Sakatoga Stable will be back in the limelight at Churchill Downs for the first time since Funny Cide’s 2003 Kentucky Derby (Grade I) victory. The partnership’s promising 2-year-old colt Tiz the Law finalized his preparation toward next Saturday’s $300,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) with a bullet five-furlong move in :59.60 Saturday morning over Belmont Park’s main track.
“Everything looks good right now,” trainer Barclay Tagg said. “There’s a lot that goes on between now and next week but everything is good right now. He’s an awfully nice colt. He’s interested in life but he’s not silly. He’s all business.”
Tiz the Law, a 2-year-old son of Constitution, will enter the Kentucky Jockey Club undefeated following his four-length score in the $500,000 Champagne (GI) on Oct. 5 at Belmont Park. His connections decided to bypass the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) to target the Jockey Club.
“We had the same situation with Funny Cide (in 2002),” Sakatoga Stables’ managing partner Jack Knowlton said. “Everyone said we had the nicest 2-year-old so send him out to Arlington to run (in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile). Barclay didn’t want to do it. His attitude is if you really want a nice 3-year-old you don’t do too much with them as a 2-year-old. The decision really was about us wanting to do everything we can to get to Churchill the first Saturday in May.”
In last month’s Champagne, Tiz the Law was bottled up in traffic for a majority of the race but once he found clear running at the three-sixteenths pole, he stormed home to a convincing victory under Manny Franco.
“If you look at his two races, he has gotten one incredible education,” Knowlton said. “He mixed it up at Saratoga (in his maiden race), split horses and got dirt in his face. He did the same thing in the Champagne. (Assistant trainer) Robin (Smullen) constantly says nothing seems to faze this horse. In his training one of the things that Barclay does is he puts him behind a couple of horses and lets him get used to getting dirt in his face so he’ll be used to that in the races.
“It was very surprising to be in that spot (in the Champagne). We drew outside, which is typically a very advantageous post. The race unfolded unlike I could have ever imagined. I figured that we’d be able to sit outside of horses and not get too wide going around the turn and just be able to come home. He was in the middle of a mess there for a little while. He had to check so he didn’t clip heels. He is pretty battle tested after two races when a lot of horses haven’t gone through that yet.”
Tiz the Law is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Monday afternoon from New York. Franco is scheduled to ride in the Kentucky Jockey Club.
Entries for the 1 1/16-mile race will take place Wednesday. The following horses are likely to enter, according to Assistant Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator Dan Bork: American Butterfly (trainer D. Wayne Lukas); Fighting Seabee (Kenny McPeek); Mr. Tip (Jack Sisterson); Sir Winsalot (McPeek); and South Bend (Stan Hough). Albaugh Family Stables’ Racing Manager Jason Loutsch reported that impressive debut winner Thousand Words is “50/50” to enter the Jockey Club.
WORK TAB – Horses prepping for next week’s graded stakes bonanza filled the Churchill Downs work tab Saturday morning. The track was harrowed to begin training but was sealed following the 7:30 a.m. renovation break due to rain in the area.
One of the first horses to work Saturday morning was Rupp Racing’s $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (GIII) winner Owendale, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 outside of Blended Citizen. The duo worked through splits of :12.60, :25 and :48.40, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols. Owendale is scheduled to compete in Friday’s $600,000 Clark presented by Norton Healthcare (GI).
Nearly two hours later, G M B Racing’s likely Clark favorite, Tom’s d’Etat, breezed an easy half-mile in :50.60 over a “muddy” surface with jockey Miguel Mena in the irons.
Other horses that recorded published works Saturday (with distance, time and likely next race): Blueridge Traveler (five furlongs, 1:04.60, Clark); Dalika (four furlongs, :50.60, Mrs. Revere); Enforceable (four furlongs, :48.40, Kentucky Jockey Club); Fighting Seabee (five furlongs, 1:02, Kentucky Jockey Club); Hard Legacy (four furlongs, :50.60, Mrs. Revere); Major Cabbie (four furlongs, :49.80, Clark); South Bend (four furlongs, :49, Kentucky Jockey Club); and Stave (five furlongs, 1:02.40, Cardinal).
STAKES PROBABLES – Six graded stakes races worth purses of $1.975 million highlight closing week of the 26-day Fall Meet at Churchill Downs. Below is an early look at known probable entrants to each race, according to Assistant Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator Dan Bork.
