September 2nd, 2020 – Money Moves Owners Say ‘Let’s Take a Shot’; Tagg Talks Tiz and Funny Cide
By Richard Rosenblatt
The result: Two-time Kentucky Derby winner Todd Pletcher will extend his record to 55 starters in Saturday’s Run for the Roses.
The decision to enter Money Moves in the Derby off just three career starts came late, after a discussion between owners Robert LaPenta and Dr. Jerry Bortolazzo (who operates Bortolazzo Stable), and two-time Derby winner Pletcher.
First off, Money Moves had zero Derby-qualifying points so the wait was on to see who was and wasn’t running as well as monitoring the colt’s training.
A son of Candy Ride purchased for $975,000 as a 2-year-old, Money Moves won his career debut in February, then won again in March, both at Gulfstream Park, before he got sick and missed several weeks of training.
When he returned, Money Moves ran second in an allowance optional claimer at Saratoga on July 25. He’s had three timed works since, and seems to be ready to race again.
LaPenta has been to the Derby before — this will be his 10th starter; Bortolazzo, a former ER doctor who got into racing about 10 years ago, will have his first Derby horse.
“We ran him 1 1/8 miles first time around two turns against older horses and he fared pretty well,’’ Pletcher said about the bay colt’s previous race. “It was a very tough race. He was almost able to win and his figures came back strong.
“After that,” he continued, “it started to look like it might not take any points to get into the Derby, so the ownership group expressed interest in monitoring how he’s training and he trained well. We got together after his last breeze and weighed the pros and cons and they felt like we don’t get these opportunities but once in a horse’s life, so let’s take a shot.”
Money Moves, 30-1 on the morning-line, leaves from the No. 7 post under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano. Belmont Stakes (G1) and Travers (G1) winner Tiz the Law is the early 3-5 favorite.
Lukas takes over as Pletcher’s assistant for Derby
Trainer Todd Pletcher will not attend the Derby, but his mentor, Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, agreed to handle Money Moves at Churchill Downs.
Lukas, recently back his barn after recovering from COVID-19, celebrated his 85th birthday on Wednesday.
“I just did what I was told,” said Lukas following Money Moves’ morning gallop. “I sent him out there and he had a good maintenance gallop. We’ll school him in the gate tomorrow. Todd just said, ‘Run him like you would any of your others.’”
In this unique year, Pletcher will also have a say in another race for 3-year-olds on Saturday with Dr Post in the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga – Dr Post, Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up, was under Derby consideration until a few days ago.
Tagg talks Funny Cide and Tiz the Law
“They’re both fast. They’re different types,” the trainer said. “He’s kind of a stockier horse than Funny Cide but distance doesn’t seem to faze him. He’s not as tough to train as Funny Cide, Funny Cide was a very hard horse to ride and very hard horse to train. This horse just does what you ask him to do. He’s strong, he’s on the muscle but he’s a real pleasure to work with.”
Tiz the Law made his first track appearance of Derby Week, galloping once around a soggy track under Heather Smullen.
Also on the track after arriving from New York on Tuesday with Tiz the Law were Ny Traffic, Money Moves, and South Bend.