This, of course, is not an ordinary year, and the Derby trail is now uncertain. Nonetheless, Tiz the Law has stamped himself as the best horse to emerge from his family in several generations. He is a great-great-grandson of Evil Elaine, a mare of modest origins who rose to become the dam of a Horse of the Year as well as the ancestress of a promising Classic horse.
Sired by the useful Florida stallion Medieval Man (a sprinting son of Australian champion Noholme II) out of the winning Distinctive mare Distinctive Elaine, Evil Elaine was bred for speed top and bottom and lived up to that heritage. Like her full sister Ravensmoor, she was a stakes winner over sprint distances at 2. She did not train on quite as well as Ravensmoor, who became a listed winner at 3, but did add a couple of stakes placings during her sophomore year before retiring to the paddocks.
Evil Elaine became the dam of eight winners. The best of the group was Favorite Trick (by Phone Trick), who in a rather weak year overall for American racing earned Horse of the Year honors on the basis of an undefeated juvenile season. An extremely athletic, fluidly gaited colt whose mechanical efficiency let him stretch his speed to intermediate distances, Favorite Trick captured the 1998 Jim Dandy Stakes (USA-G2) and the Keeneland Breeders' Cup Mile Stakes (USA-G2). He retired to stud having won 12 of his 16 starts but was not able to pass on his own exceptional mechanics consistently before his death in a barn fire at the age of 11.
Evil Elaine also produced restricted stakes winner Cold n Calculating (by It's Freezing) and the stakes-placed fillies Tricky Elaine (by Grindstone) and Crafty and Evil (by Crafty Prospector). The former produced 2015 Smile Sprint Stakes (USA-G2) winner Favorite Tale (by Tale of the Cat), and another daughter of Evil Elaine, the Unbridled mare Legs Lawlor, is the dam of listed stakes winner Clarinet (by Giant's Causeway). A fourth daughter of Evil Elaine who is worthy of note is Unenchanted Evening (by Unbridled's Song), who produced multiple Grade 1 winner Moonshine Memories (by Malibu Moon) and juvenile listed stakes winner Indian Evening (by Indian Charlie).
Given the records of her half sisters, Crafty and Evil became a case of "what might have been" as she produced only one foal, the winning Go for Gin filly Gin Running. This mare made up for her dam's lack of opportunities as she has produced three stakes winners in 2009 San Gorgonio Handicap (USA-G2) winner Tizfiz (by Tiznow), 2014 Precisionist Stakes (USA-G3) winner Fury Kapcori (by Tiznow), and 2010 Turf Paradise Derby winner Dixie Commander (by Dixie Union). Tizfiz, in turn, produced Tiz the Law as her fifth foal. Also the dam of stakes-placed Awestruck (by Tapit), Tizfiz produced the 2018 filly Angel Oak and a colt in 2019, both to covers by Mission Impazable. She was bred back to Constitution this spring.
Tiz the Law's dam and broodmare sire both improved substantially with maturity, giving reason to believe that he will do the same if he stays sound and healthy, and despite the speedy and precocious nature of his female line, repeated crosses to staying runners leave little doubt that he has the genetics to get 10 furlongs or more. He is part of the increasing influence of Evil Elaine, who seems to be less evil and more "wicked good" with every passing generation.