Tiz the Law in good shape after dominant effort in Runhappy Travers (G1)
by NYRA Press Office
- Tiz the Law in good shape after dominant effort in G1 Runhappy Travers
- G1 Runhappy Travers runner-up Caracaro heading to Louisville
- Max Player earns well-deserved snooze after third-place G1 Runhappy Travers effort
- Serengeti Empress emerges from G1 Ballerina triumph in good order
- Pure Sensation retired; Decorated Invader and Gufo to square off in Saratoga Derby
- American Sailor ships back to Maryland following G3 Troy
- Runhappy Travers Day Cross Country Pick 5 returns $954, handles $95K
Sackatoga Stable's Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers winner Tiz the Law was bright eyed the morning after a 5 ½-length victory in Saratoga Race Course's marquee race, where he registered a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure.
Just 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, 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 Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby on September 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 what he's used to entering the "Run for the Roses" off four weeks' rest. Tagg said that 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 Grade 3 Holy Bull and Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park en route to a win in the Grade 1 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 Runhappy Travers win, Tiz the Law won the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park. His only loss in a seven-race career came when finishing a close third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club 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 will likely 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. If every owner could be like Jack, it would be a great life," Tagg said.
* * *
G1 Runhappy Travers runner-up Caracaro heading to Louisville
It's on to the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby for Global Thoroughbred and Top Racing's Caracaro, runner-up in Saturday's Grade 1 Runhappy Travers.
Trainer Gustavo Delgado, who will send out Bodexpress in Sunday's $85,000 Alydar, said he was pleased with the way Caracaro exited the "Mid-Summer Derby", his second race in three weeks off a six-month layoff.
"He came back very good. He's happy, he ate his food, he's relaxed. Right now, he's sleeping. Everything's good," Delgado said. "We'll check with the vet and talk with the owners and my son and decide. As long as there's no problems, we'll go to the Derby.
"Yesterday was a big race, a strong race. I consider Tiz the Law the best horse in the country," he added. "In the Travers, they were all good horses. It was his second race after the six months and to run second again was very good for us."
Caracaro earned 40 qualifying points for the Derby in the Travers, where he was 5 ½ lengths behind Tiz the Law but two lengths clear of Max Player in third. Caracaro picked up 20 points for his neck defeat in the Grade 2 Peter Pan on July 16 at Saratoga and ranks 10th, solidifying his spot in the 20-horse Derby field.
"That's what we wanted and that was the plan. It's always been the plan with him. We're kind of satisfied that we accomplished that," Delgado's son and assistant, Gustavo Delgado, Jr. said. "Of course we know there's a freak horse around. We do think that our horse still has a lot of room for improvement. He's still developing, you can tell, and we were asking a lot from him.
"I think running after three weeks, one more furlong, out of that effort in the Peter Pan, to come back in the Travers, a tougher race, a tougher field, and he showed up again," he added. "His figure numbers keep improving. He handled the distance pretty well. You can tell he kept going, at his own pace, but he kept going. We were just second-best. But he beat all the other horses, so that was good."
Delgado, Jr. said Caracaro is expected to remain in Saratoga to train for the Derby, which was rescheduled from May 2 to September 5. It will be the third trip to Louisville for the Delgados, who ran 18th with Majesto in 2016 and 13th with Bodexpress in 2019.
"It's going to be a long and very exciting three weeks," Delgado, Jr. said. "It's more likely that we will stay here. I don't think shipping the horse the next few days would be good for him. He will go through regular post-race stress so it's better if he stays here, and he likes it here, the weather and everything. Ideally, we will stay here and train for the Derby and ship right before the race. That's what makes more sense right now."
* * *
Max Player earns well-deserved snooze after third-place G1 Runhappy Travers effort
George E. Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds' Max Player continued his career-long trend of finishing in the money, earning third-place honors for the second consecutive Grade 1 with his blacktype effort in Saturday's Grade 1 Runhappy Travers.
Just like in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 20, Max Player stayed off the pace in the 151st running of the Travers before finishing strong to earn a placing in a race won by New York-bred Tiz the Law.
Under jockey Joel Rosario for the second consecutive start, Max Player went four-wide in the upper stretch and hit the wire two lengths back of runner-up Caracaro, who was 5 ½-lengths behind the runaway winner and 1-2 favorite.
Bred by K&G Stables in Kentucky, Max Player is 2-1-2 in five career starts for trainer Linda Rice.
"He came out of it really well," Rice said. "He's a little tired, but otherwise, he's in good shape."
