Kentucky Derby Is This Saturday; Tiz the Law Draws Post 17

Son of Constitution made 3-5 morning-line favorite in 18-horse Kentucky Derby (G1).

  • The following piece appeared at September 1 and was written by Evan Hammonds.

Fans can wager the “Run for the Roses” at any Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Richmond, New Kent, Vinton and Hampton, at any VA-Horseplay OTB in Henrico (Breaker’s Sports Grille), Chesapeake (Buckets Bar & Grill) and Collinsville (The Windmill OTB Sports Grill), and online via,, and

There are two Virginia tie-ins to the Derby field this year. NY Traffic is Virginia-Certified and spent his six month residency at Spencer Young’s Sunny Dell Farm in Barboursville. The Cross Traffic colt has $565,470 in earnings from runner-up finishes in the Haskell, Matt Winn Stakes and Louisiana Derby. Ny Traffic also took third in the Risen Star Stakes earlier this year. Attachment Rate is a Virginia-bred and is fresh off a runner-up finish in the Ellis Park Derby, The Dale Romans trainee was bred by Mr. & Mrs. Oliver Iselin III. In 2020, the Hard Spun colt has earned $142,925 in purse monies. 

Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law, with a classic score already under his belt and winner of the Aug. 8 Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1), drew post 17 for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).

The Derby, delayed from May 2, saw 18 horses entered but because of COVID-19 will be run without fans.

Tiz the Law was made the 3-5 morning-line favorite. The last time the early choice was slated at 3-5 was 1989 with the entry of Easy Goer and Awe Inspiring.

There was a bit of drama in the post position selection held in the Aristides Room at Churchill Downs, as Tiz the Law was the last name pulled by racing secretary Ben Huffman. Other top contenders drew outside, including Authentic (8-1 on the morning line) in the outside slot. Honor A. P., winner of the June 6 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1), will be asked to start from post 16 and was pegged as the 5-1 second choice.

Regardless of whether the Run for the Roses is in May or September, there’s often even more drama surrounding the draw and the run up to the race. Last year it was favorite Omaha Beach  scratching from the Derby the day after the draw. This year’s buzz story is the absence of Bruce Lunsford’s homebred Art Collector the morning of the post position draw after the colt grabbed a quarter Aug. 31.

Tiz The Law arrives at Churchill Downs August 31. Photo by Coady Photography.

The exit of Art Collector from the field left 18 3-year-olds for the 1 1/4-mile race. Scratch time is 9 a.m. ET Sept. 4 and the race, worth $3 million, has a post time of 7:02 p.m. NBC will provide coverage from 2:30-7:30 p.m.

With a new 20-stall starting gate in place for this year’s Derby and only 18 starters, the slots one and 20 will be empty.

In the previous 145 runnings of the Derby no winner has come from post 17. However, that might become a moot point considering the new gate.

“I kind of look at it as not 17 with the new starting gate,” said Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga Stable. “It’s probably more like 13, 14, 15 maybe. It’s a new world that we are in with the starting gate. Obviously, when you had that gap you were a lot further outside. We had horses win from (post) 20. I don’t think it matters much. I’m just a lot happier there than in the 1 or the 2.”

“I like it being on the outside,” Barclay Tagg, trainer of Tiz the Law, said of the position. “I didn’t particularly want to be out that far, but we have been. He seems to handle everything that gets thrown at him. It gives you a chance if you have any speed at all.”

As for post 17, Tagg said: “Things happen. There’s a lot of horses that didn’t win the Derby. Frankly, I’m not that worried about it.”

Virginia-bred Attachment Rate works at Churchill on August 30. Photo by Coady Photography.

New York-bred Tiz the Law was a clear winner of the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) and earlier this year landed the Curlin Florida Derby (G1). It’s the second run to the Derby for the Sackatoga team and Tagg, as they won the 2003 Run for the Roses, and the Preakness Stakes (G1) with New York-bred Funny Cide. Funny Cide broke from post 5 in his Derby.

The unlucky rail spot went to Arnaldo Monge’s and trainer Rey Hernandez’ Finnick the Fierce, a one-eyed son of Dialed In . Unplaced in the July 11 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2), he hangs his credentials on a third-place finish behind Nadal and King Guillermo in the second division of the May 2 Arkansas Derby (G1). He’s 2-1-2 in nine starts.

“Looking back, the best races that he’s been running have been from the 1 position … Especially with him going a mile and a quarter and that he comes from off the pace,” Hernandez said. “I don’t think it’s any issue with the 1.”

On Authentic at the opposite end of the starting gate co-owner Jack Wolf of Starlight Racing said: “It’s pretty apparent the horse will go to the lead. (Jockey) Johnny (Velazquez) is suited to ride a horse like this. It appears that there is other speed in here, but hopefully he’s fast enough to hold his speed for 1 1/4 miles.”

Also drawing outside was Cash is King, LC Racing, John Fanelli, Paul Braverman, and Team Hanley’s Ny Traffic, a fellow New York-bred. The son of Cross Traffic  was second in the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) May 23 at Churchill Downs and was second to Authentic by a nose in the Haskell Stakes (G1).

Virginia-Certified NY Traffic speft his six month residency at Spencer Young’s Sunny Dell Farm. Photo by Lauren King.

“We didn’t want to get too far inside,” said trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. after landing post 15. “Chasing the speed would be a perfect scenario. (The Haskell) was encouraging and since that race he’s been moving forwardly. So far so good.”

A late entrant was South Bend, a son of Algorithms  owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Peter Deutsch, and Pantofel Stable. Fourth in the Travers and second in the June 27 Ohio Derby (G3), South Bend is trained by Bill Mott, conditioner of last year’s winner, Country House. South Bend was sixth behind Silver Prospector and Tiz the Law in last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2).


Churchill Downs, Saturday, September 05, 2020, Race 14

  • Grade I
  • 1 1/4m
  • Dirt 
  • $3,000,000
  • 3 yo
  • 7:01 PM (local)
11Finnick the Fierce (KY)Martin Garcia126Rey Hernandez50/1
22Max Player (KY)Ricardo Santana, Jr.126Steven M. Asmussen30/1
33Enforceable (KY)Adam Beschizza126Mark E. Casse30/1
44Storm the Court (KY)Julien R. Leparoux126Peter Eurton50/1
55Major Fed (KY)James Graham126Gregory D. Foley50/1
66King Guillermo (KY)Samy Camacho126Juan Carlos Avila20/1
77Money Moves (KY)Javier Castellano126Todd A. Pletcher30/1
88South Bend (KY)Tyler Gaffalione126William I. Mott50/1
99Mr. Big News (KY)Gabriel Saez126W. Bret Calhoun50/1
1010Thousand Words (FL)Florent Geroux126Bob Baffert15/1
1111Necker Island (KY)Miguel Mena126Chris A. Hartman50/1
1212Sole Volante (KY)Luca Panici126Patrick L. Biancone30/1
1313Attachment Rate (VA)Joseph Talamo126Dale L. Romans50/1
1414Winning Impression (KY)Joseph Rocco, Jr.126Dallas Stewart50/1
1515Ny Traffic (NY)Paco Lopez126Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.20/1
1616Honor A. P. (KY)Mike E. Smith126John A. Shirreffs5/1
1717Tiz the Law (NY)Manuel Franco126Barclay Tagg3/5
1818Authentic (KY)John R. Velazquez126Bob Baffert8/1