Fri | May 29, 2020

Tiz the Law wins unusual Florida Derby at Gulfstream

Published:Sunday | March 29, 2020 | 12:41 AM
Tiz the Law, ridden by Manuel Franco, wins the Florida Derby  at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach yesterday.
AP Tiz the Law, ridden by Manuel Franco, wins the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach yesterday.


If there is a Kentucky Derby this year, Tiz the Law will have a shot to be there.

And if he runs the way he did in the Florida Derby, he could very easily be a contender.

Tiz the Law ran away in the stretch yesterday to easily win the Florida Derby, wrapping up a spot in the Kentucky Derby field based on the points standings that are used to determine who qualifies for the Run for the Roses. Tiz the Law’s win at Gulfstream Park was worth 100 points, far more than what will be needed for a chance to run at Churchill Downs if the rescheduled Kentucky Derby goes off as planned in early September.

It’s a feel-good story for a sport in need of one: Tiz the Law is owned by Sackatoga Stable, the upstate New York-based group that took the sport by storm when Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 2003.

“Man, I hope they’re really happy,” winning jockey Manny Franco said about the Sackatoga group led by Jack Knowlton, who watched the race from a condo in Hallandale Beach, Florida, about a mile from the track. “Their horse did a great job.”

Franco said he got instructions before the race over the phone from winning trainer Barclay Tagg but said he didn’t have to do much work once the gate opened.

“I give all the credit to the horse,” Franco said.


Shivaree, an 80-1 long shot, was second and picked up 50 points to likely clinch a spot in the field. Fountain of Youth winner Ete Indien was third in a most unusual race at Gulfstream, where fans were not allowed and even owners were told to stay away from the track because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tiz the Law covered nine furlongs in 1:50 flat.

Ordinarily, Tiz the Law would now be immediately targeted to the Kentucky Derby because it was set to be run five weeks from now, but the pandemic has changed everything, and now it’s unclear when or where any of the top Derby contenders — now, Tiz the Law foremost among them — will run again.

There isn’t another major Kentucky Derby prep scheduled, for now, until May 2 when the Arkansas Derby is set to be run. Other major preps — like the Santa Anita Derby, the Wood Memorial, and the Blue Grass — are all on hold.

Many tracks are not running right now because of the pandemic. Santa Anita in California shut down indefinitely on Friday, and Aqueduct, one of the New York Racing Association’s three tracks, cancelled the rest of its winter and spring meets on Saturday. State officials announced that Aqueduct would become a temporary hospital site to help some of the many affected in the New York City area.

“Aqueduct Racetrack will serve as a safe haven for those recovering from this virus,” NYRA CEO and President Dave O’Rourke said. “We recognise that we all must work together as a community to meet this challenge and emerge stronger for it.”