Gamine, Tiz the Law both earned wins in horse racing

Time waits for no man (or horse). Seconds count in both time and collecting Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

Life is not always fair. Experience counts and the cream eventually rises to the top. On Saturday, racing fans were treated to the creme de la creme at Saratoga.

Gamine was the quintessential thoroughbred filly, tying the G1 Test Stakes record while covering seven furlongs in 1 minute, 20.83 seconds. She ran 0.8 of a second faster than two outstanding older fillies Serengeti Empress and Bellafina, who ran 1-2 earlier in the day while competing in the G1 Ballerina Stakes. Gamine is clearly a treat to behold.

Gamine’s performance was a delectable creme de menthe dessert served early. She has crossed the finish line first by wide margins in all four of her lifetime starts. The only flaw in her resume is due to human error. She tested positive in her second start due to a slight overage in a legal, non-performance enhancing drug called lidocaine, which is often used to treat cuts or abrasions.

That questionable human decision is the only bad taste that this filly has provided thus far.

Following Gamine’s performance, Tiz The Law’s domination of the G1 Travers was a feast de resistance. The New York-bred son of Constitution showed that 82-year-old trainer Barclay Tagg still knows how to win big races. Tiz The Law has now won all of his starts this year. He is 6 for 7 lifetime with one third-place finish last year marring his otherwise perfect record.

Tiz The Law’s performance was nothing we had not seen from him before. He broke from the starting gate, sat just off the early pace-setters and then pulled away from his competition down the stretch, winning by open lengths.

His ability to relax both before and during the race was in stark contrast to the lightly-raced Uncle Chuck, who was clearly on edge before he ever left the saddling area. Uncle Chuck had been 2 for 2 and the long-striding son of outstanding young sire Uncle Mo was highly regarded prior to the race. His lack of experience caught up with him, as did Tiz The Law, after leading most of the race.

Caracaro, another lightly-raced son of Uncle Mo, ran well to finish second again. In four starts he has only one win, but three seconds while continuing to improve. He earned 40 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for his runner-up result and now is safely in with a total of 60.

Like the sun setting in the West, Max Player once again closed from well off the pace to get up for third. He also has 60 Derby points after picking up 20 for his effort. The top three Travers finishers are all likely for the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.

Uncle Chuck tired late and faded to sixth and with only 20 points will likely regroup. We may see him again in the Preakness in early October.

On Sunday at Ellis Park, Art Collector lead a 12-horse cavalry charge from gate to wire and easily won the 1 1/8th mile Ellis Park Derby. The fact that he won was not surprising, as he was the class of the field.

Art Collector has won all four of his starts this year, after winning only once in five starts as a 2-year-old. He has clearly matured in the past year.

The way he won was impressive. Art Collector had to set fast, early fractions of 23.3 for the first 1/4 mile, 46.7 at the half, and 1:10.7 at the 3/4 mark while being pressured all the way. Art Collector still had plenty in reserve, leaving his competition eating his dust with a solid final time of 1:48.03.

His presence in the Kentucky Derby will help determine just how good Tiz The Law is and adds intrigue in this year’s delayed Triple Crown. Art Collector was the creme brulee of this tasty thoroughbred racing weekend.

And down the stretch they come!


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