NEW YORK (AP) — Leading contender Tiz the Law breezed five furlongs Monday in preparation for the $1 million Belmont Stakes, which will kick off this year’s coronavirus-delayed thoroughbred Triple Crown in less than two weeks at Belmont Park.
Jockey Manny Franco was aboard when the 3-year-old got on the main track at 8:45 a.m. The bay son of Constitution covered five furlongs in 1:00:53 and galloped out three-quarters in 1:12.86 and seven-eighths in 1:25.28.
Trainer Barclay Tagg, who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2003 with Funny Cide but fell short in the Belmont, watched the workout. He said everything went according to plan in the colt’s penultimate breeze for the June 20 race.
The Triple Crown usually kicks off with the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, followed two weeks later by the Preakness in Baltimore. The Belmont typically is the final leg, run three weeks later in early June.
The virus changed those plans. The Derby has been postponed until Sept. 5 and the Preakness on Oct. 3. The Belmont, which was the last to reschedule, opted to run in June and at the shorter distance of 1 1/8 miles, instead of the usual 1 1/2 miles, for the first time.
The field for the Belmont lost a couple of highly touted contenders recently in trainer Bob Baffert’s injured duo of Nadal and Charlatan, as well as Grade 1-winner Maxfield, undefeated in three starts for trainer Brendan Walsh.
Among those this expected to run are Basin (trainer Steve Asmussen), Dr Post (Todd Pletcher), Farmington Road (Pletcher), Gouverneur Morris (Pletcher), Max Player (Linda Rice), Modernist (Bill Mott), Sole Volante (Patrick Biancone) and Tap It to Win (Mark Casse).
A first-time winner at Saratoga in August, Tiz the Law followed up with a four-length score in the Grade 1 Champagne in October at Belmont. He completed his juvenile campaign with a close third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club.
Tiz the Law opened his sophomore season at Gulfstream Park with a three-length score in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in February. Last out, he dominated the nine-furlong Grade 1 Florida Derby by 4 1/4 lengths on March 28.
“I’ve been doing this for 50 years,” Tagg said. “You don’t want to take anything for granted, but I just felt so good about the colt that I kept my attention on him and don’t worry about anyone else.”
In 2003, Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but finished third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes after setting the early pace.