NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Belmont Stakes’s 6-5 favourite Tiz the Law will break from the eighth post on Saturday, at the start of American horse racing’s prized Triple Crown.
Traditionally the third leg of the thoroughbred racing series, the Belmont will be the first Triple Crown race after the COVID-19 outbreak forced the postponement of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes to Sept. 5 and Oct. 3, respectively.
The race will be held without fans, in accordance with health and safety regulations, and with the distance shortened from 1-1/2 miles to 1-1/8.
Tiz the Law, a New York-bred colt, won his debut race by more than four lengths at Saratoga in August and won the Curlin Florida Derby in March.
“It could have been worse. I was hoping to get five to seven, something like that, we’ll take eight,” trainer Barclay Tagg told reporters.
Tagg previously trained Funny Cide, who won the Derby and Preakness but was denied the Triple Crown at Belmont in 2003.
“He does everything the way we ask him too, he seems to be very happy and content,” said Tagg.
Dr Post, a Todd Pletcher-trained horse widely considered the biggest challenge to Tiz the Law, will be in the ninth post position, while Tap It To Win is also expected to contend at 6-1 and will take first post position.
Max Player, one of the less experienced colts at 15-1 with just three career starts, won the Withers Stakes in February, and will break from the third position.
“I think Barclay and I were going to fight over number 5, 6 and 7,” said trainer Linda Rice. “He got the outside, I got the inside, but my horse is a closer, so I think that will work.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Ed Osmond)