VLT’s open at the Downs on Monday
By Scott Taylor (@staylorsports)
In this weird world of 2020, last has become first even in thoroughbred racing.
Historically, the Belmont Stakes is the final event in horse racing’s Triple Crown. However, in this, the Year of the Pandemic, the Belmont Stakes will become a prep race for the Derby — the first race in the Triple Crown.
And it is slated to go to post at legendary Belmont Park in Elmont, NY, at 4:42 p.m. CDT tomorrow as Tiz The Law heads into the race as the prohibitive favourite.
This year, the order of the Triple Crown has been completely messed up by the COVID-19 pandemic. The traditional order is Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, Preakness Stakes two weeks later and then the Belmont Stakes two weeks after that. It’s a gruelling five-week test of talent, stamina and will.
This year, the Belmont Stakes will be run on Saturday, the Kentucky Derby is slated for Sept. 5, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY, and the Preakness will go to post on Oct. 3, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
So now two weeks later than usual, the Belmont goes first and it will be different. There will be no spectators, the purse has been reduced from $1.5 million to $1 million and the race has been shortened from its traditional mile and a half to 1 1/8 miles.
It’s a perfect race for Tiz The Law. The favourite has already won $598,300 this year, he has a 117 Beyer speed figure and is coming off a dominating win in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby. Owned by Sackatoga Stable, the owners of former Kentucky Derby champion Funny Cide, trained by Barclay Tagg and ridden by Manny Franco, Tiz The Law has won both of his races this year and is 4-0-1 in five starts during his short career. He’s clearly the class of Saturday’s race.
Sole Volante at 9-2 will be tough and there is nothing wrong with Todd Pletcher’s Dr. Post at 5-1 or Tap It To Win at 6-1, but Tiz The Law is clearly the class of this 10-horse- field. If you’re looking for a longshot, I like Fore Left with Jose Ortiz in the irons. Here are Saturday’s starters and their post positions:
In this time of COVID-19, the best way to watch and wager on the race is to get an account with hpibet.com, place your bets and watch the race on its international telecast on NBC TV. However, if you want to get out, you can wager at Assiniboia Downs or at the OTBs at the Green Brier, Rookies Sports Bar in the Central Hotel and the Pembina Hotel.
The Belmont Stakes is just one of multiple stakes races at Belmont on Saturday. The “I won bigger” betting group will discuss and play the last six races at Belmont as well as the first Pick-5 at Woodbine. The workshop begins at 11:15 a.m. in the Downs Clubhouse.
And don’t forget, as part of the province’s Phase 3 relaxation of COVID-19 protocols, 60 of ASD’s 140 VLTs will be available for play on Monday. The usual hours will be in effect — 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.