Tiz the Law Carries New York Banner Into Kentucky Derby
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt

By Frank Angst

For Tiz the Law's Kentucky-based breeder, Twin Creeks Farm, supporting the New York-bred program makes perfect sense as it stands stallions Mission Impazible and Destin at Sequel Stallions New York. Twin Creeks' Randy Gullatt said it has about half of its 20 mares in New York's nonresident mare program, which requires mares to foal in New York state, remain there for 90 days after foaling, and be bred back to a registered New York stallion. Tiz the Law is a son of leading second-crop sire Constitution  who stands at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky. Out of the Tiznow mare Tizfiz, Tiz the Law was foaled at Sequel New York and raised at Twin Creeks Farm near Nonesuch, Ky.

 "We're trying to take advantage of the resources of being raised in Kentucky like Tiz the Law was," Gullatt said. "He was able to be foaled in New York, and then the mare was bred back to Mission Impazible and they both came back to Kentucky. It allows us to take advantage of a great program in New York and support our stallions." 


As Jeff Cannizzo sees it, having New York-bred Tiz the Law as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) figures to bring some great exposure—helping the general public understand that breeding is an economic driver in the Empire State.

Sackatoga Stable's Tiz the Law already has captured a classic in the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) as well as grade 1 scores in the Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) and Curlin Florida Derby (G1) this year, but now he enters racing's biggest stage in terms of public exposure: the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Cannizzo, the executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, notes that 2020 is a much different atmosphere than 2003 when Funny Cide made headlines as the first New York-bred to win the Derby. Since that time, New York-breds have become regular competitors in the nation's biggest races. They boast a trio of Breeders' Cup wins: London Bridge in the 2013 Marathon (G2), Dayatthespa in the 2014 Filly & Mare Turf (G1T), and Bar of Gold in the 2017 Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

Because of that success, Cannizzo doesn't expect a dramatic bump in industry awareness of the New York-bred program—it's high already—but he does think the attention could help casual fans find out more about the industry's importance in New York.

"From my perspective, if you're in the industry and you're invested and you're involved and you don't know what New York's landscape is now in 2020? You probably don't know there's a pandemic going on," Cannizzo said. "The buzz or news is for the local upstate New York person with zero industry awareness who watches the Derby and says, 'Hey, that horse was born in New York state and he's won the Belmont and the Travers and he's the Derby favorite.' That's big.

"It's more the casual fan or general public primarily that will see what's going on with Tiz the Law."

Cannizzo said that will be an important audience to reach as Tiz the Law helps fans have a better understanding of the industry in New York and the quality horses being bred there. 

"It's a positive for people who are not exposed to the sport to see this positive story in the form of this top horse," Cannizzo said.

 Tiz the Law also has generated positive buzz for New York-breds at auction. In 2018 he was purchased for $110,000 by Jack Knowlton from consignor Sequel New York at the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearlings Sale in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

In the upside down year that is 2020, both racing and auction schedules have been affected. The Derby will be run four days before New York-breds, cataloged as Hips 1-164, begin the two-day Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase in Lexington. Also, the opening session of the two-day Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearlings Sale Oct. 5-6 will see a group of New York-breds offered as Hips 1-154.

Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning Jr. welcomes the timing of the Derby to the sales and would love nothing more than to see graduate Tiz the Law add some Derby buzz to the mix for this year. 

"It's obviously very fortunate to have a graduate like Tiz the Law, but I think what it really continues to do is validate and demonstrate the quality of the New York-bred program and the types of horses that are now participating in that program," Browning said. "It shows that you can compete at the highest levels—as we've seen with a number of other New York-breds. But it's certainly exciting to have a horse of his caliber—a horse that has been brilliant in his performances thus far."

Tiz the Law is not the only New York-bred in the field as the fiercely competitive Ny Traffic punched his ticket with placings in four graded stakes this season, including a runner-up finish in the TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park. A son of Cross Traffic Mamie Reilly, by Graeme Hall, Ny Traffic was bred by Brian Culnan.

Cannizzo notes that New York-breds hold down two of the top five spots in terms of Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with Tiz the Law first and Ny Traffic fifth. They will each try to become the second New York-bred to win the Derby.


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