Belmont Stakes (06/20/20)

Belmont Park, Race 10

It's not your ordinary Belmont Stakes, but nothing at all about the year 2020 has been ordinary. Sophomores will go 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs) in a one-turn event. Let's press pause on the various talking points surrounding the prominent runners of the field and use our Pace Figures and Form Cycle Patterns to assess a very important variable: Condition.

#1 Tap It To Win

Runner came onto the scene recently making the 3 year-old debut in May with a 79/74 NPT (New Pace Top). NPTs are especially meaningful earned off lay-offs as a positive conditioning indicator. As expected, this produced an improved final next out even while stretching the distance from 6F to 8.5F to a “compressed” 78/78. Back here in 16 days for a big test, trainers with fit runners should want to get back to the races to cash in peaking form. Tap It To Win owns the fastest Average 4F as well as Last 4F Figures of the field and should be prominently placed breaking from the rail.

#2 Sole Volante

Races back quick in 10 days off a 71/77 NPT and looks to take on a big race while in top form just as we seen in the rail runner but perhaps with a different style in mind. The preceding dirt spreads (4F minus Final) of -15 and -17 portray that of a deep closer running on late. The jump to -6 last out is an impressive one for this type of runner indicating an improved ability to sustain higher paces without sacrificing overall ability. The switch to Belmont Park can only benefit Sole Volante as this will go off as a one-turn event featuring a long backstretch. This gives Sole Volante ample time to comfortably track the pacesetters and slowly work his way into position. The track configuration will also offer a bigger, wider turn to work around lessening the speed advantage some runners enjoy at smaller tracks.

#8 Tiz The Law

Your Belmont favorite started the year with a bang notching a 77/81 DTOP instantly putting him on the Derby watch list. The following 70/76 was a regression Figure-wise as expected off a DTOP. Practically, however, the SOFT designation points out to us Tiz was able to win this race even with this regression in figures. Perhaps, a sign he had more energy to give had he needed to show it. The 81 Final is by far the best lifetime of this field, a figure that demands respect. However, plans had been laid out for a journey to the 1st week of May, and here is he is having to adapt to make a big run 3rd week of June instead. We'll have to weigh the value of how much we respect his known ability to reach 81 versus what value we may get on a rival poised to hit his own personal best.

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