Mar 29, 2020
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New York-bred Tiz The Law tops Kentucky Derby points leaderboard

by Keith McCalmont

  • New York-bred Tiz the Law tops Kentucky Derby points leaderboard
  • Dream Bigger and Water White breeze on busy Belmont training track
  • Notables on the Belmont Park work tab

Sackatoga Stable's Tiz the Law, bred in New York by Twin Creeks Farm, surged to the top of the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard with an emphatic score in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

Trained by Barclay Tagg, who trained New York-bred Funny Cide to victories in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness for the same connections, the bay son of Constitution earned 100 Kentucky Derby points, boosting his total to 122, for the 4 ¼-length score.

Tiz the Law was piloted to victory by Manny Franco, who has taken honors as the leading rider on the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit the past two years.

Tagg said Tiz the Law came out of Saturday's test in good order.

"He's doing great this morning. He's very happy. He takes life easy," said Tagg.

Tiz the Law broke well from Post 4 and tracked the early foot of Grade 2 Fountain of Youth winner Ete Indien, who was under pressure from Shivaree. Franco asked Tiz the Law at the three-eighths marker and rallied outside rivals into an insurmountable lead.

"It was a perfect ride. He did just what we wanted," said Tagg. "We asked him to sit in lane two and he sat in lane 3, which you can't have everything you want happen in a race - there's other horses in there, too - but it's about what we wanted and it worked out great."

Tiz the Law covered nine furlongs in 1:50 flat and garnered a 96 Beyer Speed Figure for the winning effort.

"It could have been faster, but he didn't need to go faster so it's better to save a little," said Tagg.

Tiz the Law, who graduated at first asking in August at Saratoga, won the Grade 1 Champagne in October at Belmont and completed his juvenile campaign with a good third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club contested on a sloppy Churchill Downs strip.

He entered the Florida Derby off a convincing win in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream. Tagg said Tiz the Law has continued to impress with his natural ability.

"He's pretty much been the same. I don't think he's changed at all really. Whatever you ask him to do, he just does it," said Tagg.

With the Kentucky Derby now moved to the first Saturday in September and the national stakes schedule in flux due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the veteran conditioner said he is waiting to see how the Triple Crown race dates unfold.

"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."

Out of the Tiznow mare Tizfiz, Tiz the Law was purchased for $110,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale and is campaigned by Jack Knowlton's Sackatoga Stable syndicate.

"I buy New York-breds for Jack every year. That's what he wants for his syndicates and we try to buy the best ones we can find," said Tagg.

Earlier on the Gulfstream card, well-bred sophomore filly Highland Glory rallied to capture the $100,000 Sanibel Island by a neck. Owned by Steadfast Stable and bred in Kentucky by Bonner Young, the Sky Mesa bay out of Kristi With a K earned an 81 Beyer Speed Figure.

The well-related filly is a full-sister to multiple stakes winner Highland Sky, who captured the 2016 Woodhaven at Aqueduct and 2019 John's Call in August at Saratoga.

Highland Glory's third dam, Highland Mills, produced Grade 1-winners Miss Josh and Royal Mountain Inn; and her second dam, Kristi B, produced Grade 1-winner Bit of Whimsy.

Tagg said he has enjoyed training the entire family, including Miss Josh, Royal Mountain Inn and Bit of Whimsy.

"Highland Glory is by Sky Mesa and out of one of Bonner's mares," said Tagg. "She's always bred back to the same bottom line. Highland Glory is a full-sister to Highland Sky, who is a fairly nice turf horse, and she's coming along now and doing well.

"Bit of Whimsy was very nice," said Tagg. "It's all part of the same family. Miss Josh was the first one and she was a Grade 1-winner. Royal Mountain Inn was a Grade 1-winner, but they all came from the same foundation mare."

Tagg said he is cautiously optimistic about adding another Grade 1-winner to the decorated family.

"We'll see how things fall from here, but I'll likely run her back in a stakes race for 3-year-old fillies," said Tagg.


Dream Bigger and Water White breeze on busy Belmont training track

It was a busy Saturday on the Belmont Park dirt training track with 314 horses on the work tab led by 12 from the stable of trainer Rudy Rodriguez, including multiple stakes winner Dream Bigger and last-out Busher Invitational champ Water White.

