Kentucky Derby 2020: Race Schedule and Predictions for Top Contenders

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 25, 2020

Jockey Manny Franco reacts after winning the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes horse race atop Tiz the Law, Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The longest Triple Crown chase in horse racing history resumes on the first weekend of September. 

Tiz the Law comes into Churchill Downs off a victory at the Belmont Stakes, which served as the first leg of the trilogy of races due to the altered schedule caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since there was so much time in between the Belmont and the Kentucky Derby, Tiz the Law ran in, and won, the Travers Stakes on Aug. 8 to remain fresh ahead of his next challenge. 

The colt has proved in his last few races that he will be hard to beat, but he will face his largest collection of challengers yet in the Run for the Roses, led by Art Collector. 


2020 Kentucky Derbv Information

Date: Saturday, September 5

Post Time: Approximately 6:50 p.m. ET

TV Coverage: NBC (2:30 p.m. ET-7:30 p.m. ET)

Live Stream: NBC Sports app and NBCSports.com.


Predictions for Top Contenders

Tiz the Law Keeps Triple Crown Hopes Alive

Tiz the Law has not shown many flaws in his last two victories. 

The three-year-old trained by Barclay Tagg lived up to the tag of overwhelming favorite at the Belmont Stakes by cruising to the finish line. 

To remain fresh, he ran at the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and blew the field away. 

Instead of entering the Kentucky Derby on a near-three-month layoff, the colt only has a few weeks between races, which would be typical in a normal Triple Crown chase. 

Tiz the Law should enter the post at Churchill Downs with a similar pre-race tag as he is undefeated in four races in 2020. Everything we have seen from him suggests he'll be at the front of the field come Sept. 5. 

Given his dominance across a handful of the nation's top tracks, he should feel comfortable at Churchill Downs and deliver a strong performance ahead of the Preakness Stakes on Oct. 3. 


Art Collector Produces Top Threat To Tiz the Law

Art Collector could emerge as Tiz the Law's top threat in a field that is typically the largest of the three Triple Crown races. 

The horse trained by Thomas Drury Jr. has built up a similar winning streak to the Belmont winner. He owns a 5-1 career record and is coming off back-to-back wins at the Blue Grass Stakes and Ellis Park Derby. 

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. told Jason Frakes of the Louisville Courier Journal after the Ellis Park Derby that the horse keeps getting better with each race. 

"We're going into the Derby now with a legitimate horse," he said. "Like we said after the Blue Grass, he's proven he's getting better and better with each race. He showed it again today. He put everyone away. He did it all on his own and ran away from there."

The last two victories pushed Art Collector into third in the Kentucky Derby points standings, which helps determine members of the field. 

Only Tiz the Law and Authentic, who is Bob Baffert's top entry, tallied more points in the buildup to the race than Art Collector. 

Art Collector will likely be Tiz the Law's top challenger after winning back-to-back races, and Authentic took second at the Santa Anita Derby. 

If he backs up that form Sept. 5, we could see one of the top challenges to Tiz the Law in his career.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from KentuckyDerby.com.