Tiz The Law had won the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes in fine style and was odds-on to win the ‘Run for the Roses’ and set himself up for a tilt at the Triple Crown in the Preakness at Pimlico on October 3rd.
He emerged as the closest challenger to front-running Authentic in the home stretch but Tiz The Law couldn’t force his way by, Bob Baffert’s charge holding on gamely to win by a length-and-a-quarter under John Velazquez.
In the immediate aftermath a Preakness rematch was touted by Jack Knowlton, managing partner for Sackatoga Stable, but that now is far from certain.
“This isn’t a race we have to be in. It’s a race that, if everything worked out right, we’d like to be in,” Knowlton said of the Preakness. “We just have to see. He’ll tell us if he’s ready for his top effort. If he is, we’ll go. If he’s not, he won’t.”
Barclay Tagg’s assistant trainer Robin Smullen perhaps knows Tiz The Law better than anyone.
She rides him out every single morning since he joined the yard as a two-year-old and, as of Thursday, she was not quite sure he’s ready to sparkle again.
“I talked to Robin this morning, and he still isn’t where she wants him to be able to breeze him,” Knowlton said.
Had the Preakness been a chance to go and win the Triple Crown, things might have been different but, with that option gone, connections are mindful that giving Tiz The Law an ideal prep for the $7m Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on November 7th may be the best option for their star.
“It’s wanting to make sure he’s 100 per cent when he has his breeze,” Knowlton said. “When that comes, hopefully sooner rather than later, he’ll go back on the work tab and, if we’re not sure he’s 100 per-cent, we have no pressure to run in that race.
“There is another big race to point for after that.”
Tiz The Law has won six of his eight races so far, with both defeats coming at Churchill Downs. He was only third in the Kentucky Jockey Club last November on a sloppy track having met trouble and, despite his ultra-impressive form in the Travers, couldn’t peg back Authentic in the Derby, with the winner taking a marked step forward on his previous form to land his trainer a record-equalling sixth success in the race.