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The 2020 Belmont Stakes will look much different than previous Triple Crown races at Belmont Park.
The race is being held two weeks later than usual in June, and instead of being the final leg of the Triple Crown, it will be the first. The race distance was also cut from 1.5 miles to 1 1/8 miles.
Tiz the Law has the best chance to win the Triple Crown, and if he captures the Belmont, he will have plenty of time to rest up for the Kentucky Derby in September and Preakness Stakes in October.
Belmont Stakes Post Positions
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
One of the few concerns about Tiz the Law’s favorite status is he has not run since March. His last race was the Florida Derby, which is typically one of the best warm-up races for the Kentucky Derby when it is typically held in May.
The horse trained by Barclay Tagg recorded two wins in 2020 and has four victories in his previous five races.
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey told the AFP that Tiz the Law has been the best three-year-old horse all year. (h/t Yahoo).
“Tiz the Law has been the best 3-year-old since January basically, and he remains that,” Bailey said. “He would have been favored in whatever Triple Crown race we ran first, so we have a superstar that we’re going to see on Saturday.”
Tiz the Law did not race against any Belmont competitors at the Florida Derby or Holy Bull Stakes, but he should get as good of a start as possible with long shots Jungle Runner and Fore Left starting to his left.
If Tiz the Law outpaces those horses, he could gain some traction on the inside and look to pounce for the lead at any juncture.
Tap It To Win and Sole Volante could take charge early from the two inside post positions. The former may be Tiz the Law’s top competition, as he also enters off back-to-back victories and has raced twice since the favorite last hit the track.
The shorter length may also allow Tap It To Win to stay near the front until the end if he sets the pace on the inside. That could help Sole Volante, who has two wins and a second-place finish at the Tampa Bay Derby in his last three races, find success from post No. 2 as well.
The main concern with Sole Volante is he is racing on a 10-day turnaround, which is not typical ahead of the first leg of the Triple Crown, though “typical” has really been thrown out the window with sports in 2020.
Farmington Road is an intriguing dark-horse selection since he landed in the top four in each of his last five races. The Todd Pletcher-trained horse should progressively work his way up the field, and at minimum he feels like a good thoroughbred to include in trifecta and superfecta wagers.
Modernist, Dr Post and Pneumatic are the other three dark horses that could surprise with long odds. Each has won in 2020, but those wins have not come against the best competition.
Dr Post and Pneumatic could have the outside to themselves if Tiz the Law works his way in, while Modernist may make a run from the middle of the pack. Even if they all run strong, it may not be good enough to beat Tiz the Law, who is clearly the best horse in the field.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Horse Racing Nation.