By Nicholas Godfrey
Kentucky Derby favourite Tiz The Law (Barclay Tagg/Manny Franco) heads the field as the topsy-turvy Triple Crown of 2020 makes a belated start with the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
The 152nd edition of the New York Classic is unlike any other, however. The race known as ‘Test of the Champion’ is usually the final leg of the Triple Crown over 1m4f; thanks to coronavirus interruptions, in 2020 the $1 million contest is the first leg of the Triple Crown over 1m1f. And the last shall be first indeed.
Revised US Triple Crown for 2020
Florida Derby winner Tiz The Law is bidding to become the first New York-bred in 138 years to win the Belmont, the highlight of a 12-race card full of Graded stakes shown live in Britain on Sky Sports Racing.
Shall we talk about it?
Tap It To Win
“We’re the speed in the race so the rail shouldn’t hurt us as much as it might’ve hurt other horses in the race. He came out of his last race great. Initially the plan was to see if we could get his energy up coming back in two weeks, but the horse hasn’t missed a beat and is probably training better coming out of that race than he was going into it. We’re pretty excited.”
Jamie Begg (assistant trainer to Mark Casse)
“He’s very talented. He’s been very good for us and trains his best all the time. We’ll see how good he is Saturday. No question, Tiz the Law is the horse to beat, but he totally [deserves] this opportunity.”
Patrick Biancone (trainer)
“Nobody wants to come into the Triple Crown off a five-month layoff, but he’s trained well – he has improved dramatically in his training the past 60 days. I would prefer to be little further to the outside with a horse that doesn’t like kickback but we are where we are.”
Linda Rice (trainer)
“He’s a one-run horse; he likes to settle and come from off the pace. A true-run race would definitely be to his benefit but he’s training great into this race. I thought his breeze over the track was very good. It seems like he’s in good form at the moment.”
Todd Pletcher (trainer)
“His last two works over the track were exceptional. He’s settled in well over there and he has a win over the track. He’s just maturing into a really nice three-year-old and I think that a one-turn mile and an eighth is going to be great for him. He wouldn’t be up for a mile and a half right now.”
Doug O’Neill (trainer)
Tiz The Law
“Hopefully he’s as good as we think. You work every day seven days a week, you just hope nothing happens and nothing goes wrong. But so far, so good. We’re pleased with the way he’s been doing and we’re ready for the race. Nothing seems to faze him in any way. I’d have rather been a little closer [post position-wise], but I don’t think it makes much of a difference. He’s coming in good; I can’t be happier with him.”
Barclay Tagg (trainer)
“I think there’s a lot of talent there. I was very impressed by his maiden win. With the amount of adversity he overcame in the Unbridled, it seems like he’s made a lot of progress in a short period of time. He’s a big, strong horse that seems to be improving. This is a big jump up in class and he’s a little light on seasoning, but he seems to have the talent.”
Todd Pletcher (trainer)