By Bill Finley
A rarity in the modern era for a top-class 3-year-old, Tiz the Law (Constitution) will race again next year and is being pointed for the GI Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park. But who will be aboard him that day? It appears the answer is not Manny Franco.
After trainer Barclay Tagg criticized Franco's ride in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, Jack Knowlton, the managing partner of Sackatoga Stable, echoed those sentiments Tuesday. When asked if there would be a jockey change, Knowlton said it is under consideration.
Franco has become a top jockey on the New York circuit and has ridden Tiz the Law in all but his first start. But he is short on experience when it comes to major races. Tagg was disappointed that Franco wasn't immediately able to get Tiz the Law off the rail in the Classic and that he didn't go after Authentic (Into Mischief) more aggressively in the early part of the race. After breaking sharply, Tiz the Law settled into fifth before finishing sixth. The first time in his career he has finished out of the money, Tiz the Law was beaten 5 1/2 lengths.
“I don't think any of us were pleased with his ride,” Knowlton said. “I was in the paddock when Barclay talked to Manny and gave him his instructions, how he wanted to see him ride him and where he wanted him to put the horse in the race. Unfortunately, that did not happen.”
Will Franco lose the mount?
“I think that's certainly on the table,” Knowlton said. “We're not just looking at the Classic but looking at next year, looking at the potential of where we may run. There are places like Del Mar and Oaklawn and those are places where Manny's never raced or certainly not ridden at to a high degree at all. That's a factor as you look ahead. We know we've got one more year and we have a pretty good idea of where we are going to run. We had a great year with him, but you have to look forward and try to figure out what's best for the horse going forward. The discussion of who is going to ride is one that Barclay, (assistant trainer) Robin (Smullen) and I have already begun.”
Knowlton said that Tiz the Law does not like to run inside of horses.
“We had a hell of a streak and then we got the two post in the Classic and lot of people said, 'Uh oh, this is trouble' because he wants to be outside of horses,” Knowlton said. “Unfortunately, it played out that way. Did it have to play out as badly as it did? I don't think so. I don't really think with the best of trips we were going to beat Authentic. He got a lot better.”
In June, Knowlton finalized an agreement with Coolmore America to stand Tiz the Law at stud. It stipulated that Sackatoga would make all racing decisions before he was retired and that it had the option of racing him as 4-year-old.
“When we had discussions with outfits that were interested in pursuing Tiz as a stallion I drew two lines in the sand,” Knowlton said. “One was no racing rights were for sale and, secondly, he had to be able to run through his 4-year-old year, as long as he was healthy and sound and running at a high level.”
Knowlton said that giving his partners another chance to cheer on Tiz the Law as a 4-year-old was among the reasons he is bringing the horse back.
“For 33 out of 35 partners this is the horse of a lifetime,” he said. “Lew Titterton and I had the experience of Funny Cide winning the Derby, the Preakness and almost winning the Triple Crown, doing things on a big stage and having a great horse. Thirty-three other people have never had this opportunity and, in all likelihood, never will again. I think it's great for the sport to bring him back. It is unfortunate that so many of the good 3-year-olds don't get a chance to run as 4-year-olds and then are forgotten. Because Funny Cide was a gelding we had the wonderful opportunity as Sackatoga owners to enjoy this horse basically for six years, from his 2-year-old to 7-year-old year. We are trying to do something that is good for the game and something I wanted to make happen.”
Knowlton said the Pegasus at Gulfstream will be next and that Tiz the Law will not have a prep for that race. He said other races on Tiz the Law's tentative schedule are the 2021 Breeders' Cup Classic, the GI Whitney S. and the Oaklawn H. He said there is an outside shot he will run in the G1 Dubai World Cup.
The $20-million Saudi Cup, he said, is not under consideration.