Tiz the Law remains front and centre in my mission to report “feel good” horse stories during this, life in the time of covid.

Barclay Tagg
LA Times

Indeed, the backstory of Tiz the Law and his team has all the makings of a Disney movie.  Let’s start with his trainer, Barclay Tagg.   In 1961 he graduated with a degree in Animal Science.  He rode hunters and jumpers; worked as a farm manager in Pennsylvania and turned his talents to racehorses near the end of 1971.  

A self-professed horseman to his bones: “that’s all I do,” he explained, “I don’t play golf.  I don’t go bowling.  I don’t go to Disneyland.  I just take good care of the horses and wait for something good to happen.”  Tagg hit the headlines in 1972 as trainer of an unlikely Kentucky Derby winner named Funny Cide.

Almost five decades later Tiz the Law arrived in his shedrow.  However, had it not been for Robin Smullen, his partner in racing, and in life, this may not have happened.

As the story goes, Tagg and Smullen were at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearlings Sale and Tagg was interested in this colt out of the Tiznow mare Tizfiz.  He liked everything about him except for the white in his eyes – to some, an indication that the horse could be edgy or or possible future vision issues.

Tiz the Law winning Travers (Sarah Andrews)

Apparently Smullen asked Tagg if he would buy the colt if he didn’t have the white eyes. He said “yes.”   So Smullen said “buy him.”  So he did.  For $110,000 and his clients the Sackatoga Stable, the group of friends that had owned Funny Cide.

…to be continued

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