by Jeremy Plonk
August 10, 2020
Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.
August 3-9, 2020
MVP: Tiz the Law
Owner: Sackatoga Stable
Trainer: Barclay Tagg
Jockey: Manny Franco
Performance: The odds-on favorite left no doubt who was best in the Aug. 8 Grade 1 $1 million Travers. Jockey Manny Franco sent him after pacesetting Uncle Chuck midway down the backstretch, put that one away in upper stretch and coasted home by a widening, 5-1/2 length margin. Tiz the Law stopped the clock for one mile and one-quarter in 2:00.95, one of the five-fastest Travers editions ever. It was the fourth straight win on the campaign, adding to his Grade 1 scores in the Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes. Tiz the Law became the first horse since Summer Bird in 2009 to win the Belmont and Travers.
On Tap: Tiz the Law heads to the Kentucky Derby as likely the heaviest favorite since Arazi was 4-5 in 1992. Depending on the result there, he could continue on to October’s Preakness with a chance at a Triple Crown sweep, or a potential date in November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. All three races remain on the table for what could be a remarkable, single-season resume.
Honorable Mentions: Also at Saratoga, Serengeti Empress outlasted blistering early fractions for a memorable, front-end score in the Aug. 8 Grade 1 Ballerina over Bellafina. Most any other week, this could take top billing, and arguably still could. Gamine blew away the Grade 1 Test Stakes field on Aug. 8 at Saratoga by 7 lengths in a sizzling 1:20.83 for 7 furlongs. Meanwhile, Jackie’s Warrior ran away with the Aug. 7 Grade 2 Saratoga Special for Steve Asmussen, stamping himself as the east’s top 2-year-old to date with 6 furlongs in 1:09.62. Art Collector solidified himself as a top 2-3 contender for the Kentucky Derby with his wire-to-wire romp in the Aug. 9 Ellis Park Derby.