Tiz the Law moved into the lead at the top of the stretch and pulled away to win the Belmont Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths on Saturday at Elmont, N.Y.
Tiz the Law, ridden by Manuel Franco, used a strong finishing kick to win the 152nd Belmont in 1 minute, 46.53 seconds. The colt was a 4/5 favorite.
Dr Post finished second, and Max Player was third, the latter horse finishing 5 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Fourth-place Pneumatic was 7 3/4 lengths back.
The Belmont Stakes is typically the final leg of the three-race Triple Crown series but was the first this year due to the havoc caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The race was 1 1/8 miles, less than its usual 1 1/2.
The race was also held without fans, with only people essential to the festivities allowed inside.
Tiz the Law’s scintillating sprint to the finish led to it being the first New York-bred horse to win the Belmont since Forester in 1882. Tiz the Law, who has five wins in six career starts, is housed at Sackatoga Stables in Saratoga, N.Y.
It also marked the first time trainer Barclay Tagg landed a Belmont winner. Tagg’s previous best chance was in 2003 when Funny Cide fell short of the Triple Crown by finishing third in the Belmont.
“I wanted to have a Belmont victory before I gave it up and died or something like that,” the 82-year-old Tagg said on NBC’s broadcast. “But I was glad to get it.”
Tap It To Win set the early pace with a 23.11-second time at the first-quarter pole and also held the lead after a half-mile and at the three-quarter pole.
Tiz the Law moved into second place just after the three-quarters pole and displayed his speed down the stretch. Franco turned to survey the field at one point to see there wasn’t a threat remaining on his way to the finish line.
“I was confident because I know what I have under me,” the 25-year-old Franco said afterward. “… I was pretty confident by the time we hit the seven-eighths pole. He was so kind and relaxed for me. He was so comfortable and never got keen, so I think that was the key.”
Tagg was pleased with the pace of the race and with the way Franco handled Tiz the Law.
“It looked to me like everything just went like clockwork,” Tagg said. “That’s the way the horse likes to run and that’s the position the horse likes to be in. Manny knows the horse very well. We discussed it quickly before I put him up on the horse and I felt very confident Manny would ride him that way. I felt pretty solid about halfway down the lane. It’s a good feeling.”
Optimism was high afterward that Tiz the Law is a legitimate Triple Crown threat. The Kentucky Derby is slated for Sept. 5, and the Preakness Stakes is scheduled for Oct. 3.
“Barclay doesn’t get a lot of big horses and big opportunities,” Tiz the Law owner Jack Knowlton told NBC. “But when he gets them, he knows what to do.”
The performance of Dr Post was also impressive as it came in the horse’s graded stakes debut.
“He ran great. No excuse,” jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said of Dr Post. “He got beat by a good horse, too. The winner is a nice horse, New York-bred and he ran great. My horse is improving. He’s only had three races (going into the Belmont). He just needs a little more time to figure things out.”
Tap It To Win finished 14 lengths back in fifth. Sole Volante was sixth, followed by Modernist, Farmington Road, Fore Left and Jungle Runner.
–Field Level Media