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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL — We think Tiz the Law could be on his way to true greatness, and we don’t toss around the ‘G’ word lightly. If our best assessment has any validity, it must begin Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

The 69th Florida Derby is a tough, very competitive race with, to our count, seven viable contenders. Tiz the Law is nicely drawn and contested-pace dynamics favor his style. On paper at least, there will be no excuses.

Here, then, a thumbnail sketch of the entire field, listed in post position order with early line odds:

1-AS SEEN ON TV 12-1 PACO LOPEZ: His third in the Fountain of Youth is better than it appears. He broke out of hand, was checked, recovered, showed rated speed between horses almost all the way, battling very gamely to save show. Has strong workline since; best value on early line.

2-SHIVAREE 30-1 EMISAEL JARAMILLO: Not sure what he’s doing in here or if he even belongs. Coming from five straight sprints means he’s a speed factor. So why the blinkers off, which suggests rating? I’m confused.

3-DISC JOCKEY 20-1 TYLER GAFFALIONE: Has an excellent Thoro-Graph pattern and has super-owner, super-trainer connections. A great claim for $35,000, attracts Tyler and has a favorable draw, but a very tough spot for two-turn debut.

4-SOROS 30-1 EDGAR PRADO: Cross-entered in allowance race today, the most probable–and wiser–option for making season’s debut.

5-GOUVERNEUR MORRIS 8-1 JOHN VELAZQUEZ: Counter-intuitively, he appears heavy headed yet he’s athletic. Tampa Bay prep used successful by Todd, seeking his sixth Florida Derby victory, his prep was 2/100’s off the track record. Likely mid-pack runner here would benefit greatly from a contested pace.

6-AJAAWEED 20-1 LUIS SAEZ: Slower figures–though his Remsen was competitive–and he’s a deep closer in a big field; never easy, especially at Gulfstream. Added ground helps and he attracts leading rider Luis Saez. Sentimental choice as this is Kiaran’s Grade 1 stakes swansong. Would complete my superfecta–or trifecta, given complete pace meltdown.

7-TIZ THE LAW 6-5 MANNY FRANCO: Has the turn of foot of a turf horse, electric when he turns it on. A sharp breaker, overcomes trouble but had multiple excuses in only loss. Ran fastest prep in 2020 thus far. Can be too keen, dragging rider into contention too early and he still shows greenness, bearing in after passing stretch rivals. His best effort wins with authority.

8-MY FIRST GRAMMY 50-1 HECTOR BERRIOS: Over/Under is 100-1 ante post.

9-INDEPENDENCE HALL 9-2 JOEL ROSARIO: Upon further review, first defeat in two-turn debut better than it looks: Too fresh, Jose Ortiz had him bent in half chasing dueling leaders, and had to go from pull to drive mid-turn as Solo Volante was under full head of steam. Hung with winner until near sixteenth pole before tiring, galloping out past wire as if short of top condition. Ready to peak. Reunites with Rosario, who broke colt’s maiden on debut.

10-CANDY TYCOON 20-1 JAVIER CASTELLANO: At posting, do not know who will sub for Javier. Late developing Toddster was covered up saving ground throughout Fountain of Youth, angling widest and had clear run down the middle behind a blowout winner. He’s more tactical than that and will like added ground. Appears just this side of prime time at the moment.

11-SASSY BUT SMART 50-1 JOE BRAVO …And overmatched.

12-ETE INDIEN 4-1 FLORENT GEROUX: Draw killed him but then he won Fountain of Youth from extreme outside #10, earning third straight triple-figure BRIS rating. A speed horse who can rate, he possesses gears. Patrick Biancone rejuvenated and love his signature turf training–especially 7/8s in 1:23 1/5–and his dirt blowout coming into this. Flo is on a complete roll and the colt has all the pedigree you’d want. Is he really as good as his last race? Find out today.

AE: ROGUE ELEMENT: At posting, it is unknown whether or not trainer Dale Romans would accept the wide-draw assignment.

Tomorrow: Final thoughts on how to best play the race, a tremendous contest.

Worth Repeating: Forty-four Florida Derby starters have won 59 Triple Crown races: Those 44 have won the Kentucky Derby 24 times; the Preakness on 19 occasions and 16 renewals of the Belmont Stakes.

