NEW YORK (AP) — Eerily empty stands. Hidden camel jockeys. The shutters of paris windows.
For Tiz the Act trainer Barclay Tagg, no better way to complete a career Triple Crown.
“I’m not trying to be a jerk about it,” the 82-year-old said. “But I thought the quiet was, for me, very nice.”
Everything was strange about this Belmont Stakes, with the exception of the winner.
Heavily favored Tiz the Law will not be without precedent Belmont, claiming victory on Saturday during the first race of a rejiggered the Triple Crown, the annex, which was held by the fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 3-year-old colt from the state of New York responsible for the head turning for the house and can now set his sights on the Seven. 5 Kentucky Derby and Oct. 3 the Preakness. All three legs this year, the Triple Crown, the schedule has been postponed due to the sars coronavirus pandemic. Belmont, usually the series capper, was originally scheduled for 6 June.
Tiz the Law was given in New York, a hometown champion in her first major sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic entered the region. It is the first New York bred horse to win the Belmont since Forester in 1882.
“It’s a lot smaller crowd, that’s for sure,” said owner Jack Knowlton, who watched from a restaurant patio in the familiar surroundings of Saratoga Springs.
The 4-5 favorite won by 3 3/4 lengths, covering the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.53. Dr. Post has finished second and Max third Player.
The race was shortened from the usual 1 ½ – mile of the standard to take account of competitors unusual training schedules. The horses started from a starting gate, placed at the top of the backstretch, rather than in front of the stands.
In most every way, this Belmont States was different from all the 151 which has preceded it. The Long Island rail can pack in close to 100,000, but this race had about 100 on hand, including the jockeys, the media and the staff of the park.
The masks were mandated for all, but the horses — even the jockeys were wearing face coverings.
Closed to the public since the month of March, Belmont Park barely resembled the summer evening, New Yorkers are used to. The betting windows and gifts, the shops were closed, not a single boozy Belmont Breeze sip.
The foot traffic was so slow that a few weeds over a foot tall, had sprouted between the paving bricks in the track of the side of the pavilion.
Silence in the 115-year-old place has been broken when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued the traditional “riders up!” call to a remote location via the video. Long-time bugler Sam Grossman pulled down his mask of type “Function Call”, and the horses were walking on the track for recording of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” A pa announcer introduced them to empty the stands.
Signs outside the locked place in charge the players that if they wanted to bet on the Belmont Stakes, their best bet is to download an app and do it on their phone.
May be a harbinger of welcome to Faucet to Gain, which leads to the outside of the door and seemed ready to give trainer Mark Casse a third straight Triple Crown race victory.
Instead, Tiz the Law powered in front of him on the outside, and cruised to the victory.
“Everything went like clockwork,” Tagg said.
Knowlton, from the New York Sackatoga Stable, noted the race was a little different than 17 years ago, when the Sackatoga crew took a school bus to watch their colt Funny Cide attempt to apply it to a Triple Crown sweep at Belmont Park. Funny Cide finished third of the day.
It was also a breakthrough win for Tagg, who completed a career Triple Crown after training Funny Cide.
“This is big,” Knowlton said. “We just bought New York-breds, it is our game. We don’t have to spend a lot of money. We have been with Barclay Tagg for 25 years. I have to tell everyone of Barclay does not get a large number of horses, and great possibilities, but when it happens, he does not know what to do.”
Tagg said he wasn’t sure if Tiz the Right to remove up to the final of the 100 metres. The colt paid$ 3.50, $2.90 and$2.60.
“I’m just glad I’ve lived long enough that I got another horse like this,” Tagg said.
Manny Franco, a 25-year-old jockey from Puerto Rico, came in the winners circle in his first career Belmont Stakes. He called Tiz the Law a “ versatile” horse in the race for the race, and what he showed on Saturday was typical of the stem of the pacemaker at the beginning, and then pounce on the home stretch.
“It means a lot to me,” Franco said. “This is my home track. I’ve ridden here for about six years already. A step of the Triple Crown is the dream of every jockey. I am glad of the opportunity I have right now.”
Dr. Post, owned by Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola and trained by Todd Pletcher, paid $5.80 and $4.20. Max Player returned $5.20, among the highest finish by a woman-trained horse — Linda Rice has been trying to become the first woman to ever send a horse to victory in a Triple Crown race.
Many stayed on the line. Tiz the Law won Knowlton the top share of a $1 million purse and the first four horses won the Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
Tiz the Law has taken advantage of the 10-horse field, weakened by injuries. Among the victims were two potential participants of the famous trainer Bob Baffert, who finished without a horse in this race — one of them, a Quack, is expected to run the Preakness.
Earlier Saturday, the Kid drove all the way to winning the $300,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year fillies of 18 3/4 lengths.
Trained by Baffert, the Kid ran a mile in 1:32.55 euros, the fastest in the 90-year history of the race. Her time was just off the track record of 1:32.24 set by Najran in 2003. The kid earned 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks on Sept. 4 at Churchill Downs.
Gamine is one of two horses trained by Baffert who has tested positive to a prohibited substance, to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. She has won a race there on May 2. Published reports said the Kid, with a Quack, have been tested positive for lidocaine, a regulated anesthetic widely used in equine medicine.
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