HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law left no doubt who reigns supreme in the 3-year-old division as he stormed home impressively to win Saturday’s $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from post 7 under Manny Franco as the 7/5 favorite, Tiz the Law was purposely ridden three-wide in the clear heading into the clubhouse turn. Just ahead of him, Shivaree and Ete Indien dueled through opening fractions of :23.75, :47.95, 1:11.94 while Tiz the Law remained confidently handled to their outside.
Advancing three-wide through the far turn, Tiz the Law took the lead as he neared the top of the stretch while Franco remained chilly in the irons. Finally let loose after he straightened for home, the Barclay Tagg trainee only needed a pair of light left-handed reminders in mid-stretch that were meant to keep him running straight and true.
Geared down inside the 1/16 pole, Tiz the Law crossed 4 1/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:50.00 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the fast main track.
“I want to give all the credit to the horse,” Franco said. “He broke out of there perfectly, like a shot, and I was able to let the horse on the outside (Ete Indien) clear me and I ended up in a great position. I sat third and I just thought about waiting for the right moment, and I was happy by the 5/16 pole. All the time, when I called on him a little bit, he was there for me.”
Shivaree far outran his 80/1 odds while running without blinkers for the first time in nine starts. The Ralph Nicks trainee dug deep to hold off Ete Indien by 3/4 of a length.
“He’s one tough little fella, that’s all I can say,” Nicks said. “There’s not many times when he doesn’t show up. He’s got speed, so we weren’t going to take him away from that if he broke well, and he broke well. The winner was awesome.”
Ete Indien necked out a streaking Gouverneur Morris for third. Independence Hall was fifth ahead of Candy Tycoon, while behind them came My First Grammy, As Seen On Tv, and Rogue Element to complete the order of finish.
Soros was scratched after his connections opted to run him in a local allowance on March 27; he finished fourth. Disc Jockey, Ajaaweed, and Sassy But Smart were also scratched.
The Florida Derby is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Tiz the Law earned 100 points for the win, with Shivaree receiving 40 for second, Ete Indien 20 for third, and Gouverneur Morris 10 for fourth.
Tiz the Law’s win was his second straight, having taken the local Holy Bull Stakes (G3) on February 1, and improved his overall record to 5-4-0-1, with his lone defeat coming in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) last November. The New York-bred 3-year-old son of Constitution, purchased for $110,000 as a yearling, has now earned $945,300.
“He is something special,” said Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable, who also teamed with Tagg to win the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (G1) with the New York-bred Funny Cide. “It would be a lot of fun going to Kentucky in five weeks, but that’s not happening, obviously. Now we get to run some more races. Maybe the Wood (Memorial [G2]) will come back in play. Maybe we can do a Travers (G1)-Derby double. Right now, it’s a blank slate. Nobody knows what’s going to happen where or when with all that’s going on in the country.
“All we know is that we’ve got a horse that’s very special, and it’s pretty exciting for us.”
Tiz the Law returned $4.80 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.80 to show. Shivaree brought back $42 to place and $13 to show, while Ete Indien paid $3.40 to show.