There were no fans or owners allowed on track. The “Test of the Champion” — the Belmont Stakes — was shortened from 1 1/2 miles to 1 1/8 miles. The 152nd Belmont was a Kentucky Derby qualifying points race and the first leg in the 2020 Triple Crown.
Despite so many abnormal factors in a most abnormal year, the best horse won. Heavily favored Tiz the Law, off since winning the Florida Derby in March,had a perfect stalking trip before drawing away to win the $1 million Belmont Stakes by nearly four lengths. Tiz the Law earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 for his victory.
The winner is trained by Barclay Tagg, who at age 82 became the oldest trainer to win the Belmont Stakes. Tagg trained Funny Cide for the same owners — New York based Sackatoga Stables -- to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2003, so Tiz the Law completed a personal Triple Crown for the trainer and the owners. Tiz the Law also became the first New York-bred to win the Belmont in over 100 years.
Dr Post, who raced in mid-pack early behind the eventual winner, finished steadily but was only second best. Max Player, making his first start since February, ran on late to be a non-threatening third.
Tiz the Law reportedly exited his Belmont victory in good shape. Plans are for one more start prior to the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby. The $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga will be run Aug. 8 and the 1 1/4 miles race will be the next stop for Tiz the Law if everything goes according to plan.
Gamine steals show
As impressive as Tiz the Law was winning the Belmont, Gamine had jaws dropping winning the Acorn Stakes for three-year-old fillies earlier on the card.
Gamine, trained by Bob Baffert, reportedly tested positive for lidocaine winning an Allowance race at Oaklawn Park in her previous start. A split sample is being tested per Baffert’s request and the results are pending. A subsequent ruling could include disqualification from her Oaklawn victory and a possible fine and/or suspension for Baffert depending on the split sample test results.
Given the cloud hanging over Gamine prior to the Acorn, her spectacular wire-to-wire, 18¾-length victory in a blazing 1:32.55 for the mile made quite a statement. For comparison purposes with Tiz the Law, Gamine earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 110 winning the Acorn.
Gamine is not nominated to the Triple Crown, so facing the males in the Kentucky Derby is not on her radar. The Kentucky Oaks is the major goal, with one final prep race likely. The seven-furlong Test Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 8 looks like a possible option.
Santa Anita ends, Los Al starts
After a tumultuous 2019 winter/spring meet, Santa Anita was hopeful to get back on a regular racing schedule under safe racing conditions in 2020. While the track surfaces proved more kind, the coronavirus pandemic and forced shutdown from March 27 to May 15 allowed Santa Anita to complete just 60 days of racing from over 100 days originally assigned.
All sources handle was down an estimated 17 percent from last year’s meet, and a lack of horse inventory forced Santa Anita to cut back to three days a week racing prior to the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. There were 527 races run during the 2019-2020 meet compared to 734 races for the same meet in 2018-2019.
Del Mar, which opens on July 10, recognizes the horse population problem and will race just three days a week for the first time. But prior to that, Los Alamitos has a seven-day summer thoroughbred meet that starts this week. Los Alamitos will run this Friday thru Sunday and plans to run Thursday July 2 through Sunday July 5 closing week.
The Grade III Los Alamitos Derby on July 4 will be a Kentucky Derby points qualifying race for the first time, with 20-8-4-2 points going to the first four finishers. First post time each day will be 1 p.m. PT.
Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Belmont Park Thursday, Race 6 — Singular Sensation (No. 3). Comebacker was last seen getting beat a neck by eventual multiple Stakes winner Ratajkowski at Saratoga last summer. She was nine lengths clear of the rest and should make short work of this field.