Huge betting favorite Tiz the Law, of the Sackatoga Stable [in Saratoga Springs] crossed the finish line first, concluding the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes, last Saturday evening in front of an empty house [no spectators were in attendance] at Belmont Park in Elmont, Long Island.
Traditionally, “The Test of the Champion” is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Horse Racing. But due to the unusual circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Belmont Stakes was pushed back two weeks from its original date of June 6. And for the first time in 89 years, the Triple Crown races were scheduled to take place in a different order.
The standard sequence of the races is the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. All three races take place within a time frame of six weeks. However, this year, the Belmont Stakes was the opening leg of the Triple Crown. Typically, the longest of the three races, covering a distance of 1 ½ miles [12 furlongs], the race suddenly became the shortest at 1 1/8 miles [9 furlongs] in an attempt to prevent the pool of 10 horses from overexerting themselves, due to inactivity caused by the discontinuance in the racing calendar, that was prompted by the coronavirus.
Tiz the Law, a 4-5 favorite, ridden by jockey Manny Franco and trained by Barclay Tagg, became the first New York-bred horse to win the event since Forester accomplished the feat in 1882. The three-year-old colt won the race by 3 ¾ lengths, completing the contest in 1:46.53. Dr Post finished second, Max Player came in third and Pneumatic finished 4th.
“It looked to me like everything went like clockwork,” said the 82-year-old Tagg, during his post-race interview on NBC. “I’m not trying to be a jerk about it, but I thought the quiet, to me, was very nice. There is no one to boo you.”
With the chase for horse racing immortality now modified, Tiz the Law will compete again in the 1 ¼ miles [10 furlongs] Travers Stakes on August 8 in Saratoga Springs, New York. As for the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, each quest will respectively take place on September 5 and October 3.
Jack Knowlton, the owner of Tiz the Law, watched the race under a tent with his family and friends in Saratoga Springs. Knowlton gave Tagg his props for keeping his mount sharp throughout the 12-week layoff. Knowlton made it abundantly clear to the panel of commentators, that Tiz the Law’s time away from the track shouldn’t be a cause for concern moving forward.
“Barclay had him [Tiz the Law] in great shape,” he said. “People were talking about the layoff, but he won after eight weeks off and nine weeks off, and now he did it in 12. Barclay was brimming with confidence, which is unlike him, and ‘Tiz’ got the job done easily.”
As oppose to the other horses to come out of the Sackatoga Stable, Funny Cide, a gelding that won the [Kentucky] Derby and Preakness 17 years ago, fell short in the Belmont, with a 3rd place finish. Knowlton acknowledges that that his Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes winner is “special”.
“Time off doesn’t matter. The longest amount of time off going forward will be what he did today, and look how he handled it,” Knowlton explained. I’m very excited about seeing him go a mile and a quarter in the Travers. He certainly looked like a horse who can handle it today.”
For those that listened to the experts and placed a wager on the highly favored Tiz the Law, your payout was $3.60 [win], $2.90 [place] and $2.60 [show]. In just six starts, Tiz the Law sports a racing record of 5-0-1. The only “blemish” was a third-place run in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes a year ago. With the recent victory, Tiz the Law has now amassed win totals worth $1,480,300.
“It means a lot to me,” said Franco, 25, of Puerto Rico. “This is my home track. I’ve ridden here for about six years already. One leg of the Triple Crown is the dream of any jockey. I’m happy with the opportunity I have right now.”
As for the other two horses that finished after the champion, the pay for Dr Post was $5.80 [place] and $4.20 [show]. Max Player paid $5.20 [show].
A $2 Exacta with 8-9 paid $19.60.
A $1 Trifecta with 8-9-1 paid $99.50.
A $1 Superfecta with 8-9-3-10 paid $556.
Belmont Stakes 2020 finishing order
1.) Tiz the Law
2.) Dr Post
3.) Max Player
5.) Tap It to Win
6.) Sole Volante
8.) Farmington Road
9.) Fore Left
10.) Jungle Runner
The Belmont Stakes was the first major sporting event to take place in New York since the shutdown started more than three months ago.