Updated: June 20, 2020 @ at 5:20 PM EST
The first leg of the Triple Crown is set for this Saturday June 20th at Belmont Park. Yes, it seems strange that the third leg of the Triple Crown is now the first leg. But we will take them in any order we can get at this point. The Coronavirus pandemic pushed the Kentucky Derby from the first Saturday in May to September 5th and the Preakness Stakes was moved to October 3rd.
Below are the post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds. Post time is 5:45 PM EST. The race will be televised on NBC with coverage beginning at 3 PM EST.
2020 Belmont Stakes – 1 1/8th mile
Post Position/ Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Tap It to Win – Velazquez/Casse – 6/1
2. Sole Volante – Panici/Biancone – 9/2
3. Max Player – Rosario/Rice – 15/1
4. Modernist – Alvarado/Mott – 15/1
5. Farmington Road – Castellano/Pletcher – 15/1
6. Fore Left – J.Ortiz/O’Neill – 30/1
7. Jungle Runner – Gutierrez/Asmussen – 50/1
8. Tiz the Law – Franco/Tagg – 6/5
9. Dr Post – I. Ortiz Jr/Pletcher – 5/1
10. Pneumatic – Santana Jr/Asmussen – 8/1
Race Analysis: With the race distance being shortened from 1 1/2 mile (12 furlongs) to 1 1/8th mile (9 furlongs), the 2020 Belmont Stakes now becomes a one-turn race instead of a two-turn race. This favors speed and immaturity over endurance and experience. Tiz the Law is the morning line favorite and the Florida Derby winner is the most proven in the field.
Overall, I think this will be a race come down to a duo between Tap it to Win and Tiz the Law. Tiz the Law hasn’t raced since March 28th which concerns me. I would have liked to have seen him race a 6 or 7-furlong race in the past four weeks as a tune-up to build my confidence in him here in this spot. I have no doubts that he has improved and gotten stronger since the Florida Derby. However, my race favorite is Tap it to Win. He won in his last start, a 1 1/16th mile race on June 4th at Belmont Park, so he has no issues with the track. Plus, he didn’t have to ship in like some other horses in the field.
The Tapit Factor: Tap it to Win’s sire is Tapit and Tapit’s progeny run very well at Belmont Park. In the last six Belmont Stakes races, Tapit’s progeny have produced three wins (Tonalist, Creator & Tapwrit) and two 2nd place finishes (Frosted & Tacitus). Tiz the Law’s sire was Constitution, also a progeny of Tapit
My early picks:
Win bet: I’d split win bets between #1 Tap it to Win and #8 Tiz the Law to be on the safe side. I will wait to see the live odds before post time but for a $100 bet, I’d go $70 on #8 and $30 on #1 for now and adjust with the live odds. At 6/5 odds for Tiz the Law, a $70 win bet would pay back $154 and a $30 win bet on Tap it to Win at 6/1 odds would pay back $210.
I also like a 1 over 8 boxed exacta but I will probably key the 1 horse over the 8 horse.
Update: The vast majority of the experts are picking Tiz the Law to win the Belmont Stakes. If this was the traditional 12 furlong Belmont Stakes version, Tiz the Law would be my pick. But I don’t think he should be such a slam dunk at 9 furlongs. I like him too but have some concerns. His Florida Derby time was kind of slow at 1:50 flat. Slower than his sire’s time Constitution at 1:49.16. Tap it to Win is still my favorite to win the Belmont Stakes.
Tap it to Win is a speed horse on the rail and speed has been playing well at Belmont Park. Tiz the Law has tactical speed. How will Tiz the Law fare after a long layoff? Will Tiz the Law be rusty? Will Tap it to Win peter out going longer after a 16 day rest? I have concerns with both.
My specialty is the 20 horse field of the Kentucky Derby. I am not sure how I will fare today in this jumbled order of Triple Crown races in the Belmont Stakes with a 10 horse field. I feel like a fish out of water. This would have been easier the first Saturday of May. But it is what it is.
I will update this blog clear up until post-time in case there are any scratches or the weather changes. Right now, weather.com shows it will be mostly sunny with temps in the 70s and a 20% chance of rain.
Also note that I am on Twitter and I use that medium more for last minute selections. You can follow and add me at https://twitter.com/totallyfearless
Here is a link to free Past Performances bel0620y6-17