Saturday's rescheduled Kentucky Derby is unique for a number of reasons — namely, it's being run in September without any spectators amid a global pandemic — but perhaps the most intriguing oddity can be found in the 17-horse field: the race's biggest betting favorite since 1992.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has pegged Belmont Stakes champion Tiz the Law's odds at 3 to 5, making the stallion the Kentucky Derby's biggest favorite since Arazi entered the race at 4 to 5, only to finish in eighth.
But unlike 1992, and every other year for that matter, the 146th Kentucky Derby is not the first leg of the 2020 Triple Crown. Instead, after being postponed from May for the first time since 1945, the Kentucky Derby is now the second frame of the horse racing's biggest prize, meaning the field is vastly more familiar to oddsmakers than ever before.
An exercise rider works Kentucky Derby entry Tiz the Law at Churchill Downs on Wednesday
Kentucky Derby entry Tiz the Law get a bath after a workout at Churchill Downs on Thursday
Tiz the Law (8) with Manuel Franco up, wins the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes in front of a mostly-empty grandstand at Belmont Park
'[In May], you might be able to predict, but there's still a lot of uncertainty,' professional gambler and horse owner Paul Matties Jr. told The Wall Street Journal. 'Some [horses] will develop a little bit and some will develop a lot. It's not equal…By September, most of the growing is over and you can see by their performances, who has moved on the most. You can tell who has become the best horse.'
A son of Constitution, Tiz the Law has won six of seven career starts, which include a third-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (Grade 2) at Churchill Downs in November.
'(He's) the same horse, more experienced of course,' trainer Barclay Tagg told the media this week. 'I didn't think it was a lack of experience that got him then. It was an off track and he came out of the gate slow. He's been pretty nice since.'
Tagg, 82, attempts to become the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky Derby. Art Sherman was 77 when he trained California Chrome to victory in 2014.
An exercise rider works Kentucky Derby entry King Guillermo at Churchill Downs on Wednesday. The three-year-old colt, who is owned by former major leaguer Victor Martinez, showed a fever on Wednesday and was scratched from the race on Thursday
Tagg and Tiz the Law owner Sackatoga Stable will be seeking their second Kentucky Derby victory, having teamed up with Funny Cide in 2003. Funny Cide went on to capture the Preakness but finished third in the Belmont.
Tiz the Law, ridden by Manny Franco, is coming off an impressive performance in winning the Travers Stakes (Grade 1) at Saratoga Race Course on August 8.
'Some people we concerned, "Well, there's only four weeks between the Travers and Kentucky Derby this year,"' Sackatoga Stable's Jack Knowlton said. 'If you look at the two works Tiz had up in Saratoga, I think that question was answered. He was just as sharp as he's ever been.'
All off the top choices will start from the outside. Tiz the Law will break from the No. 17 post, which never has