It is time to preview the first Triple Crown race of the season and both our editor and in-house handicapper are finding it tough to look anywhere else but in Tiz the Law's direction...
Sean's Take (as originally posted in his Belmont Pick-5 Column):
I’m not playing against the likely heavy favorite Tiz the Law (#8) in the Belmont. This horse has been a star since Day 1 on the track, and though he has one minor blemish showing in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club to close out his 2-year-old campaign, he’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was a fluke. I thought his race in the G1 Florida Derby last out was sensational and far better than it appears on paper as the track at Gulfstream Park that day was heavily favoring inside runners. Tiz the Law went wide around both turns and still dusted his competition with ease. He’s already shown an affinity for Belmont via his win in the G1 Champagne last year and is ideally drawn toward the outside. It may not be a sexy pick, but I think he’s going to win this race.
I believe Tap It to Win (#1) is the main danger to the favorite. This horse was a revelation last summer at Saratoga when he overcame a dead rail to steamroll a field of maidens going six furlongs on dirt. The promise he showed that day quickly evaporated in his next start, however, when he finished up the track in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, and was then completely extinguished in his 2-year-old finale with another dismal effort in the Street Sense at Churchill Downs. Just when all hope seemed lost, he returned to the races in style in 2020, handily beating a group of Florida-breds at Gulfstream, and he then took another step forward in his most recent start when he ran a quality allowance field off their feet at Belmont. His last race was super impressive and makes him an obvious contender in this race, my only worry is that he may face pace pressure from Fore Left. Still, he has a world of talent and should be taken very seriously.
I was a big fan of Pneumatic (#10) heading into the G3 Matt Winn and all in all I thought he ran a fine race to be third. He’s probably not a legitimate win candidate in this spot as Tiz the Law and maybe even Tap It to Win are superior horses to the ones he just faced, but he seems like a solid bet to be in the mix and still has plenty of upside. He was also forced into a pace-pressing role in the Matt Winn and there’s a possibility he’s better coming from off the speed.
Main: 8 Backup: 1,10
Order of preference: 8-1-10-9
As my colleague Sean has said above, Tiz the Law (#1) is the class of the field and in all honesty it isn’t even that close. His three-year-old campaign is completely unblemished and he hasn’t had it easy in any of those races. This is always a sign of a good horse who doesn’t panic and can work his way back and still win without too much aggravation.
Yet it would be easy to just say he’ll get the job done and walk away. At 6/5 on the Morning Line, that price is basically a gift and it has clearly been set expecting money to pile in on him. I see little chance that he’ll be that price come post time so where is the value deeper in the field?
One horse Sean didn’t name who I think might be a legitimate contender is Sole Volante (#2). He’s already won the Grade III Sam F. Davis and whilst beaten as a 6/4f at the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby, it was 49/1 outsider King Guillermo who shocked everybody that day and that is the best three-year-old who was off the radar to start the season. Losing to him isn’t anywhere near as bad as it looked back then. Racing just last week might not be ideal but he has the quality to give Tiz the Law a real scare.
I’m sitting here desperately trying to find a way to oppose Tiz the Law but boy it really is tough. Dr Post has been seeing some looks but not for me and I’m not that impressed by Pneumatic.
So I’m with Sean. Tiz the Law despite the short price is not just the favorite but a big time favorite for the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes.