COVID-19 not stopping horse racing

Maximum Security (7), ridden by Luis Saez, leads the field out of turn four during the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 30, 2019, in Hallandale, Fla.

While this year’s Kentucky Derby has been postponed from the first Saturday in May until Sept. 5 because of the response to the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign to earn a starting spot in the Run for the Roses continues.

During the post-position draw on Wednesday the field was set for Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. The purse was recently reduced from its traditional $1 million because of the closing of Gulfstream’s casino and lack of on-track handle. Like race courses around the country, Gulfstream has banned spectators from the remainder of its current meet.

Tiz the Law drew post position No. 7 and was installed as the 6-5 favorite in the Florida Derby, which will award Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers on a 100-40-20-10 scale. Bred in New York and trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law has won three of four career starts. The grandson of Tapit’s most recent victory came in the Grade 3, Holy Bull Stakes on Feb. 2.

Tiz the Law is currently No. 15 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 22 points. A victory in the Florida Derby would essentially guarantee him a spot in the Kentucky Derby. His biggest challenge Saturday could come from two siblings.

Independence Hall drew post position No. 9 and is the 9-2 second choice. Gouverneur Morris drew post position No. 5 and has odds of 8-1. All three horses are sons of multiple graded stakes winner Constitution, who won the Florida Derby in 2014 and currently stands at stud at WinStar Farm in Versailles.

”We still own a pretty good chunk of Constitution and it’s really cool to see three sons of Constitution set to compete in a race that he won. It’s such an important race,” Randy Gullatt, manager of Twin Creeks Racing, which owns stakes in all three horses, said. “The Florida Derby is going to be a very exciting race.”

Florida Derby winners have gone on to capture 15 Kentucky Derby titles, most recently Always Dreaming in 2017. Last Year’s Florida Derby winner, Maximum Security, crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby but was disqualified after it was ruled he interfered with two other horses by swerving into their paths.

SATURDAY

Florida Derby

What: Kentucky Derby prep points race (100-40-20-10)

Where: Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

When: 5:36 p.m. CDT

TV: NBC Sports Network, TVG

Purse: $750,000 (Grade 1)

Distance: 1 [ miles

Favorite: Tiz the Law (6-5)

THE FIELD

(With odds)

1. As Seen On Tv (12-1)

2. Shivaree (30-1)

3. Disc Jockey (20-1)

4. Soros (30-1)

5. Gouverneur Morris (8-1)

6. Ajaaweed (20-1)

7. Tiz the Law (6-5)

8. My First Grammy (50-1)

9. Independence Hall (9-2)

10. Candy Tycoon (20-1)

11. Sassy But Smart (50-1)

12. Ete Indien (4-1)

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