SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Belmont winner Tiz the Law won the $1 million Travers Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths at Saratoga, and heads to Kentucky for next month’s Derby as the probable favorite.
Ridden by Manny Franco, Tiz the Law ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.65 on Saturday without fans in the grandstand during what is usually the Spa’s biggest day of the summer. He paid $3, $2.40 and $2.10.
The 3-year-old colt remains undefeated this year with four straight graded stakes victories for 82-year-old trainer Barclay Tagg.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve always wanted to win the Travers,” Tagg said. “This has been in my head my whole life. And now it happened so it couldn’t be better.”
Tiz the Law became the first New York-bred in 138 years to win the Belmont Stakes on June 20 in the first leg of the rescheduled Triple Crown series. He began his racing career at Saratoga last summer and has six wins in seven starts.
“We saw a performance today that just blows me away,” said Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga Stable. “We know we had a nice horse. We thought we had the best horse. To do what he did today, we’re looking forward to going to Kentucky now.”
Knowlton was part of the ownership group cheering on Tiz the Law by the fence near the finish line. Wearing masks, the group high-fived but didn’t pay much heed to the sign advising people to keep their distance.
“I wish there were 50,000-plus people here to see this performance live,” he said.
The Travers victory gave Tiz the Law 100 points in qualifying for the Kentucky Derby and he continues atop the leaderboard with 372.
Caracaro returned $6.40 and $4. Max Player, third in the Belmont, paid $3.70 to show.
South Bend was fourth, followed by Country Grammer, Bob Baffert-trained Uncle Chuck and Shivaree.
Caracaro earned 40 Derby qualifying points, while Max Player picked up 20 and South Bend earned 10.
Tiz the Law was third in the early going before overtaking leader Uncle Chuck near the quarter pole. Franco sneaked a peek behind him before taking Tiz the Law three horses wide and then two horses wide before straightening into the upper stretch. Tiz the Law geared down near the sixteenth pole and cruised home.
“He gave me chills. When I pressed the button, he just took off,” Franco said.
In the $300,000 Test for 3-year-old fillies, Gamine defeated Venetian Harbor by seven lengths for Baffert. Up in Smoke finished third.
Gamine ran seven furlongs in 1:20.83, equaling the stakes record set by Lady Tak in 2003. She paid $2.60 to win as the odds-on favorite.
Gamine was coming off an 18 3/4-length victory in the Acorn at Belmont Park on June 20. Next up for her is the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks on Sept. 4.
“She’s rising straight to the top,” said Jim Barnes, assistant to Baffert, who remained in California. “For what she’s accomplished so far for such a lightly raced filly, we look forward to stretching her out and see what comes of that.”
Gamine was one of two horses trained by Baffert that tested positive for lidocaine after winning a race at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas on May 2. She was disqualified by the track stewards and stripped of her purse earnings. Baffert received a 15-day suspension that he is appealing.