SNIDER: Belmont Stakes more bizarre than memorable

Rick Snider
June 18, 2020 - 11:32 am
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Tap It to Win will win Saturday's 152nd Belmont Stakes over heavy favorite Tiz the Law. And then we'll forget all about it.
 
Like everything else in 2020, the Triple Crown has gone crazy. The traditional last leg is instead going first and covering just 1 1/8th miles instead of its usual 1½ miles.

The field has only one major runner who went the traditional Kentucky Derby route that was quickly abandoned by the COVID-19 shutdown. Trainer Bob Baffert isn't here and just one super stable has a runner, and that's only because it's New York based. Meanwhile, half the field is running for a third-place check.
 
But, at least sports return even if the cavernous Belmont Park will have no one live watching rather than its usual 90,000-plus fans.

Thoroughbred racing has been operating regularly before no crowds because it's gaining even more betting online with other major sports closed. Still, running a marquee event with no railbirds chirping seems wrong. The Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 and Preakness Stakes on Oct. 3 haven't announced whether crowds will be permitted in their first fall runnings ever.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Hear the Belmont Stakes LIVE on 106.7 The Fan starting at 4:30 PM!
 
The Belmont is largely a two-horse race between Tiz the Law and Tap It to Win. Tiz the Law is 2-0 this year, winning the Florida Derby and Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park that are traditional Derby warmups.
 
Meanwhile, Tap It to Win is also 2-0 against modest competition, including a $66,000 allowance race on June 4 at Belmont. Starting in post position one, he could simply get the early lead while Tiz the Law comes over from post 8 in the field of 10. Tiz the Law can stalk the early leader with enough late run to win, but given the shorter race, maybe Tap It to Win has enough left to win at 6 to 1 odds. It looks like a stone cold exacta box.
 
Triples players have a few choices. It's the only way to make any money given the exacta pays maybe $15. Farmington Road, Sole Volante and Dr Post could grab third, but Farmington Road offers the most value.
 
Overall, it's the quietest two minutes of sports. Will this Belmont be memorable? Only to the trivia experts.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks

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