The race is now officially the battle of the Tiznows, with it's top two contenders both by the Dual Classic winner Tiznow. Tiz Chrome is an aptly named colt seeing as how he easily stand out from his peers, not only in stature, but in coloring. The blood bay colt is one of the most beautiful specimens on the Derby Trail. Normally the sheer size and red hue of his coat would be enough to draw spectators in, but the impressive colt garners even more flash through the generous amount of chrome (white) that he sports on all four feet and his face. The colt is so highly decorated that his trainer Bob Baffert described him as looking like a "Budweiser Horse."
Though not as highly decorated as his sibling, American Lion is just as grand looking. American Lion is a dark and handsome beauty however. Tall, leggy, muscular, he like Tiz Chrome towers over those his own age. Like Tiz Chrome, American Lion is also a bay, and like Tiz Chrome, American Lion sports some chrome of own as well. The differences are that American Lion is a much darker bay and is more brown than he is red. He also has less of that flashy white, with only three socks and a star. Though, in this case, I'm hoping the saying less is more proves true with the proud looking colt.
Both colts have stakes wins, but only one has a grade one win, and only one is unbeaten. Tiz Chrome is the unbeaten one of the two having won his maiden at first asking over the Churchill Downs strip. After his win he was transferred to Baffert in California, before running and winning the Stuka Stake, by a very easy four lengths. He is the 2/1 morning line favorite entering the Robert B. Lewis, despite being tied for the least experience horse in the field.
The horse I believe should be the favorite of the field, and who I believe will win this race is American Lion. With morning line odds of 5/2 he is handicapper's second favorite in the field, despite prevailing in a grade one, already. The reason for most not siding with the tall, dark, and handsome colt is because they feel his victory in the Hollywood Prevue was not so impressive. Detractors will tell you he worked hard to beat a very average field, when in fact the horse's very body language tells you a different story.
What people are mistaking for vulnerability and running all out is greenness. American Lion showed his green side as soon as Gomez started to really ask the colt for run. Around the turn American Lion made up absolutely no ground, but shortly after they straightened out the after burners kicked in and he easily marched to the lead. After making the lead the colt again showed his inexperience by not proceeding to finish the competition. He could've easily won by daylight, yet shut down and was to playing around to really notice the fast closing Get My Fix.
Eoin Hearty, the colt's trainer, has since then given the colt time to rest and mature, both physically and mentally. The colt is both classy and talented, all he needed was a litte bit of time to mature. If he shows that he has mature and has the ability to keep going, even after he has made the lead, I have a hard time believing that there is another colt in the race who can keep up with him.