Belmont Stakes: Belmont Park preps for kickoff to Triple Crown Saturday

WABC logo
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Belmont Stakes: Belmont Park preps for kickoff to Triple CrownS
Sam Ryan has the latest on how Belmont Park is prepping to kick off horse racing's Triple Crown

BELMONT, New York (WABC) -- Belmont Park is prepping for the Belmont Stakes Saturday, which for the first time in history will be the opening leg of horse racing's Triple Crown.[br /][br /]Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the storied race will occur without fans.[br /][Ads /][br /]The Belmont Stakes was originally scheduled for June 6. It has been second in the Triple Crown some years, but never first.[br /][br /]Traditionally contested at 1 1/2-miles, the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes will also be shorter, run at a distance of 1 1/8-miles to properly account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series and overall calendar for 3-year-old horses in training.[br /][br /]The Kentucky Derby was rescheduled from the first Saturday in May to September 5, while the Preakness, usually the second leg, was rescheduled from May 16 to October 3.[br /][br /]The Belmont Stakes lost three top horses to injury: trainer Bob Baffert's undefeated duo of Charlatan and Nadal, along with Maxfield. Tiz the Law was made the early 6-5 favorite and drew the No. 8 post in the 10-horse field.[br /][br /]Trainer Barclay Tagg was hoping the Florida Derby winner, to be ridden by Manny Franco, would land anywhere between spots 5 to 7 in the starting gate.[br /][br /]"It could have been worse," Tagg said from behind a mask. "He likes this track, so I'm glad to be back on it."[br /][br /]The starting gate will be positioned in the far corner of the sprawling track with the horses looking at a run down the backside rather than breaking from in front of the grandstand when the race is 1 1/2 miles.[br /][br /]"It's going to be a far different scene for sure," trainer Todd Pletcher, who has two entries, said this week. "It's sad in some ways, but we're grateful we're getting an opportunity to run."[br /][br /]Tagg is trying to win the race that eluded him in 2003. Funny Cide, a New York-bred horse owned by Sackatoga Stable just like Tiz the Law, won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness to set up a Triple Crown bid in the Belmont that year. But the hugely popular Funny Cide finished third, beaten by Empire Maker, on a rainy day.[br /][br /]At 82, Tagg is back to try again with Tiz the Law, who brings the strongest resume to the race. He is the only colt in the field with a Grade 1 victory and actually has two: the Champagne and Florida Derby.[br /][br /]"He does everything we ask of him," the trainer said. "We're pleased with him."[br /][br /]Sole Volante is the 9-2 second choice. Dr Post is the 5-1 third choice, and Tap It to Win is the 6-1 fourth choice. Pneumatic at 8-1 is the only other horse listed at single-digit odds. Five others are 15-1 or higher.[br /][Ads /][br /]"There isn't quite the star power we all expected," said Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable, which paid $110,000 for Tiz the Law.[br /][br /]Besides Dr Post, Pletcher is taking aim with Farmington Road, one of three 15-1 shots in the field.[br /][br /]Linda Rice will try to become the first woman to train a Belmont winner in the race's 152-year history when she saddles 15-1 shot Max Player.[br /][br /]"They just haven't given women enough time yet," she said, jokingly.[br /][br /]The field in post-position order with jockey and odds: Tap It to Win, John Velazquez, 6-1; Sole Volante, Luca Panici, 9-2; Max Player, Joel Rosario, 15-1; Modernist, Junior Alvarado, 15-1; Farmington Road, Javier Castellano, 15-1; Fore Left, Jose Ortiz, 30-1; Jungle Runner, Reylu Gutierrez, 50-1; Tiz the Law, Franco, 6-5; Dr Post, Irad Ortiz Jr., 5-1; Pneumatic, Ricardo Santana, 8-1.[br /][br /]For more information, please visit [url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL="nofollow"][/url].[br /][br /](The Associated Press contributed to this report)[br /][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""][h3]MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE[/h3][/url][br /][br /][b]abc7NY Phase Tracker: [/b][br /][iframe SRC="" HEIGHTSMALL="300" HEIGHTMEDIUM="540" HEIGHTLARGE="720" /][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="" REL=""][b]COVID-19 Help, Information. Stimulus and Business Updates[/b][/url][br /][br /][b]UPDATES [/b][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]New York City[/url][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]New Jersey[/url][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]Long Island[/url][br /]url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]Westchester and Hudson Valley[/url][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]Connecticut [/url][br /][br /][b]REOPENING INFORMATION[/b][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]What's Open, What's Closed[/url][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]Reopening New York State[/url][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]Reopening New Jersey[/url][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]Reopening Connecticut[/url][br /][br /][b]RELATED INFORMATION[/b][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]Share your coronavirus story with Eyewitness News[/url][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL=""]Stimulus check scams and other coronavirus hoaxes[/url][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL="nofollow"]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus[/url][br /][Ads /][br /][url HREF="" TARGET="_blank" REL="nofollow"]Total count of NYC, Long Island COVID-19 cases based on patient address[/url]