Seth Wenig/Associated Press
The start of the Triple Crown season is finally here, and though it may look a bit different than years past, it won’t be skimping on excitement.
The Belmont Stakes will lead off the quest for the crown for the first time, with the coronavirus pandemic pushing the traditional opener, the Kentucky Derby, to September 5. The Elmont, New York, track that’s home to the Belmont will operate on Saturday without any fans in attendance and on a shorter track. The 2020 Belmont Stakes will run a 1⅛-mile loop as opposed to the usual 1½-mile track.
The horses getting ready to run the 152nd Belmont Stakes have shown tremendous competitiveness in the lead up to the event. Now they’ll finally get a chance to show off what they can do before a captive national audience.
Here’s a look at what to expect as race day gets underway.
Belmont Stakes Post Draw
(Odds via Bovada)
1. Tap It To Win ( 600, bet $100 to win $600)
2. Sole Volante ( 750)
3. Max Player ( 1600)
4. Modernist ( 2200)
5. Farmington Road ( 2200)
6. Fore Left ( 4000)
7. Jungle Runner ( 6600)
8. Tiz The Law (-135, bet $135 to win $100)
9. Dr Post ( 750)
10. Pneumatic ( 1600)
11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. ET, Fox Sports One Pre-Race Coverage
2 p.m.-3 p.m ET, Fox Sports Two Pre-Race Coverage
3 p.m.-5:40 p.m. ET, NBC Race Coverage
5:42 p.m. ET, Post Time for the Belmont Stakes
6 p.m.-7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Two Post-Race Coverage
Live race coverage can also be streamed on the NBC Sports app.
Tiz The Law enters as the odds-on favorite after the Bob Baffert trained Nadal was forced to retire with a left front lateral condylar fracture in late May. Nadal was 4-0 in races this year and seemed destined to become another one of Baffert’s prized thoroughbreds.
Instead, the Hall of Fame trainer, who engineered the last two Triple Crown winners in Justify (2018) and American Pharoah (2015), doesn’t have an entry in this year’s Belmont Stakes.
Tiz The Law, meanwhile, enters Saturday’s main event after winning the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in 2019 before capturing the Holy Bull Stakes and Florida Derby this winter at Gulfstream Park just outside Miami.
The biggest challenger to Tiz The Law earning the first jewel of the Triple Crown is Tap It To Win, who is also 2-0 this year but has a win at Belmont Park in an allowance race on June 4. That extra time at the track may help the Mark Casse-trained horse pull away on the short course.
Fore Left also had some previous success at Belmont Park, notching a victory in the 2019 Tremont Stakes. As far as the long-shots go, Fore Left may be worth keeping an eye on.
It will certainly be a new atmosphere for one of horse racing’s signature events. It should also remain highly entertaining. As the sport grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, one thing it’s not lacking is talent across the field.
On Saturday, fans will find out just which horse will have a shot at claiming the sport’s most notable achievement, the Triple Crown.