The Sackatoga Stable partnership and trainer Barclay Tagg memorably campaigned the New York-bred gelding Funny Cide to a near-Triple Crown sweep in 2003. Funny Cide flew under the radar leading up to that year’s Kentucky Derby (G1), but such will not be the case after connections’ latest star in the making, Tiz the Law, dominated Saturday’s $500,000 Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park.
Like Funny Cide a New York-bred, Tiz the Law stumbled at the start and was taken back to fifth by jockey Manny Franco. That turned out to be beneficial as 6-5 favorite Green Light Go was hounded by Gozilla through fractions of :22.57, :46.15, and 1:10.82.
In behind those two leaders at the top of the stretch, Tiz the Law was switched out for running room and turned in a devastating kick to quickly seize control. He opened up in the end and was geared down when passing the wire four lengths in front.
“He broke a little bit aggressive. He bobbled a bit and then he took a strong hold early but I got him to relax and he came back to me,” Franco said. “I was just waiting for the moment. I didn’t want to move too early because I knew I had a lot of horse under me. I was trying to wait as long as I could. He lugged in a bit, he’s still a little green. I had a lot of horse at the end. He’s a nice horse.”
Tiz the Law, the 7-5 second choice, returned $4.80 after covering one mile over a fast track in 1:35.41. Green Light Go held second by a neck over 39-1 longshot Big City Bob, with Gozilla fourth.
The Champagne was both a 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep, which awarded qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers, and a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge prep for next month’s Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita. However, Tiz the Law is likely to skip the trip to California.
“Highly, highly, highly unlikely for a lot of reasons,” said Sackatoga Stable’s Jack Knowlton of the Breeders’ Cup. “Shipping across the country with a young horse and going a mile and a sixteenth around two turns the first time against top competition.
“The Remsen ([G2] at Aqueduct in December) is possible. Obviously we would like a mile and a sixteenth race, but we don’t have one here. We’ll talk about it. It certainly doesn’t look like he has distance limitations, so we’ll figure it out.”
“We can always go to California another year, but we can only go to the Kentucky Derby one year,” Tagg said.
Tiz the Law turned heads in his debut at Saratoga on August 8, cruising by 4 1/4 lengths against state-bred company going 6 1/2 furlongs and earning a 97 BRIS Speed rating. He’s now earned $317,900.
The third juvenile graded stakes winner and first Grade 1 scorer sired by Constitution this year, Tiz the Law was produced by Grade 2 winner Tizfiz, by Tiznow. This is the same female family as 1997 juvenile champion and Horse of the Year Favorite Trick.
The Matron Stakes at Belmont
Godolphin and jockey Jose Lezcano teamed up to win two stakes earlier in the card. Alms, a juvenile filly making her stakes debut 16 days after a convincing maiden win over the same course and distance, rallied from fifth and motored home late to catch pacesetter Time Limit in the $150,000 Matron (G3) over six furlongs.
Trained by Mike Stidham, the 3-5 favorite cleared late to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Alms paid $3.30 after completing the course on firm ground in 1:09.30. Time Limit, an 11-1 shot, was 2 1/2 lengths ahead of A Freud of Mama.
Alms had her unveiling on September 19, when she zipped six panels in 1:09 and won by 3 3/4 lengths. She’s now earned $123,750.
“We’ve always been real high on this filly,” said assistant trainer Ben Trask. “We ran her back a little quick, but we wanted to see what we had. She trains at Fair Hill on the synthetic track and she does everything right.
“At the break, I would have liked her to have been a little bit closer, but when she broke, she looked at the horses a little bit and then again on the turn. When she got outside, she finished well and came home nice.”
By City Zip and out of the Group 3-winning Charity Belle, by Empire Maker Alms is a half-sister to Grade 3-placed stakes winner Hallie Belle. Her third dam was multiple Grade 1 winner Banker’s Lady.
The Belmont Turf Sprint
Final Frontier reversed form with Shekky Shebaz by wearing down that pacesetting rival in the $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint.
Second to Shekky Shebaz in the $100,000 Lucky Coin at Saratoga on August 30, Final Frontier benefited from a fast pace and additional ground to win by three parts of a length under Jose Lezcano. The final time for six furlongs on good ground was 1:07.39.
A homebred racing for Godolphin and trained by Tom Albertrani, Final Frontier paid $8.20 as the second choice. The favored Shekky Shebaz finished second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of 18-1 chance Fully Vested, a stablemate to the winner. Disco Partner, winner of the past two renewals of the Belmont Turf Sprint, finished fifth in the field of seven.
With this initial stakes win, Final Frontier improved his career mark to 10-4-2-1, $240,010. Bred in Kentucky, the son of Ghostzapper and the Grade 2-winning Sahara Gold, by Seeking the Gold, is a full brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Better Lucky and a half-brother to Grade 3 scorer Sahara Heat. Final Frontier’s second dam was 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Desert Stormer.