HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law aced his latest test on Saturday after being forced to try new tactics and succeeding strongly in the $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

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Breaking like a rocket from post 3 under Manny Franco as the 6/5 favorite, Tiz the Law quickly secured command heading into the far turn. He was soon forced down from the 3 path, though, when Ete Indien hustled up to take the lead. Further complicating the matter, Clear Destination and Relentless Rider ran two- and three-wide on Tiz the Law’s hip, pinning him to the rail.

Franco waited until he straightened out on the backstretch, then hit the brakes on Tiz the Law and wrangled him back until he was clear to the right. Franco immediately angled Tiz the Law safely back out into the clear, and he responded by effortlessly ranging up along the outside of those who tried to trap him just moments earlier.

“He ran like I expected him,” Franco said. “He got out of there and I was able to decide where I wanted to be. For a second, I had to make the turn and I was back on the rail, but when I saw those guys putting pressure on (me), I was able to drop back and get outside where I wanted to be. After that, he jumped in the bit and I was traveling like I wanted. You can see, when I took him to the clear on the outside, he got comfortable. He jumped in the bit right away, and after that, he grabbed me.”

Credit: Coglianese Photos

Running three-wide into the far turn, Tiz the Law set dead aim on Ete Indien and shot past him to the lead at the 1/4 pole. Ete Indien tried to keep pace, but Tiz the Law was too strong in the stretch.

Shifting over to the rail, the Barclay Tagg gave Ete Indien plenty of kickback before clearing off to finish 3 lengths ahead in a final time of 1:42.04 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track.

“His race was perfect,” Tagg said. “We told (Franco) to ‘Stay off the rail, no matter what you have to do. Lose the ground and go around them.’ It worked out perfectly.”

Credit: Coglianese Photos

Ete Indien was 11 1/2 lengths clear of third-place runner Toledo, who was 4 1/4 lengths in front of Relentless Dancer. Mayberry DeputyUncork the Bottle, and Clear Destination completed the order of finish.

The Holy Bull is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Tiz the Law earned 10 points for the win, with Ete Indien receiving 4 for second, Toledo 2 for third, and Relentless Dancer 1 for fourth.

Tiz the Law’s win was his third in four starts, including the Champagne Stakes (G1) last fall at Belmont Park that made him an early favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Following the Champagne, however, his connections announced that they would skip the Breeders’ Cup in order to better prepare Tiz the Law for a run at the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Making his third career start in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2), Tiz the Law was stuck on the rail and didn’t get out until late, finishing third while beaten just 3/4 of a length in the slop. Assuming he comes out of the Holy Bull in good order, Tiz the Law will likely make his next start in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds on March 21.

“Obviously, we were disappointed in Kentucky,” said Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable. “Going in, we felt we had the best horse after he won the Champagne the way he did. He had a lot of things against him that day. (There was a) lot of buzz out there. ‘Well, he isn’t what we thought he was. He isn’t that good. What’s Manny doing riding him.’ I think he proved today he’s the horse we saw in the Champagne.”

Tiz the Law returned $4.60 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Ete Indien brought back $4.20 to place and $2.60 to show, while Toledo paid $2.20 to show.