Kentucky Derby favourite Tiz The Law enjoyed a ‘perfect’ piece of track work at Saratoga on Sunday to leaving his trainer Barclay Tagg thrilled.
With the ‘Run for the Roses’ now less than two weeks away, Tagg admitted the first proper piece of work since his ultra-impressive Travers Stakes success was a key moment.
Early on Sunday morning, Tiz The Law and regular exercise rider Heather Smullen took to a fast track to complete a sharp seven-furlong stretch.
Trainer Tagg was eager to have a limit on what Tiz The Law did, but that didn’t stop the Belmont Stakes winner completing five-furlongs in an impressive 59.47 seconds.
Smullen had clear instructions going out and the trainer was delighted.
“It went fast enough, but not too fast,” Tagg said. “It was a little quicker than usual, but it wasn’t too quick for him. He’s a pretty fast horse. I told Heather I wanted a good work in him. I didn’t want to set any records out there. I wanted her to keep a good snug hold on him. I wanted a good work.”
Having won the Grade 1 Travers in scintillating fashion back on August 8th, Tagg is now plotting his way to the Kentucky Derby on September 5th.
Tiz The Law is set to be a warm order to win at Churchill Downs and, if doing so, he’ll have the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on October 3rd and his shot at winning a unique ‘Triple Crown’ in what has become a strange season owing to the rejigged schedule.
Tagg, like everyone else, is having to adjust to the new calendar and that made Sunday’s Saratoga workout even more important in his mind.
“This [was] an important workout. In one way, I don’t have any way to make up for it,” Tagg added.
“It’s the first thing he has done in the last two or three weeks. That’s why I needed a good work. If he goes a little too slow going on top of the race, I wouldn’t want that, but I don’t want it too fast either. It’s going to have to be almost perfect. If it’s just like today, that would be fine.
“I can only work him two times before [The Derby]. To me, this work was more important.”
Smullen meanwhile confirmed that Tiz The Law did everything in his stride without a need for being pushed. In her eyes, the colt knows his job well.
“He was playing around. At the [three-furlong] pole, I took my stick out,” Smullen said. “He stayed nice and straight. I never had to ask him. At the [furlong] pole, he saw a horse. I didn’t have to do anything. He finished up his work. Galloping out, he just kept going. He’s good at what he does.”