May 27, 2024

Tiz the Law favored at 6-5 in overflow Florida Derby

Tiz the Law opened his 3-year-old season with a sharp win in the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park (c) Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photography

Tiz the Law established himself as the early Kentucky Derby favorite when opening his 3-year-old season with a smashing victory in the Feb. 1 Holy Bull (G3), registering a 108 Brisnet Speed rating for the three-length decision, and he will be the one to beat in Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park.

As a major qualifier for the Kentucky Derby, which has been rescheduled for Sept. 5, the Florida Derby will award points on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top four finishers. An overflow field of 13 was entered, but only 12 will be allowed to start.

Saturday’s 14-race program includes 10 stakes, and a mandatory payout in the Rainbow Pick 6 pool.

Owned by Sackatoga Stables and trained by Barclay Tagg, the same connections as 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, Tiz the Law has been established as the 6-5 morning line favorite in the 1 1/8-mile race. The bay colt is from the first crop of successful young stallion Constitution, and Tiz the Law opened his racing career with a pair of convincing triumphs, including a four-length score in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park.

He sustained his lone setback when closing his juvenile campaign with a close third in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), experiencing a less-than-favorable trip over the sloppy track at Churchill Downs, and rebounded spectacularly in the Holy Bull. Tiz the Law will keep regular rider Manny Franco in the saddle.

Ete Indien was no match for Tiz the Law when finishing a clear second in the Holy Bull, but the improving colt looks more formidable this time around after romping by 8 1/2 lengths in the Feb. 29 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream. He showed blazing early speed from post 10 last time, opening a clear lead by the start of the first turn, and similar tactics are expected from the far outside starting position Saturday.

The Patrick Biancone-trained colt has registered century-topping Brisnet Speed ratings in all three dirt starts, and Florent Geroux will guide the confirmed front-runner. Ete Indien is listed as the 4-1 second choice.

Independence Hall comes next on the morning line at 8-1, and the imposing dark bay son of Constitution will look to bounce back after suffering his first loss with a runner-up finish in the Feb. 8 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. An easy winner of the Nashua (G3) and Jerome S. in New York, Independence Hall will look to settle more readily after being headstrong during the early stages last time. Joel Rosario takes over the reins for Michael Trombetta.

Gouverneur Morris returns to stakes competition following a sharp allowance tally at Tampa Bay in mid-February. That marked his first start since a runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland last October, and Gouverneur Morris will bring improving Speed ratings into his fourth career appearance for Todd Pletcher. John Velazquez will be up.

Pletcher is also responsible for Candy Tycoon, who rallied for second in the Fountain of Youth at long odds after posting a convincing maiden win at Gulfstream. Fountain of Youth third-placer As Seen on Tv is also back for the Florida Derby.