May 24, 2020
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Tiz the Law breezes at Palm Meadows in preparation for Belmont Stakes (G1)

by Keith McCalmont

Belmont Park Notes

  • Tiz the Law breezes at Palm Meadows in preparation for G1 Belmont Stakes
  • G1-winners Sir Winston and Perfect Alibi preparing for stakes action
  • Ny Traffic motors to runner-up effort in G3 Matt Winn

Sackatoga Stable's Tiz the Law, bred in New York by Twin Creeks Farm, breezed a bullet five furlongs in 59.75 seconds on the Palm Meadows dirt Sunday in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes which is slated for Saturday, June 20 at Belmont Park.

Tagg said the breeze went according to plan for the multiple Grade 1-winning son of Constitution, who was a $110,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase.

"He's doing fine. He had a nice work," said Tagg. "I sent a little filly here ahead of him so he had something to look at, and he caught her going down the stretch. I'll probably breeze him here next Sunday before we head back to New York."

A winner at first asking in August at Saratoga Race Course, Tiz the Law followed up with a four-length score in the Grade 1 Champagne in October at Belmont. He completed his juvenile campaign with a close third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club contested on a sloppy strip at Churchill Downs.

Tiz the Law opened his sophomore season at Gulfstream Park with a convincing score in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in February and returned last out to dominate the Grade 1 Florida Derby by 4 1/4-lengths on March 28.

Tagg said the revised 1 1/8-miles Belmont Stakes, to be contested around one turn, wouldn't bother his talented colt.

"I haven't seen anything yet that didn't suit him. He always seems to handle things," said Tagg.

Eloise and Peter Canzone, Sr.'s Dr. Edgar, a six-time winner from 27 career starts, breezed a half-mile in 51.50 Sunday on the Palm Meadows turf. The 7-year-old Lookin At Lucky chestnut made the grade in the 2019 Grade 3 Appleton at Gulfstream Park.

The Kentucky-bred gelding, who finished fifth in his Appleton defense in March and was second last out in an allowance mile on the turf at Gulfstream, will return to New York for the Belmont meet.

"He had a nice breeze. It was nothing special, but I want to keep him fit before we get him up there," said Tagg.

Sophomore filly Highland Glory rallied to capture the $100,000 Sanibel Island by a neck in her stakes debut on March 28 at Gulfstream Park. Owned by Steadfast Stable and bred in Kentucky by Bonner Young, the Sky Mesa bay out of Kristi With a K endured a rough trip last out when second in the Honey Ryder on May 2 on the Gulfstream green.

Highland Glory 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. Her 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 would point Highland Glory to the Grade 3, $150,000 Wonder Again, a one-mile turf test slated for Belmont Stakes Day June 20.

"We'll probably run her in the Wonder Again," said Tagg. "She had a bit of a rough trip last out, but she's doing well. She's getting better every day.

"I've trained that family from the beginning," added Tagg. "That whole family has done well on the turf for a long time."

Early look at the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes

Saturday, June 20

Probable: Basin (Steve Asmussen), Charlatan (Bob Baffert), Farmington Road (Todd Pletcher), Gouverneur Morris (Pletcher), Max Player (Linda Rice), Modernist (Bill Mott), Nadal (Baffert), Sole Volante (Patrick Biancone), Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg)

Possible: Maxfield (Brendan Walsh), Ny Traffic (Saffie Joseph, Jr.), Shivaree (Ralph Nicks)

*         *         *

Grade 1-winners Sir Winston and Perfect Alibi preparing for stakes action

Tracy Farmer's Sir Winston, winner of the 2019 Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, is likely to make his return to Big Sandy in the $80,000 Flat Out set for Thursday, June 11 at Belmont Park.

Trained by multiple Hall of Famer Mark Casse, Sir Winston breezed five furlongs in 1:01.76 Friday on the Belmont main track.

Perfect Alibi, also owned by Farmer, captured the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga in September. The sophomore daughter of Sky Mesa also breezed five-eighths in 1:01.76 Friday and is targeting the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn set for Belmont Stakes Day June 20 at Belmont Park.

"Sir Winston worked really well and Perfect Alibi is just sitting on go. She's training as good as she's ever trained," said assistant trainer Jamie Begg.

Sir Winston last raced on January 31 when rallying to victory in an optional-claiming mile. He then shipped to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup which was subsequently canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since returning to Belmont, the Awesome Again chestnut has trained consistently towards a return.

