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The first leg of the Triple Crown is in the books as Tiz the Law claimed victory in the 2020 Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Tiz the Law and jockey Manny Franco cruised past Dr Post and Max Player for the easy win, and in doing so will collect $535,000 of the race’s $1 million purse.
2020 Belmont Stakes Results
1. Tiz the Law ($535,000)
2. Dr Post ($200,000)
3. Max Player ($110,000)
4. Pneumatic ($60,000)
5. Tap It to Win ($30,000)
6. Sole Volante
8. Farmington Road
9. Fore Left
10. Jungle Runner
A trio of potential contenders (Charlatan, Nadal and Maxfield) all removed themselves from the equation in the weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes.
That left Tiz the Law as the heavy favorite. The Florida Derby winner had 6-5 odds when the post positions were drawn Wednesday, according to the Belmont Stakes, and was sitting at 4-5 by the time he headed for the gate Saturday.
Tap It to Win started strongly out of the gate and led entering the final turn, with Fore Left in second place. Tiz the Law and Franco were keeping pace on the outside, with Franco waiting until the perfect time to make a move on the leader.
Tiz the Law surged ahead of the field in the final stretch, more than living up to his pre-race hype. He was a clear level above everyone else in the field, which isn’t easy to pull off in a sprint.
It’s hard to envision how Franco could’ve run a better race. Some might have worried a bit when Tiz the Law was stuck in third place for much of the nine furlongs. Franco knew exactly when to push the three-year-old and unleash his prodigious speed.
With Saturday’s victory, trainer Barclay Tagg completed the career Triple Crown. The 82-year-old guided Funny Cide to a win in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but had yet to taste success at Belmont Park.
Horse racing hasn’t been immune to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond reshaping the order of this year’s Triple Crown, the New York Racing Association shortened the Belmont Stakes from its usual 1½-mile distance. Instead, the longest Triple Crown race became more of a sprint at 1⅛ miles.
Every year, the Triple Crown discussion begins almost immediately after the Kentucky Derby is over, and this season will be no different after Tiz the Law’s dominant showing.
Tiz the Law will have plenty of time to prepare for the Derby, which was postponed until Sept. 5 because of the pandemic. The Preakness Stakes will run a little over a month later on Oct. 3.
Traditionally, the achievement is so difficult to pull off because of the close proximity between the Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. The long gap between the three races in 2020 will allow Tiz the Law plenty of time to recover.
Assuming he has a tune-up race before heading to Churchill Downs, all eyes will be on the colt when he’s back on the track to see how he follows up his Belmont triumph.