Max Player earned a 99 Beyer for the effort, the best of his career and exceeding his previous high of 92 garnered in the Belmont Stakes. He has improved his speed figures in every start, beginning with a 68 in a second-place debut effort as a juvenile in November at Parx. After breaking his maiden at second asking to cap his 2-year-old year in December over a sloppy and sealed Parx main track, Max Player earned an 86 for his 3 ¼-length victory in the Grade 3 Withers in his stakes - and sophomore - debut in February at Aqueduct Racetrack.
"We were pleased with it," Rice said. "He's continued to improve and taken baby steps forward. So, we were pleased with that. He's been pretty consistent and has been moving forward with gentle progress. We're happy with that. He came out of it fine and he's sleeping a lot today since he ran hard and is a bit tired. But all in all, he came out of the race well."
Max Player earned 20 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby on September 5 at Churchill Downs, with the Runhappy Travers awarding 100-40-20-10 to the top-four finishers. He sits ninth on the Derby leaderboard with 60 total points and $337,500 in non-restricted stakes earnings. With the "Run for the Roses" expected to draw its usual full field of 20, that would put Max Player in contention to give Rice her first career Derby starter should the connections decide to ship him there.
"We're certainly going to keep that option open," Rice said. "We'll give it a few days and I'll discuss it further with George and Joe De Perio [president of SportBLX] and talk about that later in the week."
* * *
Serengeti Empress emerges from G1 Ballerina triumph in good order
Trainer Tom Amoss reported that Joel Politi's Serengeti Empress was in good order the morning after her game victory in the Grade 1 Ballerina presented by NYRA Bets at Saratoga Race Course.
The 4-year-old daughter of Alternation earned an automatic berth toward the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on November 7 at Keeneland with a victory in the Ballerina, which was a Breeders' Cup "Win And You're In" event.
"She looked good. I was surprised she wasn't more tired," Amoss said.
Serengeti Empress earned her first Grade 1 victory since winning last year's Kentucky Oaks and gave Amoss his first Grade 1 win at the Spa since Heritage of Gold won the Go for Wand in 2000.
A five-time graded stakes winner over four different tracks at distances ranging from seven to nine furlongs, Amoss believes that Serengeti Empress is more suited for the seven-furlong distance.
"I think it had a lot to do with the distance of the race," Amoss said. "It really suits her and I'm not so sure she hasn't always been a good middle distance horse. We were fortunate going into the Kentucky Oaks."
Last summer, Serengeti Empress was second in the Grade 1 Longines Test at the Spa, where she engaged in a dramatic stretch battle with eventual Champion 3-Year-Old Filly and Champion Female Sprinter Covfefe.
Serengeti Empress arrived at the Ballerina off a swift half-mile work over the Saratoga main track.
"I think she thrives up here," Amoss said. "Not only in her work patterns but daily gallops. Her brightness of coat is strong and there are lot of things that I like about how she looks right now. Yesterday was a great day. All that was missing yesterday were the fans, everything else was great."
Amoss said that the whereabouts of Serengeti Empress' next start are still unknown.
"That's a conversation that Joel Politi and I will have later this week," Amoss said.
* * *
Pure Sensation retired; Decorated Invader and Gufo to square off in Saratoga Derby
Patricia Generazio's homebred Pure Sensation, a 9-year-old Zensational gelding, was retired following a seventh-place finish in Saturday's Grade 3 Troy at Saratoga.
Out of the Disco Rico mare Pure Disco, the popular grey retires with a record of 38-14-5-7 and purse earnings of $2,004,050.
"He's been amazingly consistent over the years. He was a very fast horse from the beginning and he will be a tough guy to replace," said trainer Christophe Clement. "He was a very straightforward horse and very kind. He traveled all over the country. He ran last year in the Breeders' Cup and was the favorite in the race. It's extraordinary how long he lasted at the top level. It's a credit to Mr. and Mrs. Generazio and their breeding program."
A multiple graded-stakes winner, Pure Sensation enjoyed tremendous success at Parx where he captured the Grade 3 Parx Dash three times [2016-17, 2019] and the Grade 3 Turf Monster on four occasions [2015, 2017-19].
Pure Sensation graduated at third asking in October 2013 at Belmont Park and was stakes placed twice in a productive juvenile campaign. He notched his first stakes win in the 2014 Quick Call at Saratoga and made the grade in September 2015 when taking his first Turf Monster.
In June 2016, Pure Sensation bested his fellow Generazio homebred and eventual stablemate Disco Partner by a neck in the Grade 3 Jaipur at Belmont. A year later, Disco Partner, this time under the care of Clement, turned the tables on Pure Sensation with a neck win in the 2017 Jaipur.
"What's special about the two of them is that they helped each other," said Clement's son and assistant, Miguel. "One would be on the lead, and the other would be closing."
Pure Sensation and Disco Partner would square off on seven occasions, with the latter earning a 3-2 edge on wins. Disco Partner was retired to stand at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, New York at the end of last season.