Perfect Alibi romped on debut at first asking on May 16, 2019 at Churchill Downs and followed up with a good second in June 2019 in the Astoria at Belmont. A memorable Saratoga campaign included a win in the Grade 2 Adirondack in August ahead of her Spinaway success. She completed her juvenile season with a second in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland and a fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in November.

Begg said he is looking forward to a return to live racing at Belmont which kicks off on Wednesday, June 3.

"It's like every horse is coming off a layoff. Barns can get hot and cold, so it will be interesting to see how we come out of this hiatus," said Begg. "I'm happy with how most of our horses are running right now. Usually, when you've been running a bunch, you know if you're hot or cold and how to play your hand...but, right now, who knows? I'm looking forward to seeing them all run."

Gary Barber's Eyeinthesky, a multiple stakes-winning daughter of Sky Mesa, is likely to make her next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Intercontinental, a seven-furlong turf sprint slated for June 6.

The 4-year-old bay captured the Mizdirection at Aqueduct and the Galway at Saratoga in a productive sophomore season.

Live Oak Plantation homebred Old Chestnut, a 3-year-old son of Speightstown, is pointed to the $80,000 Sir Cat set for Friday, June 19 at six furlongs on the turf for sophomores.

Old Chestnut, out of the Grade 1-winner Pool Land, captured the Ontario Racing on the Woodbine turf in September in his third career start.

*         *         *

Ny Traffic motors to runner-up effort in G3 Matt Winn

John Fanelli, Cash is King, LC Racing and Paul Braverman's New York-bred Ny Traffic made the lead at the stretch call of Saturday's Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs but could not hold off the rallying Maxfield in a solid second-place finish that garnered 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. said he was thrilled by the effort from Ny Traffic.

"It was a very important race and he was beaten by an exceptional horse," said Joseph, Jr. "We're thankful we have enough points now to get into the Derby."

Ny Traffic now stands eighth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 70 points. 

The Cross Traffic colt, bred in the Empire State by Brian Culnan, was a major player in a pair of Derby preps at the Fair Grounds finishing third in a division of the Grade 2 Risen Star in February and second in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March.

Joseph, Jr. said Ny Traffic came out of the Matt Winn in good order.

"He's doing good. My assistant is there with him and said he came out of the race well," said Joseph, Jr.

Joseph, Jr. said a decision on a potential start in the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes, the first leg of the Triple Crown slated at 1 1/8-miles on June 20 at Belmont Park has yet to be made.

"We haven't made a decision yet regarding the Belmont," said Joseph, Jr. "That's going to be down to how the horse is doing and the owner's choice. We probably won't make a decision for another 10 days at least."

Joseph, Jr. said the one-turn Belmont Stakes would suit his colt.

"Trip wise, I think that would be perfect for him," said Joseph, Jr. "It's just a matter of the timing with the race being four weeks out. It's something we'll have to consider, but we're not going to rush a decision."

Slam Dunk Racing, Doug Branham and Legacy Ranch, Inc.'s Tonalist's Shape, who has won six-of-seven- starts, is possible for the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn slated for Belmont Stakes Day June 20 at Belmont Park.

Joseph, Jr. said the laid-back Tonalist chestnut saves her best efforts for the afternoon which includes scores in the Grade 3 Forward Gal and Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park.

"She's a filly that just does what she has to do," said Joseph, Jr. "When you watch her breeze you'd never know that she's such a good horse."

Joseph, Jr. said he is still deciding between the Acorn, a one-turn mile, or the Grade 1 Ashland at 1 1/16-miles scheduled for July 11 at Keeneland.

"We have to decide between the Acorn and the Ashland, but we won't decide for a little while yet what we're going to do," said Joseph, Jr. "We know she's effective at a one-turn mile."

John Fanelli, Khalid Mishref, Cash is King, LC Racing, Collarmele Vitelli Stables, Ioannis Zoumas, and Bassett Stables' Grade 1-winner Math Wizard is currently in training at Gulfstream Park.

The 4-year-old Algorithms chestnut boasts a record of 15-3-2-1 with purse earnings in excess of $1 million, led by a score in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx in September. Joseph said he is looking for a prep race for the well-traveled colt before heading back to stakes company.

"Ideally, we'd like to run him in an allowance at Gulfstream so he can run out of his own stall for once," said Joseph, Jr. "He's fit now and ready to go. In a perfect world, I'd like to start him back in an allowance.

"He's been an overachiever. He always tries hard and he gave us the biggest victory of our life so far," added Joseph, Jr. "He put us on the map and I can't thank him enough. He has so much try in him and that's something you can't teach."

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