Sept. 2 (UPI) -- To borrow a Yogi Berra malapropism, Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs was like "deja vu all over again" for Kentucky Derby favorite Tiz the Law.
The last time the Constitution colt visited the Louisville track, the surface was sloppy. That's how it was on a rainy morning four days before the delayed Derby Day, as trainer Barclay Tagg gave Tiz the Law a light gallop under the Twin Spires.
Tagg and the Sackatoga Sable ownership team fervently hope the similarities are done because, on that last visit to Louisville, Tiz the Law suffered the only defeat of his career, finishing third in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club. That also was his only race over a wet track.
"The track is really off, so we just gave him a canter around," Tagg said. "We didn't do any serious galloping. Tomorrow, the next two days, we'll get some serious gallops into him."
The forecast for Derby Day is promising -- sunny with highs in the upper 80s. Anyway, Tagg said, the Kentucky Jockey Club outcome had more to do with a poor start and traffic issues than with a wet track.
"I like a fast track for him, but he seems to handle everything," Tagg said. "He was pretty young and pretty green then. He didn't come out of the gate good. ... It was pretty easy to keep him blocked in there."
With six wins to his credit from seven starts, Tiz the Law is likely to go to the post as the heaviest Derby favorite in many years. That's no guarantee of success.
The last odds-on favorite at post time for the Run for the Roses was Arazi, who came from France to post an electrifying win in the 1991 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. Arazi then returned to finish eighth the following May in the Derby. The last odds-on winner was Spectacular Bid in 1979.
Strange things happen in the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Bob Baffert was in from sunny California on Tuesday morning to see about his chances for a record-tying sixth Derby win. He will saddle Authentic and relative long-shot Thousand Words.
"It's a wet track. You can't really tell how they like it," Baffert said after his horses put in light work. "So far, everything seems well. It's all smooth."
Both his colts, he said, come to the Derby after winning their last race. "That's very important. They're doing well. They're moving up. You need to be at your best right now."
Eighteen horses, two fewer than the maximum, are set for the Run for the Roses. After Tiz the Law, the only others at single-digit odds on the Churchill Downs morning line are Authentic and Santa Anita Derby winner and runner-up Honor A.P.
That best-fancied trio -- another Derby strangeness -- drew the outside gates, with Mike Smith riding Honor A.P. from the No. 16 slot, Manny Franco booting Tiz the Law out of No. 17 and John Velazquez starting Authentic from the outside post.
Velazquez, according to industry record keeper Equibase, is the all-time leading North American jockey by earnings. His mounts have banked $420,590,087. Smith is third on that list with earnings of $331,728,525.
Javier Casellano ranks between them and will ride 30-1 chance Money Moves in the Derby. Franco, a relative newcomer, is No. 73 with $88,224,713.
The Derby is the last of seven races on Saturday's program at Churchill Downs, with a post time of 7:01 EDT.
Normally, the track would schedule at least one race after the big event to spread out the exit of 150,000 spectators. This year, it's a moot point, as COVID-19 restrictions mean no paid customers at the South Side Louisville racecourse.