maximum Security

Tagg expects Tiz the Law to set up shop early behind the early speed, which could come from all three Baffert runners, Tacitus to his inside and Woodward winner Global Campaign. A dream scenario would see Tiz the Law stalking that group and making his run around the far turn, similar to tactics employed in victories in the Florida Derby, Belmont and Travers this year and Grade 1 Champagne Stakes last year.

“He’s got one way he likes to run. I’m not going to go out of my way to change it,” Tagg said. “It’s a tough race. This is his first time against older horses, too.”

The Classic closes Saturday’s World Championships Day card as the 12th race on the card. Post time for the headliner is 5:18 p.m. ET and the race anchors NBC’s coverage from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

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