At the very least, we did not see the horse that can beat him in Saturday's Belmont field. Tiz the Law will likely face tougher competition in the Derby, with Santa Anita Derby champion Honor A.P. and Bob Baffert-trained Authentic lining up to challenge. Once we get to the Preakness, Charlatan, who would have rivaled Tiz the Law for favorite status at the Belmont, might rejoin the fray.
But Tiz the Law went into Saturday with the best resume in this 3-year-old class and came out with the best by a mile (or 1 1/8 miles as the case may be). If there's a flaw to his game, we haven't seen it. A clean-breaking horse with plenty of speed and the maturity to hold it in reserve is pretty much the prototype for a Triple Crown candidate.
"I got the horse for the race," Franco said when asked about his Derby chances.
Time appears to be Tiz the Law's greatest enemy. In this most unusual of years, he will likely run in the Aug. 8 Travers Stakes before he heads to Churchill Downs. That will mean another chance to shine but also another chance to stumble into misfortune. As we've seen with the injuries to Nadal, Charlatan and Maxfield, two-and-a-half months is forever in the life of a champion thoroughbred.
Or an unforeseen challenger could emerge. It's common enough for the best 3-year-old in a given year to burst forth in the summer, after the Triple Crown series. So Tiz the Law's dominance of the first six months guarantees nothing.
Tagg, who sees every angle after 50 years in the game, would be the first to tell you so. He has a terrific horse, though, one who could come to Baltimore with a chance to win the mutant Triple Crown on the first Saturday in October. Would the achievement carry an unofficial asterisk because of the scrambled, elongated schedule? Almost certainly. But fans of the series should be excited, because after the Belmont, they have a legit star to follow.