Five days after Tiz the Law came home a disappointing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, ownership group Sackatoga Stable announced that Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez replaces Manny Franco in the irons for the colt’s 2021 season.

Tiz the Law-Jockey Change
Tiz the Law will open his 2021 season at the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. He’ll do so with new rider John Velazquez aboard. (Image: Albany Times Union)

That season begins at the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 23. The New York-bred Tiz the Law arrived at trainer Barclay Tagg’s Palm Meadows Training Center barn on Tuesday. There, he’ll train up until the Pegasus.

A rider switch was expected after Tagg minced no words criticizing Franco’s Classic trip. Breaking from post 2 with instructions to get out quick and get outside early, Franco kept 3/1 favorite Tiz the Law inside for most of the 1 ¼-mile race. This neutralized the outside stalking tactics that captured three Grade 1 races in 2020, including the Belmont Stakes.

Franco didn’t put Tiz the Law outside until early in the stretch. By then, Authentic – with Velazquez aboard – was out of reach. Tiz the Law’s sixth marked the first time he missed the board in nine career starts.

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

“He said he was rank on him. The winner was rank and he should have just followed him around. I had him ready to run, but I can’t ride for them,” Tagg said after the race.

Franco rode Tiz the Law to four Grade 1 wins and a runner-up to Authentic in the Kentucky Derby. In that narrow Derby loss as the 3/5 favorite, Tiz the Law ran his race. Tagg and Knowlton both said that loss came because the horse just doesn’t like Churchill Downs. Entering the Derby, Tiz the Law’s lone loss came at Churchill Downs – the 2019 Kentucky Jockey Club.

“I’m grateful for what has been accomplished thus far with Tiz,” Sackatoga Managing Partner Jack Knowlton said in a release announcing the move. “How can you not be? But we have another year of racing ahead of us and want to do what’s best for him and our partners. Tiz’s story still has another chapter.”

Wintering in Florida Has Riding Advantages

The other element playing into the move was geography. Velazquez rides at Gulfstream Park in the winter, while Franco will remain in New York. Thus, Velazquez – now free of commitments to the now-retired Authentic – can work out Tiz the Law in between races.

“The opportunity to secure a Hall of Fame rider who will be based at Gulfstream Park this winter and can regularly work Tiz the Law prior to the Pegasus presents a great opportunity,” the release said.