By Arnie Leshin
No fans in the stands, other virus restrictions didn’t stop favored Tiz the Law from becoming the first New York-bred horse to win the Belmont Stakes in 138 years, with the 3-year-old carrying jockey Manny Franco breaking from the No. 8 post to win in a swift time of 1:46.53 by 4 lengths.
The 4-5 favorite settled in behind pace setter Tap It to Win before surging after the one and only turn of the shortened Belmont Stakes and coasting across the finish. Now with five victories in six starts, Tiz the Law paid $3.50 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 went off at 14-1 odds and paid $5.20 to show.
The distance was shortened from the usual mile and one half to a mile and an eighth for the first time and Franco said after the race that Tiz the Law was calm and relaxed before and during the race.
In an unconventional year caused by the COPID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and brought a change in the order of the sport’s most famed event, it was especially sweet for 82-year-old trainer Barclay Tagg and owners Sackatoga Stable, when in 2003 their Funny Cide had won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but lost the Belmont and failed to win the Triple Crown.
“They are completely different horses,” Tagg said, in comparing Tiz the Law to Funny Cide. “Tiz is more of a horse who can handle any pace and Funny Cide was all run, a strong horse and very tough. You couldn’t hold him.”
Tiz the Law is a son of Constitution and a grandson of Tapit, who sired three Belmont Stakes with Tonalist in 2014, Frosted in 2016 and Tapwrit in 2017. With a long gap before the next leg of the Triple Crown at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Tiz the Law faces one of his biggest struggles in trying to stay sound until the Sept. 5 second leg in Louisville, Ky.
The Preakness Stakes run at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Track, always the middle leg, is now the final run of the Triple Crown, and will race on Oct. 3.
The Belmont Stakes, traditionally the last leg of the Triple Crown, instead kicked off the series for the first time Saturday. The race marked the return of big-time sports in New York, but on a smaller scale allowed by the ongoing pandemic.
Despite this, it was a big day for New York that began with Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and ended with the impressive run by the hometown favorite Tiz the Law.