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Kentucky colonel: Tiz the Law

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Sep 4, 2020

Jockey Manny Franco rides Tiz the Law across the finish line, winning the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 20. Associated Press photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — In Kentucky, all is right with the world.

From Paducah to Middlesboro and from Covington to Harlan County, the state’s populace is properly agog because the near-earthquake events that moved the Kentucky Derby on the calendar from the first Saturday in May to the first Saturday in September has finally arrived.

Only about 23,000 of the usual 150,000 people that normally attend will be allowed in to see the state’s largest fashion show. The sprouting of fancy hats, spending of accumulated wealth and gulping down of the finest bourbons are now at hand — coronavirus or not.

And so is Tiz the Law, prohibitive favorite among this year’s three-year-old crop. Tiz the Law and steady-as-they-go trainer Barclay Tagg have now strung together four consecutive powerful performances in winning the Holy Bull and Florida Derby, before departing the Sunshine State to rollick through the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes in New York state.

The wide white blaze running the length of his head has become recognizable as a sure sign of equine dominance this year.

He’s the only thoroughbred that can win the 2020 Triple Crown. Because of that, Tiz the Law has become the favorite of many folks wanting to see the short-lived excitement of a chase for racing’s most treasured glory.

If the fickle weather holds with sun and a dry racing surface, there will probably be a full field of 20 or nearly that many. Even though the Kentucky Derby is not the first leg of the annual Triple Crown series here in 2020, it is still the most cherished race in the hearts and minds of many owners and trainers.

Gravel-voiced bettors with a squinting eye busily searching for a score at the mutual windows might throw down their money on Authentic or Art Collector and team one of them in an exacta wager with Honor A.P., Ny Traffic, King Guillermo, Dr. Post, Sole Volante or Thousand Words, but the once-a-year viewer of thoroughbred racing will probably cling to Tiz the Law and his Triple Crown chances.

A muddy path for the 10 furlongs could scramble plans for some, including Tiz the Law. The cavalry charge leaving the starting gate often sees the thoroughbreds bump and grind their way toward the lead and then the first turn. The Churchill Downs home stretch is one of the longest in all of North American racing. And only a scant few of these entries have ever run 10 furlongs.

But tomorrow they will give it a go. Bringing smiles to finely coiffed women and men in top hats or seer-sucker suits and bow ties.

Tiz the Law and jockey Manny Franco will be the main topics of genteel conversation in many of the $1,400 seats. Mint juleps will be spilt in hushed shock if he doesn’t win.

But the so-called “fastest two minutes in all of sport” will likely be completed with Tiz the Law still on the lips of those thinking about the Preakness Stakes looming ahead in Baltimore on Oct. 3.