Tiz The Law Delivers Redemption For New York Connections In 152nd Belmont Stakes - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Tiz The Law Delivers Redemption For New York Connections In 152nd Belmont Stakes

Manny Franco celebrates winning the Belmont Stakes with Tiz the Law

A deluge of rain at Belmont Park derailed the Triple Crown dreams of the gutsy gelding, Funny Cide, in 2003, but 17 years later Sackatoga Stable and trainer Barclay Tagg finally captured the elusive Belmont Stakes with a decisive 3 3/4-length victory by Tiz the Law. Their triumph in the 152nd running came in front of a nearly-empty grandstand and over a shortened distance of nine furlongs, punctuating an unprecedented year in which the Belmont has been run as the first of the three-race classic series.

The 2020 Belmont Stakes awards 150 Kentucky Derby points to the winner, virtually ensuring Tiz the Law a spot in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses, rescheduled for Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs. The colt leads the current point standings with 272, while Honor A. P. in second position has 120 points.

A New York-bred son of Constitution, Tiz the Law completed the one-turn, 1 1/8-mile contest in 1:46.53 over Belmont's fast main track, becoming the first New York bred to win the Belmont in over 100 years. The 4-5 post time favorite gave New York-based jockey Manny Franco his first win in the Triple Crown series.

Unbridled Stakes winner Dr Post finished second, with Withers winner Max Player closing from near the rear of the field to check in third, another 1 1/2 lengths back. Pneumatic, also up close early, finished another 2 1/2 lengths back in fourth.

Tagg had been preparing Tiz the Law for the Belmont since the colt won the G1 Florida Derby in late March, making the goal official as soon as the new Triple Crown dates were announced. The trainer worked his charge regularly at Palm Meadows in South Florida through the end of May, shipping him up to New York in early June and recording two local breezes over the Belmont main track.

“It looked to me like everything just went like clockwork,” Tagg said after the race. “That's the way the horse likes to run and that's the position the horse likes to be in. Manny [Franco] knows the horse very well. We discussed it quickly before I put him up on the horse and I felt very confident Manny would ride him that way.

“I felt pretty solid about halfway down the lane. It's a good feeling.”

When the gates opened for the first major sporting event since the coronavirus shutdowns, Tiz the Law was right up with the frontrunners but sensibly allowed Franco to ease him back into third position for the long run up the backstretch. As expected from his inside post position, the speedy Tap It To Win went straight to the front with a one-length advantage over Fore Left. Franco kept Tiz the Law in the clear three-wide, biding his time and watching the race unfold.

Tap It To Win set fractions of :23.11, :46.16, and 1:09.94, the Mark Casse-trained allowance winner looking comfortable under Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez. However, when Franco sent Tiz the Law after the leader with a three-wide bid in the far turn, Tap It To Win faltered.

Tiz the Law galloped by that rival and easily cleared the rest of the field, leaving the hard-charging Dr Post in his wake as he stretched toward the wire. Franco took a peek under his arm near the eighth pole to make sure no one was coming, then hand-rode his charge through the finish to win decisively by 3 3/4 lengths.

Dr Post had been mid-pack early in the race, and moved into third around the far turn but was no match for Tiz the Law in the lane. Max Player, second-last of the 10-horse field up the backstretch, closed well to finish third, just a half-length behind Dr Post. Pneumatic threatened briefly around the far turn, but couldn't keep pace when the others accelerated and had to settle for fourth.

The remaining order of finish was: Tap It To Win, Sole Volante, Modernist, Farmington Road, Fore Left, and Jungle Runner.

 “I was pretty confident by the time we hit the seven-eighths pole,” said Franco. “He was so kind and relaxed for me. He was so comfortable and never got keen, so I think that was the key.

“I got the horse for the [Kentucky Derby]. I'm very happy for the opportunity that the owner and trainer have given me; I'm in good hands. They know what they're doing and the horse is really good.

“I'm not going to lie I was little bit nervous [in the gate], but at the same time I was confident because I know what I have under me. Like I said, I'm in good hands with Barclay.

“It means a lot to me. This is my home track. I've riding here for about six years already. One leg of the Triple Crown is the dream of any jockey. I'm happy with the opportunity that I have right now.

“About the five-eighths pole, my horse was so relaxed, so calm. From there, I knew I had so much horse to win the race.

“He's really more mature right now. I'm in good hands with Barclay and he's been in this position before, so I trust him and he trusts me and that's all we need.

“I didn't want to be too far off with the way the track is playing right now. I knew that Casse's horse [Tap It To Win] was the one we wanted to beat so I didn't want to let him go to easy. I was in the position that I wanted.

“I took a peak back around the five-sixteenths, I didn't want to move early. I knew I had the horse underneath I was just waiting for the right time to move.”

Bred in New York by Twin Creeks Farm, Tiz the Law is out of the Grade 2-winning Tiznow mare Tizfiz. Her 2014 daughter by Tapit, Awestruck, was placed in multiple stakes races and ran out earnings of over $350,000, so the result of the mating to freshman stallion Constitution, by Tapit, drew some attention at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling sale, where he was consigned by Sequel New York.

Jack Knowlton, Sackatoga principle, secured the colt with a final bid of $110,000, and he rewarded the stable's faith with a debut victory and a second-out win in the G1 Champagne. Tagg and Knowlton opted to skip the Breeders' Cup with Tiz the Law, and brought him to Churchill Downs for the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club in late November only to see him finish third after being blocked in for part of the run around the turn.

Rested until February, Tiz the Law returned with a bang when he won the G3 Holy Bull by an easy three lengths over eventual Fountain of Youth winner Ete Indien. A rematch in the Florida Derby saw Tiz the Law successful once again, winning by 4 1/4 lengths this time.

Overall, the colt has won five of his six starts to earn just shy of $1.5 million.

“It's tremendous [to win the Belmont with a New York-bred],” said Knowlton. “We buy New York-breds, that's our game, and we don't spend a lot of money. We've been with Barclay Tagg for 25 years and I keep telling everybody, Barclay doesn't get a lot of big horses, big opportunities, but when he does he knows what to do. He's got his and Sackatoga's got theirs. Triple Crown, two different horses, two different years [Funny Cide, 2003], and not a lot of people can say that.”

“For a lot longer before that I was hoping to win the Belmont,” said Tagg. “Funny Cide got us close anyway and we topped it off with Tiz the Law here today.

“The long-range plan would be the Travers, the Derby and then the Preakness,” said Tagg. “After that, they'll probably want me to take him to the Breeders' Cup.”



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