Of course Tiz The Law is an odds-on favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Now let the buyback begin.
He got as short as 3-5 early Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs before the public started looking elsewhere for value and finding it with the other 15 starters. Just after 2 p.m. EDT the Belmont and Travers stakes winner drifted back to 4-5, and he has stayed there since.
By 4 p.m., with $7 million in the Win pool, Honor A. P. (8-1) and Authentic (9-1) were the only other horses carrying single-digit odds. Both Grade 1 winners from California, their prices in the nationwide pari-mutuel betting were competitive with or better than the best that Las Vegas futures had to offer.
Although the public faded him early Saturday to be the second longest shot on the board, maiden winner Attachment Rate (51-1) appeared to have attracted smart money before Friday evening. After 15-1 long shot Shedaresthedevil won the Kentucky Oaks, Attachment Rate ranked 10th in will-pays for the Oaks-Derby double. That is telling, because such horizontal wagers are dominated by sharp bettors, certainly more so than the Win pool for the Derby.
A horse that had enough points to be in the Derby even before it was undersubscribed, Rushie (5-2) delivered an undercard victory Saturday. With Javier Castellano riding for trainer Michael McCarthy, the third-place finisher in the Blue Grass Stakes took a wide trip from mid-pack to defeat six other 3-year-olds in the one-turn Grade 2 Pat Day Mile in 1:34.41.
“The horse was training very well out of the Blue Grass,” McCarthy told Churchill Downs TV. “But I didn’t think he was battle-tested enough for the Derby. I’m not sure which way we go from here. We’re going to go ahead and savor this one.”
The points preps for next year’s Derby began Saturday when Sittin On Go (24-1) made a deep-closing run to win the one-turn, one-mile Grade 3 Iroquois in a stakes-record 1:35.00.
“Let’s close the chapter on 2020,” winning trainer Dale Romans said. “I think everyone will agree with that. He showed his turn of foot and how special he is, knowing all along that stretching out (to a mile) he would be even better.”
Now 2-for-2, the 2-year-old colt sired by Brody’s Cause and ridden by Corey Lanerie gave Romans his second consecutive win in the Iroquois; he scored last year with Dennis’ Moment. Romans said he will use the automatic berth from Saturday’s victory to send Sittin On Go to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. As he put it, “I know the way to Keeneland.”
In the first stakes Saturday, Florent Géroux rode Fancy Liquor (9-2) from 11 lengths behind a hot pace to a deep-closing victory in the 8½-furlong Grade 2 American Turf Stakes. It was Géroux’s sixth victory in the past two days at Churchill. He also won the Oaks, and he is booked to ride Shared Belief winner Thousand Words (11-1) in the Derby on Saturday at 7:01 p.m. EDT.
After three days of rain at mid-week, the Louisville weather has been sunny the past two days, making the main track fast and, after the fifth race Saturday, the turf course firm. There were no clear biases on the dirt, although it has been producing fast times including two stakes records.
Here were the Kentucky Derby pari-mutuel win odds at 4 p.m. EDT:
4-5 Tiz The Law
8-1 Honor A. P.
11-1 Thousand Words
15-1 Money Moves
15-1 Ny Traffic
19-1 Max Player
28-1 Storm The Court
36-1 Sole Volante
37-1 South Bend
39-1 Major Fed
46-1 Mr. Big News
49-1 Necker Island
51-1 Attachment Rate
53-1 Winning Impression
Vegas books set limits for Derby wagers
Booking the Derby on their own for the first time in 28 years, Nevada casino operators settled on similar limits. At Station Casinos, the South Point and the Rampart, full track odds were being honored for all win, place and show bets. Exacta payouts were limited to 150-1 and trifectas to 500-1. But there was no superfecta or multi-race betting because of a dispute with Churchill Downs over how to split the takeout from Nevada. Three Las Vegas groups – Circa, South Point (with the Rampart) and William Hill – offered head-to-head match-up props for the Derby.
Ron Flatter’s racing column is posted every Friday morning at VSiN.com and more frequently for big races like the Kentucky Derby. He hosts “Road to the Derby” on demand at VSiN.com. You may also hear two current episodes of the Ron Flatter Racing Pod at VSiN.com/podcasts. The annual Kentucky Derby pop-up features Las Vegas bookmakers/handicappers Chris Andrews, Johnny Avello, Duane Colucci and Vinny Magliulo. The regular Friday episode includes NBC Sports race caller Larry Collmus, trainers Bob Baffert and John Shirreffs and Tiz The Law’s lead owner Jack Knowlton. The RFRP is available via Apple, Google, iHeart, Spotify, Stitcher and at VSiN.com/podcasts and is sponsored by 1/ST BET.