Tiz The Law shaping up for Keeneland

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Tiz The Law
Jun 20, 2020; Elmont, New York, USA; Jockey Manuel Franco pumps his fist after winning the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes aboard Tiz the Law (8) at Belmont Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Connections of Tiz The Law are thrilled with how his preparations for next month’s Breeders’ Cup Classic are coming along.

Trainer Barclay Tagg and assistant Robin Smullen have both reported the multiple Grade 1 scorer to be working well as he looks to stake his Horse of the Year credentials in the $6m Classic on November 7th.

Tiz The Law hasn’t raced since finishing second to Authentic in the Kentucky Derby last month at Churchill Downs. He was a hot favourite for the ‘Run for the Roses’ but couldn’t get past Bob Baffert’s gallant frontrunner.

Authentic met a similar fate himself in the Preakness at Pimlico this month, unable to overhaul the filly Swiss Skydiver in the final Triple Crown race of the year.

Tiz The Law had earlier won the Belmont Stakes – and the Grade 1 Travers Stakes – but Tagg felt the rescheduled 2020 calendar meant the Preakness would have constituted a race too many – especially once the Triple Crown was not on the line any longer.

He insists he was always of a mind to skip Pimlico and go straight to Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup.

“I didn’t want to run him in the Preakness, anyway. We were really adamantly against that,” he said. “We’d run him every single time and, if he had no way to win the Triple Crown, there was no sense in doing it. Why go to another tough race?

“If we had two weeks more, it would have been a different thing. But we didn’t have two weeks more. If there was six weeks to the Preakness and six weeks to the Breeders’ Cup, it would have been a no-brainer. But we didn’t. It didn’t fit into being sensible.”

Tiz The Law covered five furlongs in 1:01.54 seconds at Belmont Park on Sunday in his latest piece of work.

Assistant trainer Smullen says Tiz The Law has twice shown the effects of running at Churchill Downs – the scene of his only two career defeats. She adds however that the upper body stiffness wasn’t as pronounced after the Derby as it was in his two-year-old defeat, which came on a sloppy track.

Smullen feels that Tiz The Law doesn’t race well at the Kentucky track.

“He was quite stiff out of that [two-year-old] race. It took him a long time to overcome it,” Smullen, who rides out Tiz The Law in his homework, said. “And then this race out of Churchill, he was stiff out of this race and it took him a little bit to get over it, nothing like when he was a baby, a two-year-old. But it still took him a couple of weeks to get back to his normal self.

“I don’t think he likes that surface. We’ve tried it twice now. He didn’t run bad. He was still better than a lot of horses. But you could see coming down the stretch that he wasn’t his usual self.”

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