A New Yorker Will Win the Kentucky Derby: David Papadopoulos

Tiz the Law will win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

In these pages here, we don’t typically make such bold, black-and-white proclamations. It tends to be lots of shades of gray and implied percentage probabilities and the like.

But come on, this horse, born and raised in the frigid climes of upstate New York and owned by the same merry band of everymen who campaignedFunny Cide years ago, is a beast. And he’s in raging form right now.

His victory last month in the Travers Stakes was nothing short of spectacular. After hounding the pacesetter — a highly regarded colt from the powerful Bob Baffert barn — for the better part of a mile, he glided on by around the turn, his rider perched motionless in the saddle, and then dashed away to an enormous lead in the stretch after only a few seconds of mild encouragement. If you want to understand where the expression “winning hands down” comes from, just watch thereplay of the race.

Sure, things could go wrong on Saturday — it’s the Derby, after all, even if it is being run in September instead of May — but this horse is so freakishly good that he could be far from his best and still win.

Not only would an A- performance be enough, a B- probably would, too. Maybe even a C+. There isn’t much for him to beat in here, to be honest. With the exception of a handful of solid rivals, the rest are a pretty mediocre bunch. Seven of them lost their last race by eight lengths or more. Four of them are winless in 2020; they’re a combined 0 for 26. Nice.

Tiz the Law, by contrast, is a perfect 4 for 4 this year, including a facile victory in theBelmont Stakes back in June. On that day, I had gotten a bit too clever, as I at times am wont to do, and tried to beat him with a 7-1 shot. That colt, Dr. Post, ran a respectable second, but his owners were so intimidated by the big horse that they’ve opted to pass on the Derby and run him in a lesser stake at Saratoga Race Course instead on Saturday.

I’m not betting against Tiz the Law again. Not at least right now.

Of course, I can’t exactly bet on him to win either at odds of 3-5 or so in a field of 17 horses. So I’ll play him in a pair of exactas — on top of the second favorite, Honor A.P., and on top of a 50-1 long shot named Attachment Rate. Then I’ll key him on top in a pair of trifectas over those two horses and hope they can clunk up for second and third behind him.

(David Papadopoulos, a senior editor at Bloomberg News, is a voter in the thoroughbred industry’s annual Eclipse Awards. He has been publishing his Triple Crown picks since 2012.)

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