Saturday, June 20, 2020

By Bob Ehalt /BloodHorse

When the 152nd Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) was finally decided late in the day June 20, the outcome was rather predictable.

Twin Creeks Farm bred, Tiz the Law,  lived up to every single one of his press clippings and pulled away to a decisive 3 3/4-length victory over Dr Post for jockey Manny Franco and trainer Barclay Tagg in the $1 million stakes as a 4-5 favorite.

"It looked to me like everything went like clockwork," Tagg said after the winner's first start since a victory in the March 28 Curlin Florida Derby (G1). Yet when you take a step back and ponder the
 achievement by the New York-bred son of Constitution and the circumstances around it, what happened Saturday at Belmont Park may never be duplicated.

At least that's the hope.

An impressive victory put an exclamation point on a day filled with question marks for the past few months.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Belmont Stakes was pushed back two weeks from its original date of June 6. With the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) moved to Sept. 5 and the Preakness Stakes (G1) finding a temporary home on Oct. 3, the Belmont Stakes jumped to the head of the line and became the initial leg of the Triple Crown for the first time in the long and storied history of the series.

The Belmont Stakes was also cut back from 1 1/2 miles to 1 1/8 miles, making the longest Triple Crown test the shortest of the three.
By winning, Tiz the Law became the only horse capable of winning the Triple Crown, but to do so, the colt bred by Twin Creeks Farm will have to overcome the series' longest time frame: 105 days between Saturday and Oct. 3. 

And with no spectators in the huge Belmont Park facility, it felt more like a Thursday afternoon card in the pre-pandemic days than the setting for a nationally televised American classic.

Speaking of time, unlike traditional Triple Crown chases when the Preakness comes up in two weeks, Tiz the Law's next stop in an undefeated 3-year-old season will come seven weeks from now in the 1 1/4-mile Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 8 at Saratoga Race Course, and after that there's the Kentucky Derby. Considering how well Tiz the Law handled a 12-week layoff Saturday, Knowlton believes Tagg can keep the multiple grade 1 winner on the right track, even if the wait is months rather than weeks.

The victory kept Tiz the Law undefeated at 3 and lifted his record to five wins in six starts, including a victory in the Champagne Stakes (G1) last year at 2, with earnings of $1,480,300.

Tiz the Law is out of the Tiznow mare Tizfiz who is also the dam of stakes-placed Awestruck. Tizfiz has a 2-yr-old filly by Mission Impazible named Angel Oak and a yearling colt by Mission Impazible.


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