Clement noted the two long-standing gray turf sprinters will be missed on the track, but he said Pure Sensation may get to enjoy a new career at the racetrack.
"I'm not sure what Mr. Generazio would like to do yet, whether he wants him retired to the farm or if we can use him as a pony at the track because he would be a very popular pony if I can take him with us to Payson Park," said Clement. "He's a remarkable horse. He was a stakes horse as a 2-year-old and he competed for seven years. This year I couldn't get him back to form but he is healthy and sound and he looks well."
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables' Shekky Shebaz was elevated to second after being interfered with in the stretch run of the Troy by Imprimis, who was disqualified from the top slot and placed third.
Shekky Shebaz finished third in the Wolf Hill at Monmouth Park in his first start since being transferred to Clement's care and the veteran conditioner, currently tied for most wins  with Todd Pletcher at the Spa summer meet, said he was pleased with the 5-year-old Cape Blanco gelding's effort.
"He ran well. It was a better race than his first time with us Monmouth," said Clement. "He finished very well. He got in trouble but still he was game and he tried. As long as he keeps going up, the Lucky Coin at the end of the meet would be a logical spot for him."
The $85,000 Lucky Coin, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for 4-year-olds and upward is slated for September 6.
West Point Thoroughbreds, William T. Freeman, William Sandbrook and Cheryl Manning's Grade 1-winner Decorated Invader [48.70] and Otter Bend Stables' Grade 3-winner Gufo [:49] worked a half-mile in company Saturday on the Oklahoma training turf in preparation for the $500,000 Saratoga Derby, first leg of the Turf Triple Series for 3-year-olds on August 15.
"They had a very good work yesterday in company, helping each other," said Clement. "They started slow and finished well. They galloped out strong. They both look well this morning and I'm excited to see them run."
Decorated Invader, who will be piloted by Joel Rosario, earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure with his last-out 1 ¼-length win in the Grade 2, $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall Of Fame at nine furlongs on Saratoga's inner turf.
A five-time winner from seven starts, Decorated Invader captured the Grade 1 Summer at Woodbine in September and is currently riding a three-race win streak that includes a victory in the Cutler Bay at Gulfstream and the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge at Belmont.
Gufo, to be piloted for the first time by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, is on a four-race win streak including a maiden win, optional-claiming score and English Channel victory at Gulfstream. Last out, Gufo shipped to Delaware Park and captured the Grade 3 Kent.
Both colts are sired by Declaration of War and will be squaring off for the first time in the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Derby.
"They both have done everything right up until now and they both deserve a shot in this race," said Clement. "We've been trying to space them out up until now, but this is the only major race in the summer on the East Coast."
Clement said the duo's racing styles should complement each other.
"Decorated Invader is a touch more aggressive in his races than Gufo," said Clement. "I think Gufo will be a touch off the pace. Decorated Invader is versatile and Rosario knows him very well, so I'll leave it up to him to decide what to do."
R Unicorn Stable's Call Me Love, a British-bred daughter of Sea the Stars, worked a half-mile in 48.92 Saturday on the Oklahoma training turf in preparation for the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana, a nine-furlong turf test on August 23.
She captured the Group 3 Premio Verziere Memorial Aldo Cirla at Milan and Group 2 Premia Lydia Tesio in Rome last year. Since being transferred to Clement for her 4-year-old campaign, Call Me Love has hit the board in a pair graded stakes including a last-out second in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa when a neck back of Starship Jubilee but 1 1/4-lengths clear of 2018 Champion Turf Female Sistercharlie.
"She had a nice work and we're training her for the Diana. She ran very well the other day," said Clement.
Impressive maiden winner Plum Ali, owned by Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables, notched a two-length debut victory on the Mellon turf course on July 23.
The First Samurai chestnut breezed a half-mile in 51.63 Saturday on the Oklahoma training turf in preparation for the $100,000 P.G. Johnson on September 3.
"It was a good work. She won first time out and has come out of it in good shape," said Clement.
Waterford Stable's last-out Grade 2 Lake Placid winner Speaktomeofsummer worked a half-mile in 50 flat Sunday in company with New York-bred allowance winner Maxwell Esquire on the Oklahoma training turf in preparation for the 1 3/16-mile $500,000 Saratoga Oaks on August 16.
"She went very well in company and finished up well," said Clement.
* * *
American Sailor ships back to Maryland following G3 Troy
Raj Jagnanan's American Sailor, winner of Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Troy following the disqualification of first-place finisher Imprimis, was on the road back to Laurel Park on Sunday morning.
With trainer Wayne Potts hauling the trailer holding his first career stakes winner, horse and horseman were expected to be back at their home base by late afternoon.
