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Tiz the Law wins Belmont Stakes as odd Triple Crown season opens

The Belmont, postponed two weeks from its original date because of the novel coronavirus pandemic and shortened from 1½ miles to 1⅛, was the first of the three Triple Crown races this year for the first time. The Kentucky Derby is now scheduled for Sept. 5 — 11 weeks from now — and the Preakness is set for Oct. 3, 15 weeks from now.

This story will be updated.

Race preview

Thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Triple Crown will look nothing like any that have come before it. Instead of being the last race in the annual series, Saturday’s Belmont Stakes will serve as the first leg and be raced at a shorter distance than usual. Then, instead of the traditional two-week wait between races, the winner will have more than two months until the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5. The Preakness Stakes then will conclude things Oct. 3.

“It’s a little screwed up but it’s still the Triple Crown,” Jack Knowlton, head of the Sackatoga Stable partnership that owns Belmont Stakes favorite Tiz the Law, said in May. “Some people will complain it’s not the Triple Crown and if they want to put an asterisk on it, that’s fine. And if they don’t want to hold the horse who wins all three of the races in the same high regard as the other Triple Crown winners because he didn’t race the mile-and-a-half at the end, I get it and I’m okay with that. I would still love to win all three races.”

Here’s what you need to know about the race, which will be held without fans present at Belmont Park on Long Island.

TV/streaming: NBC’s coverage begins at 2:45 p.m. The network will stream the race at NBCSports.com and on its NBC Sports app.

Field (with morning-line odds)

  1. Tap It to Win (6-1)
  2. Sole Volante (9-2)
  3. Max Player (15-1)
  4. Modernist (15-1)
  5. Farmington Road (15-1)
  6. Fore Left (30-1)
  7. Jungle Runner (50-1)
  8. Tiz the Law (6-5)
  9. Dr Post (5-1)
  10. Pneumatic (8-1)

So it’s a shorter race than usual? Yes. The “Test of the Champion” usually is a grueling 1½-mile (12-furlong) lap around the track at Belmont Park, but this year’s race has been shortened to 1⅛ miles (nine furlongs) to “properly account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series and overall calendar for 3-year-olds in training,” the New York Racing Association said earlier this year.

“It was tough to ask developing 3-year-old horses to go that far after not racing for months,” NYRA chief executive David O’Rourke told the New York Times.

What else is different? Because of its temporary position as the first race of the Triple Crown, this year’s Kentucky Derby will be included in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, the system by which horses qualify for the Run for the Roses. The winner of Saturday’s race will receive 150 points — all but guaranteeing a spot at Churchill Downs in September — with 60 points to second, 30 to third, and 15 to fourth.

Does the Belmont Stakes have a cocktail? Why yes, it does: the Belmont Jewel. Back in 2016, we got some mixologists to make that drink even better, and here’s the recipe.

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