Like just about every other Saratoga racing fan out there, I became consumed with Funny Cide mania in the spring of 2003. The chestnut son of Distorted Humor was foaled in our backyard three years earlier at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds and was owned by the Saratoga Springs-based Sackatoga Stable. The story of Funny Cide became all the buzz, locally and nationally, when the “gutsy gelding,” as he came to be known, unexpectedly won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Could lightning strike again for the connections of the popular Funny Cide? I think there’s a legitimate chance that the Sackatoga partners and the stable’s longtime trainer, Barclay Tagg, could be celebrating amid the roses at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. The Sackatoga-owned Tiz The Law is a most intriguing Derby prospect. Purchased for $110,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s preferred New York-bred Saratoga sale in 2018, the WinStar Farm-bred colt debuted with a 4¼-length victory last summer at Saratoga. Next out, he proved to be the real deal with a four-length romp in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont.
Tiz The Law had a bit of a troubled trip when finishing third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill last November, but the effort did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for this exciting runner. I fully expect Tiz The Law to give Tagg and the Sackatoga crew plenty of reasons to dream big on the Derby trail this spring.
Here are four other Derby prospects worth following:
Dennis’ Moment This son of Hall of Famer Tiznow has a pair of impressive wins—but finished a disappointing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He’s as talented as any Derby hopeful and will be a leading contender in the spring prep races.
Storm The Court This red-hot California-based prospect took horse racing by storm with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at odds of 45-1. The bay son of Court Vision will look to prove he isn’t a one-hit wonder.
Eight Rings Bob Baffert’s top Derby hopeful to have emerged so far is this gifted son of Empire Maker. He won last year’s American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita Park, and he’ll get plenty of hype this spring.
Maxfield An injury kept this precocious son of Derby winner Street Sense from participating in the Breeders’ Cup, but he’s won both of his races and already has a victory at Churchill on his record.