Photo: Coady Photography
Moving forward on the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail, Tiz the Law may still prove to be the best horse in the Grade 2, $300,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. But he received far from the best trip when upset Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Absent room to run until late, Tiz the Law watched Silver Prospector fly by to score a 7-1 upset over a sloppy track and earn 10 qualifying points toward next year’s Derby.
Silver Prospector, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., gave those connections a sweep of Saturday’s preps under the Twin Spires, as two races earlier they teamed to win the Golden Rod (G2) for 2-year-old fillies with Finite.
A $190,000 yearling for owners Susie and Ed Orr, Silver Prospector entered off a third in the local Street Sense Stakes. Two back, he broke his maiden at Keeneland, and to open his career he made three starts on turf.
“He ran really well today,” Asmussen said. “The Street Sense was third, but it was back off a very fast maiden race. It think the spacing between the Street Sense and this worked out to his advantage.”
It wasn’t, however, the type of resume expected to beat Tiz the Law, the Champagne Stakes (G1) hero who bypassed the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for this spot. It was to be shades of fellow New York-bred Funny Cide, who took the same Sackatoga Stable partnership to a 2003 Derby victory.
And Tiz the Law may still accomplish that goal. But when 80-1 shot New Eagle got away to the lead Saturday, then crossed over Tiz the Law into the first turn, his fate was sealed in a first two-turn prep toward the bigger jockey.
“Well, it’s disappointing it’s not our day today,” said Jack Knowlton, Sackatoga’s managing partner. “We sent him down here to get a run over the track and we got into some trouble in the race. Hopefully we can move forward out of this and we’ll figure out a plan for what can be next.”
Jockey Manny Franco never could find Tiz the Law enough room to run, as he finally nudged between New Eagle and South Bend in deep stretch. By then, however, Silver Prospector had already received first run on them with a cleaner, outside trip.
“I thought Ricardo gave him a great trip,” Asmussen said of Silver Prospector. “He was a little farther back than we expected, but the horse has been training nice. I thought it was the strongest he’s looked and very proud of him how he fought to the wire.”
Finnick The Fierce, another 80-1 shot, closed down the center of the track to nip Tiz the Law for second. Enforecable ran fourth in a Kentucky Jockey Club field of eight.
Tiz the Law’s defeat also carries championship implications, as now horses such as Storm the Court, Maxfield and he have won Grade 1 races at age 2, but none have backed them up with a second stakes score ahead of Eclipse Award voting.