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19 Responses

  1. Soros is cross-entered in an allowance on Friday so there is a good chance Rogue Element will get in.

    Whether Dale wants to get in and start from the impossible 12 post is another story.

      1. Dale had terrible luck with the draw on Saturday – his very promising filly, Four Grands, got post 13 in the Oaks …as an AE. It stinks because I wanted to see how she fit off of her terrific debut. Rogue Element ? I love all Honor Codes, but I’d rather see him break his maiden first.

        I love Tiz the Law, but it’s so early to say he or any horse could be great after three starts.

        1. I agree Betsy, just my best guess, but he shows unusual toughness, athleticism, and turn of foot; has the elements of potential greatness. It’s up to him to check all the boxes…

          1. He’s very talented – I hope he stays healthy, John! I doubted him after the KY Jockey Club, but he bounced back like a champ!

            FYI, it looks like Alajaweed will be scratched as Hennig said he was full today, so if Romans is inclined to take a shot, he’ll likely get it. I don’t know where else trainers can take their horses except to CA, so he might as well.

  2. The Governor of Trump’s state announced today that he thinks a “shelter in place” order is inappropriate. INAPPROPRIATE!

    Asshole can’t wait to be the next Milan, the next New York, the next California, the next…

  3. Not sure I understand the question. Speaking personally, if I don’t speak my mind, it starts to chew oat my insides. Life, especially, on March 26, 2020, is stressful enough.

    If it’s a rhetorical question, it doesn’t require an answer.

    If it’s a serious question relative to the world having to live with this scourge, data says that sustained periods of isolation works. Thus far, your county has been spared, not so Broward. I’m very concerned about the health of my wife, myself, and our good friend and 96-year-old neighbor who lives directly above.

    Then, again, according to the Lt. Gov. of Texas, she, and we, are expendable because our deaths can help save the greatest economy there ever was in the history of the world.

    By the way, that neighbor? She was born in France, taught at NOVA Southeastern, she speaks three languages, and has been an American citizen since the 1950s. She survived WW II, so now she can die to save the Dow Jones Average?

    Was this helpful?

    That was rhetorical.

  4. I’m not getting into this.

    In actual racing news, Javier Castellano has tested positive for the virus. What this does to the Florida Derby is being chewed upon now.

  5. TTT

    Nice weather we’ve been having wouldn’t you say? Top Turf Teddy loves a beautiful bone-dry track, and so do the horses and jockeys. Love this time of year; the daffodils and Robin Red Breast. The 3-year olds all giving hints as to who they are. Will miss the Run for the Roses profusely, but life goes on.

    Don’t eat the yellow snow and you will survive.



  6. Slightly off message but important: there was speculation earlier this week that Aqueduct might reopen soon.

    The Big A is one of the sites commandeered as a potential emergency hospital site.

    So much for that, although with the situation in NY getting worse, I doubt the Big A would have reopened soon anyway.

  7. John, Attached is a recording of a June 2019 conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci on a return visit at Regis High School in Manhattan last year. If any consolation to your fears, know that Lincoln’s Better Angels are with us on this one John. They had better be. Suspect you may have even encountered “Tony” Fauci back in your CHSAA days. He was the Captain of the Regis basketball team and only has a year or two on you.

    At the very least, any parent or grandparent should listen to his words. Brilliant, humble and filled with compassion.

    1. Emblematic of absolutely nothing, Regis was the first school I tested for and able to gain admission, think tuition back in the day was $25 per semester. I did well testing for high schools out of grammar school; the last time I went 7-for-7 doing anything.

      I opted for Bishop Loughlin, of course; easier commute–17 stops on the GG local from 74th Street Jackson Heights (took the #7 IRT to get there), and the scholarship saved my parents a few bucks twice a year. To say that times were simpler…

  8. Regis was a full scholarship school with a separate qualifying test.

    I know. I took it and got in.

    Can’t fault JP’s decision. It would have been a mother to get back and forth from Queens to 85th and Lexington every day. I lived in northern Manhattan and I had to take two trains and a bus each way.

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