Friday, Nov. 29 (entries taken on Sunday)
The $600,000 Clark presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles (with trainer): Bravazo (D. Wayne Lukas); Draft Pick (Peter Eurton); Major Cabbie (Peter Miller); Mr Freeze (Dale Romans); Mr. Buff (John Kimmel); Owendale (Brad Cox); Seeking the Soul (Dallas Stewart); Snapper Sinclair (Steve Asmussen); and Tom’s d’Etat (Al Stall Jr.). Possible: Blueridge Traveler (Kenny McPeek); Forewarned (Uriah St. Lewis); Stan the Man (John Terranova).
The $300,000 Mrs. Revere (GII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf (with trainer): Dalika (GER) (Al Stall Jr.); Nay Lady Nay (IRE) (Chad Brown); New and Improved (Chad Brown); She’sonthewarpath (Steve Margolis); and Winter Sunset (Wayne Catalano).
Saturday, Nov. 24: (entries taken on Wednesday, Nov. 27)
The $300,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles (with trainer): American Butterfly (D. Wayne Lukas); Enforceable (Mark Casse); Fighting Seabee (Kenny McPeek); Mr. Tip (Jack Sisterson); Sir Winsalot (McPeek); South Bend (Stan Hough); and Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg).
The $300,000 Golden Rod (GII) for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles (with trainer): Auberge (Bob Baffert); Bast (Baffert); Bean (Larry Rivelli); His Glory (Tom Amoss); Lady Glamour (Larry Demeritte); and Turtle Trax (Ian Wilkes).
FLIGHT SCHEDULE – Several horses are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs early next week to compete in six graded stakes events worth purses of $1.975 million. There are two planes slated to arrive at Churchill Downs on Monday and Tuesday.
Monday’s plane will be arriving at Churchill Downs from New York in the early afternoon and include (with trainer and race) Mr. Buff (John Kimmel, Clark); Nay Lady Nay (Chad Brown, Mrs. Revere); New and Improved (Brown, Mrs. Revere); and Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg, Kentucky Jockey Club).
After the plane drops off those runners from New York, it is scheduled to fly to California and return in the mid-afternoon hours on Tuesday with trainer Peter Eurton’s Draft Pick on board for the Clark and horses from trainer Bob Baffert’s stable.
Flight schedules remain in flux. Stay tuned this weekend for additional updates.
CHURCHILL DOWNS, FAIR GROUNDS TO OFFER ‘FLEUR DE LIS’ PICK 4 NEXT SATURDAY – For the second consecutive year, Churchill Downs Racetrack and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will team to offer horseplayers a cross-track Pick 4 on Saturday, Nov. 30.
Billed as the “Fleur de Lis Pick 4,” bettors will be required to pick the winners of four races late Saturday afternoon: two races at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La. and two stakes events at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
The minimum wager on the Fleur de Lis Pick 4 is 50 cents. Fair Grounds will serve as host of the wager.
Here’s the sequence for the unique Fleur de Lis Pick 4:
Leg 1: Fair Grounds Race 7 (4:35 p.m. ET)
Leg 2: Churchill Downs Race 9 (4:57 p.m. ET)
Leg 3: Fair Grounds Race 9 (5:35 p.m. ET)
Leg 4: Churchill Downs Race 11 (5:56 p.m. ET)
The second and fourth legs from Churchill Downs are likely to be the Golden Rod and Kentucky Jockey Club, while the Richie Scherer Memorial Stakes is likely to be the third leg from Fair Grounds.
The Fleur de Lis is a symbol that is deeply ingrained in the history of both Louisville and New Orleans and has traditionally been used to represent French royalty. The English translation for the French “fleur-de-lis” is flower of the lily.
DOWN THE STRETCH – With early morning rain showers in the Louisville are that are scheduled to continue the rest of the afternoon, there will be no turf racing on Saturday at Churchill Downs. The track was rated “sloppy” for the start of racing. … There was a $171,745 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot for racing on Saturday. First post was 1 p.m. and the Single 6 spanned Races 6-11. … The results of Saturday morning’s Cattleya Sho from Tokyo Racecourse, which kicked off the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby: 1st Dieu du Vin (JPN) (10 points); 2nd Shonan Mario (JPN) (4); 3rd Daimei Corrida (JPN) (2); and 4th Aurora Tesoro (1). … Closing week of the Fall Meet at Churchill Downs will have 12 races Thursday-Sunday. Wednesday’s card has 10. First post will be 1 p.m. with the exception of Thanksgiving where the first race is 11:30 a.m. … Every Sunday throughout the Fall Meet there is a “Stakes and Eggs” brunch special ($48 for adults and $25 for children) in the Stakes Room.