Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law (Constitution) continued his unconventional path to Louisville in this upside down year with a jaw-dropping, geared-down 5 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s GI Runhappy Travers S. at a spectator-free Saratoga.
‘TDN Rising Star’ Caracaro (Uncle Mo) was second; Max Player (Honor Code) finished third.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve always wanted to win the Travers,” winning trainer Barclay Tagg said. “This has been in my head my whole life. And now it happened so it couldn’t be better. You always have some doubt because many different things can happen. That’s always in the back of you’re a mind, but I was very confident in the horse.”
Sackatoga’s Jack Knowlton added, “It’s just so exciting. To be in the race and to be 1-2, there’s a lot of pressure. We had well-wishers from everywhere. We saw a performance today that just blows me away. We know we had a nice horse. We thought we had the best horse. To do what he did today, we’re looking forward to going to Kentucky now [for the GI Kentucky Derby].”
Knowlton continued, “It’s fabulous. We’re getting redemption 17 years later [Funny Cide, the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, ran third in the Belmont S. and did not run in the Travers]. Tiz won the Belmont, now he won the Travers. It’s quite an accomplishment for our little stable of New York-breds, for Barclay Tagg training our New York-bred to win the biggest races in New York. We’re just thrilled to death.”
The last out GI Belmont S. hero left the stalls in good order and was kept in the clear three wide by Manny Franco as Bob Baffert’s highly regarded unbeaten West Coast invader Uncle Chuck (Uncle Mo) led them into the clubhouse turn.
Tiz the Law, sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the seven-horse affair, chased on the outside in third through an opening quarter in :23.65 and loomed large in that same position through a :48.36 half mile. The New York-bred turned up the heat on the pacesetter, the 5-2 second choice, under confident handling heading into the far turn and the East vs. West showdown was set. Or so it seemed.
Franco remained motionless as Luis Saez was already all in aboard a tiring Uncle Chuck as they hit the quarter pole with Tiz the Law’s big white blaze now in front. It was only a question of by how far from there as Franco took a peek under his shoulder.
Tiz the Law, winner of Gulfstream’s GIII Holy Bull S. and the GI Curlin Florida Derby in his two other appearances earlier this term, was in complete control as they straightened. Franco briefly shook the reins and a single backhander from there was all it took as he eased down late on the early GI Kentucky Derby favorite in the lane to win for fun.
“He gave me chills,” Franco said of the $110,000 SARAUG yearling graduate. “When I pressed the button, he just took off. He accelerated really hard. After that, I took a peek back and he was going away and I just saved horse.”
Tiz the Law will look to collect the second jewel of this rescheduled COVID-19 Triple Crown on the first Saturday in September.
“I don’t think we’ll change a whole lot,” Tagg said. “We’ll give him 10 days of easiness and then get a few more breezes in him before we go out there. That’s about all we can do.”
Constitution, the runaway leading second-crop sire of 2020 by earnings and heir-apparent to his sire Tapit, is the sire of Tiz the Law and five other black-type winners, including Alexandria, who won the Best of Ohio Miss Ohio S. also on Saturday, and Laura’s Light, who won the July 25 GII San Clemente S. at Del Mar. Five of Constitution’s six stakes winners are graded and five more of his eight additional stakes horses are graded-placed. Constitution shares stallion duties at WinStar Farm with Horse of the Year Tiznow, who is Tiz the Law’s broodmare sire and is also the damsire of Constitution’s additional stakes horses Our Country (GIII Pilgrim S.) and Kansas Kis (Busher Invitational S.). Winner of the 2009 GII San Gorgonio H. at Santa Anita and full-sister to GSW and GISP Fury Kapcori, Tiz the Law’s dam, Tizfiz, hails from the female family of Horse of the Year Favorite Trick (Phone Trick). She also has 2-year-old filly Angel Oak (Mission Impazible) and a yearling colt by that same sire. Although she was bred to Constitution for 2020, no foal has been reported for Tizfiz this year. Tiz the Law will stand at Coolmore America’s Ashford Stud upon his retirement, it was announced in late June.
RUNHAPPY TRAVERS S.-GI, $980,000, Saratoga, 8-8, 3yo, 1 1/4m, 2:00.95, ft.
1–TIZ THE LAW, 126, c, 3, by Constitution
1st Dam: Tizfiz (GSW, $410,944), by Tiznow
2nd Dam: Gin Running, by Go for Gin
3rd Dam: Crafty and Evil, by Crafty Prospector
($110,000 Ylg ’18 SARAUG). O-Sackatoga Stable; B-Twin Creeks Farm (NY); T-Barclay Tagg; J-Manuel Franco. $535,000. Lifetime Record: 7-6-0-1, $2,015,300. *1/2 to Awestruck (Tapit), MSP, $357,116. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A.
2–Caracaro, 126, c, 3, Uncle Mo–Peace Time, by War Front. ($95,000 Wlg ’17 KEENOV). O-Global Thoroughbred & Top Racing LLC; B-SF Bloodstock LLC (KY); T-Gustavo Delgado. $185,000.
3–Max Player, 126, c, 3, Honor Code–Fools in Love, by Not For Love. ($150,000 RNA Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-George E Hall & SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp; B-K & G Stables (KY); T-Linda Rice. $100,000.
Margins: 5HF, 2, 2. Odds: 0.50, 11.00, 11.40.
Also Ran: South Bend, Country Grammer, Uncle Chuck, Shivaree. Scratched: First Line.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.