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Odds, picks and post positions for 2020 Kentucky Derby

Jockey Manny Franco reacts after crossing the finish line with Tiz the Law to win the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. (Chris Rahayel/AP)

The Kentucky Derby is the second leg of the Triple Crown this year — the Belmont Stakes was held in June — as horse racing’s biggest events were shuffled by the novel coronavirus pandemic. That schedule change, among others, allowed the morning-line favorite, Tiz the Law, to earn 372 points on the Derby trail, eclipsing the previous high of 170 set by International Star in 2015.

What you need to know about the 2020 Kentucky Derby

Mike Battaglia, who has set the morning line for the Kentucky Derby since 1975, gave Tiz the Law 3-5 odds, making him the heaviest morning-line favorite in the Run for the Roses since Easy Goer and Awe Inspiring in 1989.

Tiz the Law, a son of Constitution (by Tapit), broke his maiden last summer at Saratoga and has fired off five wins, all graded stakes races, in six attempts since. Victories include the Grade I Champagne Stakes, Grade III Holy Bull Stakes, Grade I Florida Derby, Grade I Belmont Stakes and Grade I Travers Stakes. The lone blemish on his résumé is a third-place finish in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs in November.

“He never seems to do anything wrong,” trainer Barclay Tagg said. “He is not overly nervous, not excitable, doesn’t beat himself. He loves to run, loves competition. He sees a horse, he just goes for it. He is a quality horse.”

Tagg trained 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, who became the first New York-bred horse in history to win the Kentucky Derby. Tiz the Law will try to become the second.

Post time: Saturday, 7:01 p.m., NBC

Here’s a look at Tiz the Law’s chances, plus analysis on the 15 other horses that hope to beat him to the winner’s circle. (Two horses, Finnick the Fierce and King Guillermo, were scratched.) See also our guide to best bets and exotics.

No. 1 Finnick the Fierce


No. 2 Max Player (30-1)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Max Player transferred into Asmussen’s barn following solid efforts in the Belmont (third with a 100 Brisnet speed figure) and Travers (third, 107) for former trainer Linda Rice. If you’re looking for a long shot, this could be the one.

Tiz the Law is, by far, the best horse in the Kentucky Derby

No. 3 Enforceable (30-1)

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Adam Beschizza

Enforceable made up a lot of ground to finish fourth in the Blue Grass but was still 8½ lengths behind the winner, former Derby hopeful Art Collector. This son of Tapit will need a perfect trip and a pace meltdown to win this leg of the Triple Crown.

No. 4 Storm the Court (50-1)

Trainer: Peter Eurton

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Last year’s juvenile champ is winless this year and enters the race with a second-place finish in the Grade III La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar in his first start on grass. Since 2013, winners of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile are 1 for 6 in the Kentucky Derby.

No. 5 Major Fed (50-1)

Trainer: Greg Foley

Jockey: James Graham

Major Fed is winless in four graded stakes events since he broke his maiden at the Fair Grounds in January, showing he might be short on class and making it difficult to like him in this race.

No. 6 King Guillermo


No. 7 Money Moves (30-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

The son of Candy Ride didn’t enter a single race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and has yet to face any stakes competition.

No. 8 South Bend (50-1)

Trainer: William I. Mott

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

A late entry, South Bend hasn’t won since he took the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs in 2019. He’s 0 for 8 as a 3-year-old, with his most recent race a fourth-place finish in the Travers.

Two horses that can beat Tiz the Law

No. 9 Mr. Big News (50-1)

Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Jockey: Gabriel Sáez

The Oaklawn Stakes winner was supposed to make his turf debut at Churchill Downs on Saturday, but early rain and the threat of soft turf prompted owner Chester Thomas to make a run for the roses instead. To be successful, he will have to do better in graded stakes company. Mr. Big News finished fifth in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes and sixth in the Grade II Blue Grass.

No. 10 Thousand Words (15-1)

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Florent Geroux

This entry took a step backward this spring (fourth-place finish in the San Felipe Stakes and 11th by 29 lengths in the Oaklawn Stakes), but looked great beating Honor A. P. in the Shared Belief Stakes. The Brisnet speed figure earned in his previous race (104) is among the best in the field.

No. 11 Necker Island (50-1)

Trainer: Chris Hartmann

Jockey: Miguel Mena

Necker Island’s most recent win came in optional allowance company in November, and this son of Hard Spun was recently put up for claim in June. Pass.

No. 12 Sole Volante (30-1)

Trainer: Patrick Biancone

Jockey: Luca Panici

This gelding built a lot of hope in the winter and spring (4-1-1 in six races) only to fall flat in the Belmont Stakes, finishing sixth and 15 lengths behind the winner.

No. 13 Attachment Rate (50-1)

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Joe Talamo

His best race was a second-place finish in the Ellis Park Derby, but he is 0 for 5 in stakes races this year.

No. 14 Winning Impression (50-1)

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Jockey: Joe Rocco Jr.

Winning Impression earned enough points to get in the big race but has beaten just 12 of 27 horses over his past three stakes races. He needs a step down in class, not a step up.

Here are the best bets for the Kentucky Derby

No. 15 Ny Traffic (20-1)

Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Joseph’s gray colt has run five solid races in as many starts since he came under his purview in January, but you have to wonder whether three straight second-place finishes is the best he can do.

No. 16 Honor A. P. (5-1)

Trainer: John Shirreffs

Jockey: Mike Smith

This son of Honor Code followed up his Santa Anita Derby victory with a loss to Thousand Words by three-quarters of a length at Del Mar, despite being favored in the Shared Belief Stakes. Smith, who was aboard Derby winners Giacomo in 2005 and Triple Crown winner Justify in 2018, excused the lackluster effort and felt the distance of 1 1/6 miles was “too short for him.”

No. 17 Tiz the Law (3-5)

Trainer: Barclay Tagg

Jockey: Manny Franco

The five-time graded stakes winner was impressive in both the Travers and Belmont Stakes, justifying his spot as one of the heaviest Kentucky Derby favorites in the past 30 years.

No. 18 Authentic (8-1)

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: John Velazquez

Baffert’s front-running brown colt held on to win the Haskell by a nose and may be the pace setter in the Kentucky Derby. If that’s the case, look for him to be in good hands with Velazquez aboard. Authentic’s jockey won the Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Always Dreaming in 2017

Read more:

Tiz the Law, born in New York and raised in Kentucky, carries the dreams of two farms in the Derby

His 73-year Derby streak looked doomed. Now he’ll sit with the owners at Churchill Downs.

How horses qualify for the Kentucky Derby

Tiz the Law lays down the law, wins 152nd Belmont Stakes to open the reshaped Triple Crown season