By Bill Finley
Tiz the Law (Constitution) is being pointed for the Feb. 1 GII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream Park, reported owner Jack Knowlton. It will be the colt’s first start since he finished a troubled third in the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. at Churchill Downs last Saturday.
“It’s the first race that comes up on the radar screen and it gives him a nice break between races,” Knowlton said. “[Trainer] Barclay [Tagg] is very interested in spacing his races out. This race is at Gulfstream and he’ll be training just up the road at Palm Meadows. This race fits.”
Knowlton said that it has yet to be decided where Tiz the Law will run after the Holy Bull, but said the GII Louisiana Derby is a possibility.
“We’re not sure yet what we’re going to do after the Holy Bull, but we may look to do what we did with Funny Cide (Distorted Humor) and go to the Louisiana Derby,” he said. “I know things were different then, but it worked out pretty well for Funny Cide.”
Knowlton added that Tiz the Law will have just two races next year before an expected appearance in the GI Kentucky Derby.
Though he was beaten as the odds-on favorite in the Kentucky Jockey Club, Tiz the Law turned in a creditable effort. With Manny Franco aboard, he was pinned in behind a wall of horses for much of the trip and didn’t find running room until the deep stretch (video).
“The horse didn’t break well the other day and then he was never really relaxed and was sitting behind a slow pace where the half was in :49 4/5,” Knowlton said. “He’s not used to that. He’s used to them going in :46 and change. That may have been a factor and so could have the wet track. We have a lot of reasons to just draw a line through the race. Considering what happened, he still only got beat by three-quarters of a length.”
Knowlton said that nothing he saw Saturday has caused him to change his mind about the horse, whose biggest win to date came in the GI Champagne S.
“If anything, I’m higher on him now,” he said. “Obviously, it wasn’t an awesome race like his first two were, but he passed some tests. He got to travel, he went two turns for the first time and he showed that he can get over the track at Churchill. He didn’t love the track, but it’s not like he didn’t get over it. I know I’m biased, but look at what happened in the Derby Future wager. Other than the ‘all others” pick, he’s the favorite. The bettors certainly haven’t lost confidence in him.”
For Knowlton and his Sackatoga Stable, the lead-up to the Derby next year has been very different than it was when he won the first leg of the Triple Crown with Funny Cide in 2003.
“It’s a completely different scenario,” he said. “Funny Cide was under the radar and he didn’t really catch the imagination of anybody until he won the Derby. Then there was a lot of buzz. With this horse, everything got crazy after he won the Champagne. I’m just trying to manage that and, for me, it’s been a very different experience from 2003.”