Kentucky Derby Top 10: Tiz the Law returns to the top
Keeler Johnson shares his weekly list of Top 10 contenders for the 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1).
1. Tiz the Law
There’s no doubt about it now — Tiz the Law is going to be an overwhelming favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, after a dominating Travers (G1) victory.
He clearly relished the 1 1/4-mile distance and powered clear down the stretch to win by 5 1/2 lengths in 2:00.95, the second-fastest Travers in the last 30 years.
Tiz the Law’s quick time produced a massive 115 Brisnet Speed rating, so any way you slice it, Tiz the Law will be tough to beat at Churchill Downs.
2. Honor A. P.
He wasted no time to return to the Del Mar work tab.
Honor A. P. clocked 3 furlongs in :37.80, just one week after he finished second in the Shared Belief S.
He took things easy between the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and the Shared Belief, so a stiff series of workouts will be important to ensure Honor A. P. is fit and ready for a peak effort on Derby Day.
3. Art Collector
He reiterated his ranking as an elite Kentucky Derby contender with an easy, 3 1/4-length victory in the Ellis Park Derby.
Sent straight to the lead, Art Collector carved out a quick pace but still had plenty left for the homestretch, where he pulled clear effortlessly to post a 102 Brisnet Speed rating.
With three straight triple-digit ratings under his belt, Art Collector ranks as one of the fastest horses in the prospective Derby field.
This versatile son of Uncle Mo rallied gamely to finish second in the Travers, and while he was no match for Tiz the Law, he finished well clear of the rest and posted a career-best 109 Brisnet Speed rating.
With just two races during the last six months, Caracaro will enter the Kentucky Derby with plenty of upside for improvement.
This frontrunning colt has been successful when allowed to secure an uncontested lead, but he’ll likely face a different dynamic in the Kentucky Derby.
Art Collector and King Guillermo figure to keep the tempo honest, and Tiz the Law won’t be far behind, either. Learning to relax in the heat of battle could be the key to Authentic ’s Derby chances.
6. King Guillermo
He took his first spin over the Churchill Downs main track Saturday, when he clocked a half-mile in :48 1/5.
It’s nice to see this son of Uncle Mo has turned in a long series of fast workouts, since he’ll be entering the Derby off a four-month layoff, which is unheard of by modern standards.
6. Thousand Words
What running style will Thousand Words employ in the Derby? He’s been effective from pacesetting, pressing, tracking, and closing positions, so he’ll have plenty of options to work out a clean trip.
But his two best races from a Brisnet Speed rating perspective were achieved with forwardly placed trips, so don’t expect Thousand Words to fall too far out of contention during the early stages of the Derby.
7. Ny Traffic
He took nearly three weeks off from serious training, then returned to the work tab with a maintenance half-mile in :49 3/5 Thursday at Saratoga.
With five starts under his belt this season, including four in Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, fitness shouldn’t be an issue for Ny Traffic.
Avoiding burnout will be the key, but Ny Traffic is thriving under his busy regimen so far.
9. Max Player
Though he never threatened the top two finishers, Max Player came running late to pick up the pieces in the Travers, where he finished third, with a career-best 107 Brisnet Speed rating.
Victory at the Grade 1 level might be out of reach for Max Player at this point in his career, but with his consistency and stretch-running style, he can certainly vie for a piece of the Kentucky Derby purse.
He didn’t run badly by any means, when he rallied to finish fourth in the July 11 Blue Grass (G2), his first start off a 3 1/2-month layoff.
The son of Tapit has the pedigree to handle 1 1/4 miles and should be fitter and faster for the Kentucky Derby, which places him alongside Max Player as a late-running longshot capable of hitting the board.