Tiz the Law wins 2020 Belmont Stakes

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Barclay Tagg’s Tiz the Law has become the first New York-bred horse to win the Belmont Stakes since Forester in 1882. The heavy 6-5 morning line favorite broke from the No. 8 with jockey Manny Franco aboard in his first Triple Crown ride.

Tiz the Law settled in behind pace setter Tap It to Win before surging after the one and only turn of the shortened Belmont Stakes and running away with the win by 3 3/4-lengths. Todd Pletcher’s Dr Post was second, and Linda Rice campaigned third place finisher Max Player.

Tiz the Law went off at 4/5 odds and paid $3.60 to win, $2.90 to place and $2.60 to show. At 7-1 odds, Dr Post paid $5.80 to place and $4.20 to show, and Max Player paid $5.20 to show with 14-1 odds.

Franco said after the race that Tiz the Law was calm and relaxed throughout the race, which kept him confident in the irons.

The win, which comes in an unconventional year where a shortened Belmont Stakes comes first instead of last in the Triple Crown, was especially sweet for Tagg and Tiz the Law’s owners Sackatoga Stable. In 2003, the trainer and owner partnership campaigned Funny Cide, who fell just short of a Triple Crown by finishing 3rd in the Belmont Stakes after winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

“They are completely different horses,” Tagg said, comparing Tiz the Law to Funny Cide. “‘Tiz’ is more malleable. Funny Cide was all run. You couldn’t hold him. He was a strong horse and very tough.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Triple Crown calendar, which usually goes Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes then Belmont Stakes, was scrambled. The Kentucky Derby was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5, the Preakness Stakes jumped from May 16 to Oct. 3 and the Belmont was moved from June 6 to June 20. Not only is the order different, but so is the turnaround time between races.

The Belmont Stakes earned the name “Test of the Champion” for cementing Triple Crown winners and being the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1 1/2-miles (12 furlongs). The race was shortened to 1 1/8-miles (9 furlongs) “to properly account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series and overall calendar for 3-year-olds in training,” the New York Racing Association said in a statement.

Tiz the Law is a son of Constitution and a grandson of Tapit, who sired three previous Belmont Stakes winners (Tonalist in 2014, Frosted in 2016 and Tapwrit in 2017. In six career starts, Tiz the Law only has one loss. As a 3-year-old, he captured the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park in February and the Florida Derby (G1) in March at an eerily empty Gulfstream.

With a long gap before the next leg of the Triple Crown, one of the biggest struggles Tiz the Law faces is staying sound until the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby. Tagg said he is pointing the colt at the Aug. 8 Travers Stakes at Saratoga next.

Full Belmont Stakes 2020 finishing order: 

  1. Tiz the Law
  2. Dr Post
  3. Max Player
  4. Pneumatic
  5. Tap It to Win
  6. Sole Volante
  7. Modernist
  8. Farmington Road
  9. Fore Left