HOW HE GOT HERE
The short answer is that TIZ THE BOMB got here by earning 110 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points by finishing first in both of the Turfway Park prep races, the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes and the Jeff Ruby “Steaks” Stakes. The longer answer is a little more complicated than that and includes several different racing surfaces.
TIZ THE BOMB began his career on the main track at Churchill Downs last spring as a two-year-old. He finished a flat seventh and looked rather green, racing out in the four-path before flattening out. He figured it all out by his second career race, where he won a mile MSW event on the dirt at Ellis Park by an eyepopping 14 ½ lengths as the 3-5 favorite.
From there, it becomes more complicated from a surface standpoint as he switched to turf for the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile Stakes, which he won from off of the pace. Next up: the Castle & Key Bourbon Stakes (G2) at Keeneland at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf, which he also won as a lukewarm 5-2 favorite. He finished out the two-year-old campaign with a strong test in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Mile (GI). He finished second, but was the parimutuel winner in the infamous MODERN GAMES race.
His three-year-old season began with a subpar dirt effort in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. TIZ THE BOMB finished seventh in the race and just never really seemed to fire. Finally, he has most recently earned his two Turfway Park victories on the synthetic in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes and the Jeff Ruby “Steaks” Stakes. He was off the pace in both and took over through the stretch to win both convincingly.
HOW HE FITS HERE
As mentioned above and as will be a theme throughout with TIZ THE BOMB, he definitely could fit with this group on raw numbers alone. The problem is that his dirt numbers just don’t add up to the rest of this field, minus the nice maiden-breaking win on dirt at Ellis Park. In particular, his most recent dirt try in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream was particularly disappointing. TIZ THE BOMB has trained over the dirt, but just couldn’t do it when it mattered. “I was confident going into the Holy Bull that he would run a significant race but it just didn’t happen,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “I don’t know if it was the surface, or the weather, or the situation. He had been working well over it and but just didn’t race over it.” If he can get over the surface well on Kentucky Derby day, TIZ THE BOMB could definitely be a contender at a price.
PEDIGREE AND CONNECTIONS
TIZ A BOMB is a son of HIT IT A BOMB, who had a lot of success…on the turf. Likewise, it appears that TIZ A BOMB has a bright future ahead of him, but it may well come on the turf and the synthetic. However, it should be noted that some of his half-siblings have been successful in some low-level stakes and regular overnight events on the dirt.
Ken McPeek has been a successful trainer for many decades, but currently only has two Triple Crown victories: Sarava in the 2002 Belmont Stakes at a huge number and filly Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness in 2020. With a victory in this year’s Kentucky Derby, he could complete a personal Triple Crown, but, of the stablemates, most people’s attention will be on McPeek’s other Derby horse this year, SMILE HAPPY.
TIZ THE BOMB closed in the final Kentucky Derby future wager pool as a 22-1 hope. This is likely lower than what his odds were theoretically a few weeks ago before the big win in the Jeff Ruby Stakes. Likewise, this will likely be the range his odds will be on Derby Day, an unexpected longshot if he should win, but not an impossible massive longshot. He clearly has talent and seems to be quick enough on his best day to run with the serious contenders, the major question still revolves around the surface: how will he run on the dirt on Derby Day? Two other valid questions: how will he handle the added distance and what kind of trip will be worked out from off the pace?