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Tiz The Law runs a good race at Kentucky Derby. ‘He got beat’

Jockey John Velazquez rides Authentic across the finish line, ahead of jockey Manny Franco and Tiz The Law.
Jockey John Velazquez rides Authentic across the finish line, ahead of jockey Manny Franco and Tiz The Law on Saturday.
(Associated Press)

Everything was set up perfectly for the coronation of Tiz The Law. He had been training great. He showed he could go 1¼ miles by easily winning the Travers Stakes. All he had to do was show up and run his race.

He did both of those, but it wasn’t enough.

Triple Crown talk was rampant before Saturday’s running of the Kentucky Derby. His dominating wins in the Belmont Stakes and Travers left no questions to answer. But on Saturday, trainer Bob Baffert’s Authentic was just a better horse.

“Baffert’s hard to beat,” said Barclay Tagg, Tiz The Law’s trainer. “I thought [Tiz The Law] would [get there] because he usually moves away from them. What can you do? It’s a horse race. … He ran a good race [Saturday]. He got beat.”

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Tiz The Law became a feel-good story, Part 2. Seventeen years ago, Tagg and a ragtag ownership group of New Yorkers called Sackatoga Stable took a longshot named Funny Cide to the Kentucky Derby and won. Since Funny Cide, the group has had no graded stakes winners until Tiz The Law.

Back then, their signature was to show up in a yellow school bus, shattering the norms of blue bloods that often control the sport. This year, they did the same but with two buses, social-distancing rules in place.

Jack Knowlton, operating partner of Sackatoga, is the only person left from 17 years ago.

“We had a whole new group of people, their first experience in the Kentucky Derby,” Knowlton said. “Even though it didn’t turn out the way we hoped it would, certainly no shame in the way he ran. He’ll be back. Hopefully he’ll come out of the race well and we’ll look to go onto Baltimore [for the Preakness] and hopefully win and get some revenge.”

Mean Sophia, 3-year-old filly trained by Peter Miller, suffered a fractured leg at the start of the seventh race.

Knowlton was full of praise for the job Baffert did with Authentic.

“I didn’t think he was going to be the winner,” Knowlton said. “I talked to him the other day and he certainly was full of praise for our horse. But Bob, he’s got the magic touch. He had his horse ready at the right time and he beat us [Saturday]. Hopefully, we’ll get some more shots at him and we’ll turn the tables on him.”

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Drop in Derby wagering

This year’s Kentucky Derby suffered a massive drop in betting compared with last year. The all-sources handle on the Kentucky Derby race declined from $165.5 million to $79.4 million, or a decrease of 52%. The entire card showed similar declines with the all-sources handle dropping from $250.9 million to $126.0 million, or a decline of about 49.8%.

The track attributed the decline to the loss of on-track wagering, fewer horses running in the races and the presence of a prohibitive favorite in Tiz The Law. The change of dates, no doubt, also played a factor.


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