Kentucky Derby Report (6-25-20)

Tiz the Law maintained his status as a top tier Kentucky Derby 2020 contender after winning his third graded route of the year in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 20.

Kentucky Derby Points Race Recaps

Belmont Stakes (G1) Recap (6-20-20) – Winner: Tiz the Law ($3.60)


Tap It To Win went straight to the front from the rail as expected, and he was about a length ahead of Fore Left through six panels in 1:09.94. Tiz the Law was in a perfect spot behind the aforementioned duo, and pushed right on by to score by an easy 3-3/4 lengths under Manny Franco. My value top choice Dr Post stalked wide from midpack and finished a good 2nd, and my live longshot Max Player showed nice energy in the stretch to finish a solid 3rd. Pneumatic stalked wide from the outside post and worked his way up to 3rd in the stretch, but flattened out and was well clear of the rest in 4th. Tap It To Win steadily faded in the stretch and held 5th over Sole Volante. I always thought the latter was better on turf and still do. Modernist was a flat 7th and Farmington Road never got involved in 8th. Fore Left weakened to 9th and Jungle Runner trailed. I have nothing against the winner. He always seems to put himself in a winning tactical spot, and has not really been challenged in his three stakes wins this year. The main concern is the speed figures. He has not gotten any faster since his Feb. 1 Holy Bull victory. That has not been a problem yet, but could be as he faces deeper fields in the coming months.

Hot Prospects: Art Collector (Bernardini – Distorted Legacy, by Distorted Humor)

Art Collector was razor sharp in both 2020 starts at Churchill Downs. He rallied to an easy triumph at seven panels May 17, and stretched out and rolled to a facile front running victory over three opponents June 13. I am not ready to call him a Derby contender yet, but he deserves a shot in a points race after his last pair. The Indiana Derby on July 8 might be next.

Kentucky Derby 2020 News

Another injury knocked out one of my original “exceptional 11” members. Gouverneur Morris is off the Derby trail after being diagnosed with colitis. He will be sidelined a couple of months.

Kentucky Derby Top 25 Points Leaders (thru Belmont Stakes 6-20-20)

272 Points: Tiz the Law

120 Points: Honor A. P.

100 Points: Authentic

90 Points: King Guillermo

74 Points: Ete Indien

70 Points: Modernist, Ny Traffic

60 Points: Dr Post

50 Points: Basin, Mischevious Alex

40 Points: Max Player, Shivaree

33 Points: Enforceable

32 Points: Storm the Court

30 Points: Major Fed, Sole Volante

25 Points: Finnick the Fierce, Pneumatic, Thousand Words

22 Points: Anneau d’Or

20 Points: Candy Tycoon, Excession, Untitled

19 Points: Shotski

15 Points: Attachment Rate, Farmington Road

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Updated Kentucky Derby 2020 Points Race Schedule

Ohio Derby (20-8-4-2) – June 27
Los Alamitos Derby (20-8-4-2) – July 4
Indiana Derby (20-8-4-2) – July 8
Blue Grass Stakes (100-40-20-10) – July 11
Peter Pan (50-20-10-5) – July 16
Haskell Stakes (50-20-10-5) – July 18
Shared Belief (100-40-20-10) – August 1
Travers (100-40-20-10) – August 8
Ellis Park Derby (50-20-10-5) – August 9
Pegasus (20-8-4-2) – August 15

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Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2020 Contenders (6-25-20)

(1)  HONOR A. P. (Honor Code – Hollywood Story, by Wild Rush) – Previous Ranking (#1)

Trainer (John Shirreffs) – Owner (C R K Stable LLC)

Latest Workout: 4f bullet in 47.20 (1/38) at Santa Anita Park on June 24.

Comments: Came out of his impressive SA Derby victory in fine order, and I really like that bullet move on June 24. He is getting stronger as the year progresses, and it looks like his next start will come in the Shared Belief Stakes at 8.5f at Del Mar on Aug. 1. He is the fastest sophomore male at this stage, and more improvement is expected.

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(2) TIZ THE LAW (Constitution – Tizfiz, by Tiznow) – Previous Ranking (#3)

Trainer (Barclay Tagg) – Owner (Sackatoga Stable)

Comments: Injuries really depleted the Belmont Stakes, and Tiz the Law took fully advantage as the strong favorite. He did what he always does from a running style standpoint, and his tactical speed frequently puts him in the right spot. The Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 8 is his next assignment.

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(3) AUTHENTIC (Into Mischief – Flawless, by Mr. Greeley) – Previous Ranking (#2)

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stable)

Latest Workout: 4f in 49.00 (22/60) at Santa Anita Park June 22.

