Tiz to lay down the law in Kentucky Derby

Irish rider James Graham will be on outsider Major Fed

 Manuel Franco and Tiz the Law win the Belmont Stakes in June. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Manuel Franco and Tiz the Law win the Belmont Stakes in June. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

 

Irish jockey James Graham is set for just his second Kentucky Derby ride in what will be the most skewed renewal of America’s most famous race on Saturday night.

Delayed by four months due to the coronavirus pandemic, and closed to spectators, the $3 million ‘Run for the Roses’ is now the middle leg of the US Triple Crown.

The Covid-19 emergency turned the Triple Crown on its head with the traditional final race, the Belmont Stakes, run first over an abridged distance on June 20th.

Tiz The Law won that impressively and was even more spectacular subsequently in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

He looks like starting the first odds-on Derby favourite since Arazi flopped in 1992. The last odds-on Derby winner was Spectacular Bid in 1979.

Tiz The Law is handled by Barclay Tagg, who at 82 will become the oldest Derby winning trainer should the colt emerge best. Tiz The Law would then have the chance to become the 14th Triple Crown winner in a re-scheduled Preakness Stakes on October 3rd.

The Derby is due off a minute after midnight Irish-time and can be seen on Sky Sports Racing.

Irish interest will be on Graham, the 40-year-old rider originally from Finglas in Dublin who has had more than 2,600 winners in the US since starting his career there in 2003.

Graham was eighth on Lone Sailor in the 2018 Derby behind Justify and this time rides another outsider in Major Fed. He breaks from stall five of the 17 runners.

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