The four-month wait is nearly over, with a field of 18 entered for Saturday’s $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) led by Tiz the Law, who was installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite.
Belmont Stakes (G1) and Travers (G1) winner Tiz the Law landed in Louisville on Tuesday morning, shortly after the announcement came that one of his main rivals, Art Collector developed a minor foot issue and will miss the race.
“He grabbed himself yesterday morning training,” trainer Tommy Drury said. “It was still very sensitive this morning. When I took my thumbs to palpate the bulbs of his heels, you could still tell it was pinching him. I had to make a choice. Your horse has to always come first. To run in a race of this caliber and trying to compete against the best 3-year-olds in this country, you’ve got to be 110 percent.”
Art Collector won the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and the Ellis Park Derby and likely would have been either the second or third choice in the race.
Tiz Draws 17 Post
The Barclay Tagg trained Tiz the Law drew the 17 post, with only third choice Authentic (8-1) to his outside. Just to his inside is Honor A.P. in the 16 post, the John Shirreffs trainee the 5-1 second choice on the morning line.
“I like being on the outside, I didn’t particularly want to be out that far but he seems to handle everything that’s thrown at him so we’ll just have to leave it up to him,” Tagg said. “It gives you a chance, if you have any speed at all, it gives you a chance to get a better position.”
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If the colt goes off at his 3-5 morning line he would be the shortest price Derby favorite since Native Dancer in 1953.
Arazi was sent off at 9-10 in 1992 and several horses have gone off at 4-5 including the entry of Easy Goer and Awe Inspiring in 1989.
Tagg saddled 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, who went on to win the Preakness Stakes (G1) only to come up short in his Triple Crown bid with a third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes.
Baffert Looks for Sixth Derby
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is seeking to tie Ben Jones for the most wins in the race at six. Baffert will send out Haskell Invitational (G1) winner Authentic and Shared Belief winner Thousand Words (15-1).
Back in March Baffert had three of the four favorites in early Kentucky Derby wagering with Nadal, Charlatan and Authentic. However, Nadal was retired with an injury and Charlatan is still on the sidelines after a minor ankle issue back in June.
Tiz the Law only faces two foes he beat in the Belmont Stakes, Max Player (30-1) who was third and Sole Volante (30-1) who ran sixth.
Saturday’s card at Churchill Downs includes 14 races which include six stakes. First post is 11:00am ET.