The victorious horse gave trainer hall of famer Bob Baffert his sixth career Derby victory.
It was a third Derby win for jockey John Velazquez.
Sent off at 3-5 as the biggest Derby favorite in 31 years, Tiz the Law stalked Authentic on the outside before challenging at the top of the stretch.
Churchill Downs officials attributed the decline in handle to the lack of on-site wagering, fewer horses in the race and a prohibitive favorite.
"Yes! Yes!" Baffert shouted in the paddock, where he watched the race on the video screen.
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The trainer said that his assistant, Jimmy Barnes, suffered a broken hand in a paddock incident while handling Thousand Words.
Belmont Stakes victor Tiz the Law looked well placed to overhaul the 8-1 shot as they made it around the final turn but could not close the gap and finished second in the 146th running of the race. Honor A.P. was fourth.
Historically the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby this year was the second leg after it was shifted from its original date on the first Saturday in May to the first Saturday in September.
Belmont Stakes victor Tiz the Law is the favorite to win Saturday's race.
Organizers were also forced to hold the Derby without fans for the first time ever.