(CBS Local)- The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby is set for this Saturday, September 5 at Churchill Downs. In what has been a strange year, “The Run For The Roses” is now the second leg of the Triple Crown following June’s Belmont Stakes. Tiz the Law, winner at Belmont Park, enters Saturday an overwhelming favorite at 5-8 odds. But, at Tuesday’s draw, he was placed into the 17th position in the starting gate.
In the previous 145 runnings of this race, no horse has won from that post. But, there’s reason to believe Barclay Tagg’s colt is just the horse to break that streak and could actually play to his strengths.
“The number 17 post is really an anomaly. We have had horses win the Kentucky Derby from posts 15, 16, 18, 19 and 20 since 2008,” said SportsLine senior writer Gene Menez in an interview with CBS Local’s Katie Johnston. “With Tiz the Law, he is far superior to the other horses in the field on Saturday. He absolutely can win. Actually, I think post 17 is great for him because he is a horse who likes to be on the outside. He doesn’t want to be on the inside behind other horses so I think this is going to play to his favor.”
Fans have seen what Tiz the Law can do, having won the Belmont by four lengths just a few months ago. Interestingly, he is bookended in the starting gate by the two horses deemed most likely to push him for the victory: Honor A.P. And Authentic. Honor A.P., trained by John A. Shirreffs and ridden by Mike E. Smith has the second-best odds at 5-1. Authentic is close behind at 8-1. With all three of the favorites in such close proximity at the start, Menez says that battle will be the key to watch when the gates open.
“When the gates open on Saturday, you want to keep your eyes out on the four outside posts because those are the four main contenders in the race,” said Menez. “You mention Authentic and Honor A.P. on either side of Tiz the Law, Authentic will have to go he is a speed horse who likes to be in front. From that far outside post, if he doesn’t go, he’ll risk being left outside so he’ll have to go. As I said, Tiz the Law likes to be on the outside. His main goal and jockey Manny Franco’s main goal will be to get over and save as much ground as possible. But, he doesn’t want to be behind horses and he doesn’t want to be inside. From the 17 post it’s unlikely he would be on the inside anyway. Honor A.P. will probably come off the pace a little bit so he wouldn’t mind maybe being a little bit behind Tiz the Law. He’ll have to down the stretch try to chase Tiz the Law down.”
In the end though, Menez believes that when fans tune in on Saturday, they are likely to see Tiz the Law pushing further down the path of historical greatness.
“They call the Kentucky Derby the most exciting two minutes in sports for a reason. That’s because for 120 seconds, you see the country’s top 3-year-old colt run around Churchill Downs in chase of glory,” said Menez. “I think what you’re going to see on Saturday is the coronation of a potentially great horse in Tiz the Law. He’s already won one leg of the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes. If he captures the second leg on Saturday, he’ll go into the Preakness Stakes with a chance to win the Triple Crown.”
The Kentucky Derby goes off at approximately 7:01 p.m. EST/PST on Saturday.