Tiz the Law favored in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes
Tiz the Law won the 2019 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. Photo by NYRA.
A history-making Saturday will see the 152nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park serve as the Triple Crown’s first leg for the first time in history. Sackatagoa Stable’s Tiz the Law headlines the 10-horse field, and will look to become the first NY-bred in 138 years to win the American Classic.
To align with required health and safety measures implemented in New York to mitigate risk and combat the spread of COVID-19, the Belmont Stakes will be held without spectators in attendance. To properly account for the schedule adjustments and overall calendar for 3-year-olds in training, the race will be run at a distance of 1 1/8-miles, marking the first time since 1925 the contest will not feature its signature 1 1/2-mile test.
The Belmont Stakes will now kick off the Triple Crown sequence as the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, the traditional opener, was moved to September 5 at Churchill Downs and the Grade 1 Preakness set to close the Classic series on October 3 at Pimlico Race Course.
Tiz the Law, the 6-5 morning-line favorite who drew post 8, will bid to become just the fourth-ever state-bred Belmont winner and first since the 19th century, joining Ruthless [first winner in 1867], Fenian  and Forester .
The Barclay Tagg trainee is the race’s only multiple graded stakes winner and has already registered a pair of Grade 1 triumphs, starting with his only previous Belmont Park appearance when he followed a debut win by posting a four-length victory in the Champagne in October.
After ending his juvenile year with a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club in November at Churchill – his only non-winning effort in five career starts – the Constitution colt has dominated the start of his sophomore campaign, capturing the Grade 3 Holy Bull in February at Gulfstream by three lengths, earning a 100 Beyer Speed Figure that makes him the only Belmont entrant to record a triple-digit number.
The talented bay followed with a 4 ¼-length romp in the Grade 1 Florida Derby at the Belmont distance on March 28 at Gulfstream. Tiz the Law will now look to give Tagg a career Triple Crown, following the path of another New York bred in Funny Cide, who won the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness before running third in that year’s Belmont.
“It means a lot. You don’t get top contenders all the time,” Tagg said. “He’s a nice horse. Hopefully he’s as good we think. You work every day seven days a week, you just hope nothing happens and nothing goes wrong. But so far, so good. We’re pleased with the way he’s been doing and we’re ready for the race.”
Tiz the Law is a perfect 4-for-4 on fast tracks in his career. He has continued to train forwardly at Belmont, including a half-mile breeze in 50.42 seconds over Big Sandy on Sunday in his last work before the start of Triple Crown season.
“I asked him this morning and he said ‘don’t worry about it,'” Tagg joked. “Nothing seems to faze him in any way. I’d have rather been a little closer [post position-wise], but I don’t think it makes much of a difference. He’s coming in good; I can’t be happier with him.”
Jockey Manny Franco, NYRA’s leading rider the last two years, will have his first career Belmont start after piloting Tiz the Law to wins in three of his last four starts.
“We love Manny,” Tagg said. “He’s been good for us. He’s a very good rider.”
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