"He came out of the race fantastic. Three thumbs up," Potts said. "He ate up all the grain last night and we grazed him for about 45 minutes this morning, and everything looked great."
American Sailor is a gelded 8-year-old son of City Zip, who swept Saratoga's three-race series for 2-year-olds in 2000 capped by his dead-heat triumph with Yonaguska in the Grade 1 Hopeful. After getting the winter off, American Sailor opened the season with an optional claiming allowance triumph on June 8 at Laurel.
From there, American Sailor got caught late after setting the pace in the Wolf Hill on July 18 at Monmouth to set him up for the Troy. Breaking from post 2 under jockey Tyler Gaffalione, American Sailor gunned for the lead and held it through fractions of 21.92, 44.01 and 55.33 seconds before Imprimis swept to the front on the outside and crossed the wire 2 ¼ lengths in front.
American Sailor held off Shekky Shebaz for second by a head. He was placed first following the stewards' ruling that Imprimis, during his run through the stretch, came over and impeded Shekky Shebaz's progress and was disqualified to third.
"I knew we'd be in front, it was just a matter of how much pressure we would get and how far we could go," Potts said. "He put up a 44 for the half-mile so he was just rolling along. I was hoping and praying we could get the 5 ½. He came up a little short but the horse that beat him ran in the Breeders' Cup last year so he's no slouch. To get put up after finishing second, I'll take it."
American Sailor is now a 15-time winner from 45 starts to go along with nine seconds, three thirds and $568,264 in purse earnings. He won the 2016 Bucharest Turf Sprint at Sam Houston for previous trainer Joe Sharp, was claimed by Potts for $25,000 in September 2017 at Suffolk Downs and then purchased privately by Jagnanan after Potts lost American Sailor for a $7,500 tag in June 2018.
"He doesn't owe us anything. He runs his heart out every time," Potts said. "He's one-dimensional; you've got to go with him. If I could get a five-eighths of a mile race for him somewhere I'd love it for him, but we've got to take what they give us."
Potts said American Sailor will get a few days' rest back at Laurel before returning to the track later in the week. The trainer has yet to pick out a next spot for his stable star.
"There's a race back at Monmouth that they asked me about but after running this race, I want to see how he comes back and we'll make a plan," Potts said. "I'm not in a hurry to wheel him right back."
* * *
Runhappy Travers Day Cross Country Pick 5 returns $954
Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 paid $954.75 for selecting all five winners for the 50-cent wager that encompassed live racing from Saratoga Race Course and Woodbine Racetrack. The sequence's total pool was $95,839.
Woodbine, which featured the first, third and fourth legs, commenced the sequence when Fact Checking edged Double Medal by a neck in a six-furlong turf allowance in Race 8. Trained by Ian Howard and ridden by Steven Bahen, Fact Checking rallied from 10th a quarter-mile in and fourth in the stretch to find a seam and get up in time, returning $24.60 on a $2 win bet.
Historic Saratoga provided the Cross Country Pick 5's two stakes on Runhappy Travers Day, with the Chad Brown-trained My Sister Nat winning the Grade 3, $150,000 Waya for older fillies and mares going 1 1/2 miles on the firm inner turf in Race 9. Dueling with the favorite Mrs. Sippy in the stretch, the French-bred My Sister Nat won by a neck in a final time of 2:30.26 under winning rider Jose Ortiz. She paid $6.90
Back at Woodbine, Saltini captured a 7 ½-furlong inner turf claiming race in Race 9. Trained by Philip Hall, Saltini bested a 10-horse field by two lengths, paying $11.40. Under jockey Keveh Nicholls, the 4-year-old stayed off Marten River's early speed before closing strong.
The Rexdale, Ontario-based track also hosted the fourth leg in Race 10, when Marjorie's Dream rewarded her favoritism to win a 5 ½-furlong maiden race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. The 3-year-old filly led through every point of call en route to an eight-length win under Patrick Husbands, paying $6.10. Trained by Randy Thompson, Marjorie's Dream posted a final time of 1:04.47 on the all-weather track.\
Saratoga was the site of the showcase in Race 11 when Tiz the Law, making his first start since winning the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes in June at Belmont Park, registered another impressive performance that solidified is status as the nation's top 3-year-old with a 5 ½-length score in the 151st Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers. Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law, the 1-2 favorite, easily outkicked runner-up Caracaro in the stretch, with Max Player, South Bend, Country Grammer, Uncle Chuck and Shivaree completing the order of finish. Under Manny Franco, who won his first career Travers, Tiz the Law [$3.60] improved to 4-for-4 as a sophomore, with wins in the Grade 3 Holy Bull and Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park predating his Belmont Stakes triumph.
The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. Every week will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool.
The Cross Country Pick 5 will continue each Saturday throughout the year. For more information, visit NYRABets.com.