By Neil Monnery

If not Tiz the Law then who for the Derby?

By Neil Monnery
Who are the longshot contenders for the Kentucky Derby?
Who are the longshot contenders for the Kentucky Derby?

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Tiz the Law is the overwhelming favorite for the 2020 Kentucky Derby but what if he slips up, who is best placed to swoop in and steal the win? Our Racecard is below with our thoughts on the top four contenders outside of the favorite...

Kentucky Derby Racecard

1
PP 1

Finnick the Fierce

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: M. Garcia /
  • Trainer: R. Hernandez /
Morning Line Odds

Gathered points throughout the prep season despite never winning. Not a contender.

10
PP 10

Thousand Words

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: F. Geroux /
  • Trainer: B. Baffert /
Morning Line Odds

Came good with a shock win at the Shared Belief Stakes. Outside shot to be at the pointy end of the race.

11
PP 11

Necker Island

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: M. Mena /
  • Trainer: S. Hough /
Morning Line Odds

His record suggests that he's not fast enough to win or even compete in this race.

12
PP 12

Sole Volante

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: L. Panici /
  • Trainer: R. Biancone /
Morning Line Odds

An intriguing exotics player in this race. Ignore his Belmont run as it came on only ten days rest.

13
PP 13

Attachment Rate

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Talamo /
  • Trainer: D. Romans /
Morning Line Odds

Fringe contender. Run a decent runner-up to Art Collector at the Ellis Park Derby. Seems to be getting better with every ride.

14
PP 14

Winning Impression

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Rocco Jr. /
  • Trainer: D. Stewart /
Morning Line Odds

A top Beyer number of 82 says all you need to know...

15
PP 15

Ny Traffic

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: P. Lopez /
  • Trainer: S. Joseph Jr. /
Morning Line Odds

Best performance was a runner-up spot at the Haskell. Has great stamina but I'd question his speed. Potential contender however.

16
PP 16

Honor A.P.

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: M. Smith /
  • Trainer: J. Shirreffs /
Morning Line Odds

Second favorite following Art Collector's withdrawal. Staff at HorseRacing.net are split on him. Must be considered a contender.

17
PP 17

Tiz the Law

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: M. Franco /
  • Trainer: B. Tagg /
Morning Line Odds

Red-hot favorite. 3/5 might bizarrely still be value. Won the Belmont with ease.

18
PP 18

Authentic

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Velazquez /
  • Trainer: B. Baffert /
Morning Line Odds

Been raked over the coals for a poor win at the Haskell but he still won. If Tiz the Law doesn't win, Authentic is best-placed to swoop in.

Show All Runners

Sometimes I think my fingers have developed muscle memory from the amount of times I’ve typed the following three words in the same order, Charlatan, Maxfield and Nadal. These three horses were all on the \Derby trail before injury derailed their chances and in turn left the door wide open for Tiz the Law to swoop in.

The winner of the Belmont Stakes has seen all his primary challengers for the Derby fall by the wayside but then we had one, a horse who came from nowhere to put up a fine Beyer number and could at least keep Tiz the Law honest.

In Art Collector we have a horse who has speed and stamina. Barclay Tagg’s horse was still going to be an odds on favorite but he wouldn’t be a slam dunk and then we got the news that Art Collector was scratched with a minor foot injury. How unlucky can we be?

In my opinion there are only two fit three-year-olds who can take on Tiz the Law and they are both at Churchill Downs. Brilliant. Sadly they will be taking to the track on Friday in the Oaks. Both Gamine and Swiss Skydiver could keep the Belmont winner and overwhelming favorite honest but let's just play devil’s advocate and ask ourselves who could surprise if Tiz the Law has an off-day or has some sort of unexpected issue.

Kentucky Derby Odds

Second favorite is Honor A.P. and it is fair to say the team here at HorseRacing.net are split on him. Lightly ridden since beating Authentic at the Santa Anita Derby, the John Shirreffs’ horse had one tune up run at Del Mar for the Shared Belief Stakes in a poor field of four. That day Bob Baffert had Cezanne in the race but the $3.65million purchase showed that he wasn’t ready for the top level.

Still Honor A.P. failed to win that day having tried to go hard down the backstretch with Cezanne and when everything shook out, it was Thousand Words who won that day. Our in-house handicapper likes him and thinks the world of his trainer so he’s not willing to rule him out of being the top challenger to Tiz the Law. I’m far more luke warm on his chances however.

Authentic won the Grade I Haskell but didn’t answer many questions that day, in fact he posed even more. Coming around the turn he looked strong but Ny Traffic chased him down and it came down to a photo finish. Two furlongs out and everyone probably felt much better about Authentic’s chances. Skip forward 30 seconds and whilst he won, his stamina was very much in doubt. It wasn’t just that someone was able to chase him down but it was that Ny Traffic wasn’t considered a top-level contender.

Yet with the plethora of injury absentees we can’t just rule Authentic out. His stablemate Thousand Words is the 15-1 fourth favorite and if those few words don’t say everything about this race then I don’t know what will. He won twice early on the Road to the Kentucky Derby but then a fourth place at the San Felipe behind Authentic, Honor A.P. and Storm The Court, an 11th place at the Oaklawn and then he couldn’t even beat Uncle Chuck at the Los Alamitos Derby. How can he be the fourth best horse in this race?

The fifth horse in the betting is worth noting though. The aforementioned Ny Traffic has finished second in three straight races and he’s only been beaten by Wells Bayou, Maxfield and Authentic in those races. He’s shown that he has top-level stamina but his speed still is a small question mark. If someone is going to upset Tiz the Law then this is who I’d be playing.

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