Tiz the Law hot for Belmont

Pre-race 6-5 favourite to start from Gate 8 of 10 runners in revised first leg of US Triple Crown

Tiz the Law, drawn barrier eight, has been made the 6-5 favourite for the Belmont Stakes on Sunday (Singapore time).

The 152nd running of the Belmont Park classic in New York is now the first leg of a 2020 coronavirus-disrupted US horse racing Triple Crown.

The race distance has also been trimmed from 2,400m to 1,800m and delayed two weeks due to the deadly virus outbreak.

The pandemic has forced the Kentucky Derby, the usual Triple Crown opener at Churchill Downs in Louisville, from the first Saturday in May to Sept 5.

The Preakness, normally two weeks after the Derby, is set for Oct 3 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Tiz the Law, with four wins in five starts, is the only Grade 1 event winner in the 10-horse field, following his March 28 victory at the Florida Derby and triumph last October at Belmont in the Champagne Stakes.

Trained by the 82-year-old Barclay Tagg, with Manuel Franco aboard, the colt leaves from a gate that has produced only five winners in Belmont history.

"It could have been worse," said Tagg. "I was hoping to get five or six."

There will be no spectators at the race.

Also missing are a trio of three-year-old thoroughbreds who had plenty of attention before injuries - the Bob Baffert-trained Nadal and Charlatan as well as Maxfield.

Sole Volante, starting from the second gate, is second among the oddsmakers' darlings at 9-2.

Dr Post, third among favourites at 5-1, starts just outside Tiz the Law.

Tap It To Win, who gets pole position, is priced at 6-1.

Tagg is hoping to get the Belmont victory he couldn't pull off in 2003 with Funny Cide, which won the Derby and Preakness but couldn't close out a Triple Crown sweep.

"He does everything you ask him to. He is very happy and content," said Tagg of Tiz the Law.

"He likes this track, so I'm glad to be back here."

Linda Rice could become the first woman to train a Belmont Stakes winner with 15-1 shot Max Player.

Her charge will exit the third gate under jockey Joel Rosario, who won last year's Belmont aboard Sir Winston.

The longshots in the field are 30-1 underdog Fore Left, who will depart from Gate 6 and 50-1 dreamer Jungle Runner, exiting just inside of Tiz the Law. - AFP