Tiz the Law a strong favorite in eight-horse Travers

Aug 05, 2020 Vance Hanson/Brisnet.com

Tiz the Law has been made the even-money favorite for Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, the 1 1/4-mile 'Midsummer Derby' which for the first time serves as a prep for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby (G1).

The once-beaten Tiz the Law has been dominant in all three starts this year, winning the Belmont S. (G1), Florida Derby (G1), and Holy Bull (G3), and aims to become the latest New York-bred to win Saratoga's signature event while tackling 10 furlongs for the first time.

'He's done everything we've asked him to do,' trainer Barclay Tagg said. 'We've been very fortunate. I don't think any distance makes a difference for this horse. From what I've seen, I just don't have any feeling that he can't handle it.'

The firm Kentucky Derby favorite for several months, Tiz the Law is in no need of any of the 100-40-20-10 Derby points distribution the Travers offers to make the Churchill starting gate. However, 5-2 morning line second choice Uncle Chuck enters the Travers 2-for-2 but with a mere 20 qualifying points, courtesy of his impressive victory in the Los Alamitos Derby (G3) over stablemate Thousand Words.

'He's been training well, and I thought he deserves a chance to run in it,' said trainer Bob Baffert, who's won the Travers with West Coast (2017) and Arrogate (2016) in recent years. 'He's only had two races, but they were pretty impressive.

'The talent is there, he's just still figuring it out and putting it together. He's still a little green, but I thought the mile and a quarter might be good for him. He's got a big, long stride. He's got speed, so as long as he gets in a nice, relaxed rhythm we'll see how he handles the mile and a quarter. You've got a horse like Tiz the Law in there, and he scared a lot of them away.'

Max Player, third to Tiz the Law in the June 20 Belmont in his lone start since taking the 9-furlong Withers (G3) at Aqueduct on Feb. 1, should appreciate the return to two turns, while Country Grammer looks to progress off a narrow victory in last month's Peter Pan (G3) at Saratoga.

Caracaro finished only a neck behind Country Grammer in the Peter Pan in what was only his third career outing, while South Bend was a narrowly-beaten second in the Ohio Derby (G3) when last seen. However, he's more exposed in comparison to Caracaro. Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Shivaree could be a part of the pace, while recent maiden winner First Line is in deep.

The Travers can be watched and wagered on at TwinSpires.com.

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