Several division leaders emerged over the weekend at Belmont Park, which took center stage on a national level with its Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. The headlining event gave us a true-blue Kentucky Derby (G1) threat, but several other horses showed off their skills as well. Let’s take a look at who made out Three Stars of the Week:
1. Tiz the Law
Several firsts were made on Saturday when the Belmont Stakes (G1) was run as the first leg of the Triple Crown for the first time in the race’s history. It was also held at a shorter 1 1/8 miles for the first time, and on top of it all, a 3-year-old beast named Tiz the Law became the first New York-bred horse in over 130 years to win the famed event. After he closely tracked the early pace from his outside position, Manny Franco kept Tiz the Law in the clear through the far turn and sent him to the front. The long-striding Constitution colt unleashed his powerful turn of foot in the stretch for a resounding score. He has clearly stamped himself as the top 3-year-old heading into the summer.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert does not ship to New York unless he believes he has a strong chance to win, so after a pair of sharp-looking efforts against lesser competition in California and Arkansas, he sent Gamine east for Saturday’s Acorn Stakes (G1). All she did was win by 18 3/4 lengths while completing the mile-long event in 1:32.55 – just 0.31 seconds behind the track record. She will very likely return to New York for future big-time stakes races this summer as she builds toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in early September.
Turf sprint races are so difficult to win if even the smallest thing goes wrong, so when Oleksandra was pinched back well off the rest of the pack, many immediately wrote off her chances in Saturday’s Jaipur Stakes (G1). She was still at the back when she turned for home, but Joel Rosario put her into top gear and she flew past the boys to win. She stamped her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) this fall at Keeneland, where she won last year’s Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (G3).