Seth Wenig/Associated Press
Tiz the Law has an opportunity to establish himself as the horse to contend for the Triple Crown at the 2020 Belmont Stakes.
The major difference between Saturday’s race and last year’s edition is the shortened length and it being the first leg of the Triple Crown instead of the last following schedule adjustments made because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The field is not as strong as it was expected to be months ago, as Charlatan and Nadal had their Triple Crown quests ended by injuries.
Although the 10-horse field carries fewer top horses, Tiz the Law should still face some decent competition from a handful of thoroughbreds.
Belmont Stakes Post Positions
Finishing Order Prediction
1. Tiz the Law
2. Sole Volante
3. Tap It to Win
4. Farmington Road
7. Max Player
8. Fore Left
9. Dr Post
10. Jungle Runner
It could be difficult to build a case against Tiz the Law coming away with the first leg of the Triple Crown.
The horse coming out of post No. 8 enters off back-to-back wins, with the most recent one occurring at the Florida Derby. The triumph at Gulfstream Park is the best win any of the 10 horses have on their respective resumes.
At some tracks, the favorite’s outside post position may be viewed as a disadvantage, but that is not the case at Belmont Park.
Since 2016, four horses have placed in the top three from the outside half of the grid, including 2016 Belmont champion Creator, who came out of post No. 13.
If Tiz the Law gets off to a decent start, he should work his way up the field and challenge for the lead around halfway through the 1⅛-mile race.
Tap It to Win is expected to be one of the early pacesetters, but he has a chance to remain in front with the race being shorter than its typical 1½ miles. The horse trained by Mark E. Casse won both of his 2020 starts and has three victories in his last five races.
Sole Volante could follow the trail of Tap It to Win out of post No. 2 and wait to make a move to the front. He is one of the most consistent horses in the field, with six consecutive top-three finishes, including a second-place mark at the Tampa Bay Derby.
Farmington Road, Modernist and Pneumatic are all capable of making pushes to the front, but they are better off as choices for trifecta and superfecta wagers.
At 15-1, Farmington Road is not expected to win, but he has strong closing speed and five straight top-five placings to show for it. His most notable finishes were second at the Oaklawn Stakes and fourth in the Arkansas Derby.
There could be some hesitancy in trusting Modernist since he has not run since March 21, while others have run in multiple competitions during that span.
Dr Post is an intriguing horse to watch, as he has two straight wins against less competitive fields. If he finds his way among more experienced thoroughbreds, he could contend for first.
Max Player, Fore Left and Jungle Runner are not expected to be factors, and if they work into the top three or four, it will be viewed as a surprise.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90
Statistics obtained from HorseRacingNation.com