Comments: His cruising speed is his main asset, and he did not have the best start when losing for the first time in the SA Derby. The main concern is stamina. I don’t think he can beat Honor A. P. at a mile and an eighth or longer. The Haskell at Monmouth is probably his next start, and Baffert owns that race. His speed should play well in New Jersey.

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(4) DR POST (Quality Road – Mary Delaney, by Hennessy) – Previous Ranking (#9)

dr post kentucky derby past performances


Trainer (Todd Pletcher) – Owner (St. Elias Stable)

Comments: He is definitely on the right path. He captured a pair of starts at Gulfstream Park this year including the Unbridled Stakes April 25, and came back and finished a fine 2nd in the Belmont Stakes. There is room to develop, and it looks like the Travers or Haskell next.

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(5) MAX PLAYER (Honor Code – Fools in Love, by Not for Love)  Previous Ranking (#4)

max player kentucky derby past performances


Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (George E. Hall)

Comments: He made his stakes debut in the Withers (G3) at a mile and an eighth at the Big A Feb. 1, and he raced wide throughout and came running down the stretch to score by a rather easy 3-1/4 lengths. He rallied down the middle to garner the show in the Belmont Stakes, and he is lightly raced and on the improve. He seems to have plenty of stamina, and a race like the Travers makes sense.

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(6) KING GUILLERMO (Uncle Mo – Slow Sand, by Dixieland Band) – – Previous Ranking (#5)

Trainer (Juan Carlos Avila) – Owner (Victoria’s Ranch)

Comments: There is just not much to say about this one. He does not run often and has not had a published work since his runner-up finish in the second division of the Arkansas Derby (G1). I like his early-pressing speed and he tries hard throughout. His next start in undecided. They have been patient with him to say the least, and they are clearly in no hurry to run him again. They may or may not train him up to the Kentucky Derby.   

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(7) CEZANNE (Curlin – Achieving, by Bernardini) –  Previous Ranking (#12)

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Magnier, Smith, Tabor, and St. Elias Stable)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:01.80 (19/27) at Santa Anita Park on June 27.

Comments: They paid $3.65 million for this one, and he hit the ground running in his dirt sprint debut at Santa Anita on June 6. He was not quick out of the gate, but was right up on the pace and got stronger as the race wore on. He should continue to develop and figures to appreciate two turns. We will learn more about him and if the hype is justified in the coming weeks and months.    

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(8) RUSHIE (Liam’s Map – Conquest Angel, by Colonel John) –  Previous Ranking (#16)

Trainer (Michael McCarthy) – Owner (Jim and Donna Daniell)

Latest Workout: 4f in 47.00 (1/53) at Santa Anita Park on June 20.

Comments: Followed up a game optional claiming route victory at Oaklawn with a solid show finish in the SA Derby. I am not sure what is next, but I like his early-pressing versatility, and it looks like he is making steady progress.   

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(9) ENFORCEABLE (Tapit – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union) –  Previous Ranking (#17)

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (John C. Oxley)

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in 59.00 (1/4) from the gate at Casse Training Center on June 19.

Comments: Has plenty of stakes experience with a win in the LeComte, a 2nd in the Risen Star, and a 3rd in the Breeders’ Futurity. He has not run since a flat 5th in the paceless Louisiana Derby. I liked him as a juvenile and earlier this year, and we will find out if he has more to offer in the near future.

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(10) SOLE VOLANTE (Karakontie – Light Blow, by Kingmambo) –  Previous Ranking (#10)

sole volante kentucky derby past performances


Trainer (Patrick Biancone) – Owner (Reeves Thoroughbred Racing)

Comments: He finished out of the trifecta for the first time in the Belmont Stakes. Maybe it was the quick turnaround or the speed favoring surface. Either way, he never got involved, and I will just draw a line through that one. I like his late kick and he showed his class in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay earlier this year. I still think he is better on turf.      

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(11) TAP IT TO WIN (Speightstown, by Authenticity, by Quiet American) – Previous Ranking (#11)

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (Live Oak Plantation)

Comments: He finished unplaced in his third stakes in as many tries in the Belmont. He set the pace and came up empty in the stretch in a 5th place finish. Before that, he reappeared with an optional claiming score at Gulfstream May 9, and dusted allowance foes at Belmont Park June 4. The quick turnaround may have been his undoing in the Belmont, or he is just not stakes quality. I still think he has some talent, and if he can get out there and get to the front, he could be dangerous in a future stakes race.

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THE NEXT NINE: (12) Basin, (13) Pneumatic, (14) Ny Traffic, (15) Modernist, (16) Farmington Road, (17) Thousand Words, (18) Storm the Court, (19) Uncle Chuck, (20) Art Collector