Race 11 at Churchill Downs | Saturday, November 30 | Post Time 5:56 PM Eastern Time

Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes – Grade 2| Purse $300,000 | One Mile and One Sixteenth | Two Year Olds

 

Tiz the Law (3) was visually impressive winning the Champagne Stakes in October by four lengths. Not only was the margin of victory substantial, the way the horse ran the race suggests he has the physical and mental talent to win many more stakes races in his career. After a slight stumble at the start of the Champagne, Tiz the Law dropped back on his own to race in fifth of six in the early stages, then was a bit hard to handle as he fought jockey Franco while wanting to do more. After relaxing on the backstretch, Tiz the Law had to wait for room to run. When finally angled out for a clear path he drew off without being asked by the jockey to win authoritatively. The 91Equibase Speed Figure wasn't as high as the 97 figure he earned when winning in his debut in August, but it was good nonetheless. With improvement past the debut effort possible, Tiz the Law could earn a higher figure than the 99 South Bend earned winning the Street Sense Stakes at the end of October. With a strong workout before leaving trainer Tagg's home base at Belmont Park last week, and with jockey Franco riding once again, Tiz the Law appears to be the top contender in this year's Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Among the horses coming out of the Street Sense Stakes run on October 27 at Churchill Downs, I prefer Silver Prospector (5) just a bit more than winner South Bend or runner-up Fighting Seabee. The reason for this preference is Silver Prospector had to battle head and head for the lead from the point the gate opened, then put away his rival to gain a half-length advantage with an eighth of a mile to go, before succumbing to the late charges of South Bend and Fighting Seabee and ending up a half-length behind the latter. The 96 figure was a career best and his pattern of improving figures suggests even better is likely forthcoming in the Kentucky Jockey Club. Additionally, there doesn't appear to be another horse which may want the early lead in this race and as such, Silver Prospector could have an easy early lead and play "come catch me" with the field, perhaps successfully.

Fighting Seabee (2) was making his first start on dirt in the Street Sense following three races on turf to start his career. He was seventh in the early stages and really didn't do much running until the final sixteenth of a mile when he rallied from fifth to second, beaten just one length by South Bend, who was already in high gear. Having improved from a 73 figure in his debut to 80, then 82 and finally to 97 last time out, it is logical to assume Fighting Seabee will take another step forward in the Kentucky Jockey Club and if a little bit closer to the early pace than he was in the Street Sense, he can win.

South Bend (4) isn't necessarily vulnerable as the likely first or second betting choice in the race and as a horse that's undefeated in three races he has to be taken very seriously as a win contender. Still, he opens at low odds and others have the same probability to win but offer more value for win bets. The 99 figure earned in the Street Sense is the best earned by any horse in the field and can be improved upon. However, taking a contrarian position, South Bend is running around two turns for the first time in his career, the same as Tiz the Law, whereas five of the other eight entrants have experience in a two turn race. In the Street Sense, South Bend got somewhat of a dream trip as he saved ground the whole way and easily found a seam in the stretch to run through. As such, I will consider him for exotic wagers made involving this race such as the exacta but I will be rooting for one of the other three previously mentioned contenders to win.

 

Betting Strategies:

Win Bets: Considering Tiz the Law (3) opens at 7 to 5, no matter his high win probability he’s just not a good win bet. Instead of betting him to win, we can play an “exacta as a win bet” as below. Still, Fighting Seabee (2) and Silver Prospector (5) do offer value worth the risk for win bets as both open at 8 to 1, so:

Fighting Seabee (2) and Silver Prospector (5) to win at odds of 3 to 1 or higher.

Exactas:

Tiz the Law (3) over Fighting Seabee (2), South Bend (4) and Silver Prospector (5).

Then, likely just for the minimum $1 level, Tiz the Law (3) over ALL.

Box Tiz the Law (3), Fighting Seabee (2) and Silver Prospector (5). (There’s no value in any exacta box containing Tiz the Law and South Bend).

Trifecta:

Tiz the Law (3) over Fighting Seabee (2), South Bend (4) and Silver Prospector (5) over Fighting Seabee (2), South Bend (4) and Silver Prospector (5).

Tiz the Law (3), Fighting Seabee (2) and Silver Prospector (5) over Tiz the Law (3), Fighting Seabee (2), South Bend (4) and Silver Prospector (5) over Tiz the Law (3), Fighting Seabee (2), South Bend (4) and Silver Prospector (5).