Rodriguez and his staff of more than 30 workers oversee the conditioning of 65 horses across two barns on the Belmont backstretch. The veteran conditioner said his team is working hard to keep the horses safe and sound while following the protocols laid out by NYRA's Preparedness and Response Plan Committee, comprised of NYRA staff members as well as representatives from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) and the New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA).

"We have two barns so we try to keep the horses and staff spread out. We keep everything very clean, follow the guidelines and wash our hands and equipment as much as possible," said Rodriguez. "You have to keep the horses training and healthy. We're doing the best we can with the situation. The horses have to keep moving. They're used to this routine and they're bred to run. If you leave them in the stall, they'll be kicking the walls."

Both Dream Bigger and Water White breezed a half-mile in 51.93 seconds on Saturday on the Belmont training track.

"They both went nice and easy. We had to a little something to keep them fit," said Rodriguez.

Repole Stable's Dream Bigger, a grey son of Mission Impazible bred in the Empire State by Sequel New York, Twin Creeks Racing and Pamela Zielinski, boasts a record of 7-3-3-1. His trio of stakes wins includes scores in the Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes and the Notebook and Damon Runyon at Aqueduct Racetrack.

"He always showed a lot of talent. We've been beaten by a couple of nice horses, but he's still learning," said Rodriguez. "In the stretch, he still doesn't want to change leads. Hopefully, as he matures a little bit, that will change with his mentality. I really have to thank Mike Repole for giving us the opportunity to train this kind of horse."

Last out, Dream Bigger returned from a layoff off a third-place finish in the Rego Park and went gate-to-wire under Junior Alvarado for an impressive 7 3/4-length score in the Damon Runyon.

"Freshening him up and giving him a nice eight weeks seemed to do the trick," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he plans to keep Dream Bigger competing in New York-bred stakes events for the time being.

"There's a lot of money in New York-bred races so we'll try and keep him there, but if he keeps improving we can take a chance," said Rodriguez. "He's never finished worse than third and he always tries hard. We haven't had the chance to stretch him out to a mile yet."

E.V. Racing Stable's Water White captured a dramatic renewal of the Busher Invitational last out when collaring Kansas Kis in the final stride to win by a nose.

Bred in Kentucky by Richard Forbush, the Conveyance grey graduated in November at Aqueduct before a trio of stakes efforts when fifth in the Grade 2 Demoiselle and second in the Busanda ahead of the Busher effort.

Rodriguez said the sizable filly is maturing rapidly.

"She looks like she's growing," said Rodriguez. "She's put some weight on. It's very encouraging to see the way she's coming around."

With the Kentucky Oaks now moved to September, Rodriguez said he is hoping the talented sophomore will continue to blossom.

"Let's hope so," said Rodriguez. "Right now she's carrying her flesh very good. She's a big, strong filly."

Notables on the Belmont Park work tab

There were a number of notable horses on the Belmont Park work tab on Saturday morning led by multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Mind Control, who went a sharp half-mile in 48.01 seconds.

Trained by Gregg Sacco for Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables, the dual Grade 1-winner on the NYRA circuit continues to train forwardly following his rallying score in the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Mind Control's Grade 1 scores both came at Saratoga where he captured the Hopeful as a juvenile and the H. Allen Jerkens in August.

Cofactor worked a half-mile in 49.72 for trainer Kelly Breen. The grey daughter of The Factor won the Warrior's Reward Smart Halo in November at Laurel Park and was expected to be among the favorites in the Cicada originally slated for March 21 at the Big A.

Chester and Mary Broman's multiple stakes-winning millionaire Mr. Buff worked a half-mile in 50.33. Trained by John Kimmel, the 6-year-old New York-bred son of Friend or Foe is in the midst of a three-race win streak with scores in the Alex M. Robb, Jazil and Haynesfield all at the Big A.

Southern Equine Stable's Sixto, an impressive maiden winner on January 30 at the Big A for trainer Eric Guillot, worked a half-mile in 50 flat. The Kentucky-bred Curlin colt was ninth last out in the Grade 3 Gotham.

Noda Brothers' T Loves a Fight, winner of the 2017 Mike Lee, breezed four furlongs in 51.94. The 6-year-old New York-bred boasts a career record of 38-11-6-4 with purse earnings of $575,634.

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