With the break in racing this year, many of us Grand National fans were quite heartbroken when the race was cancelled. We know it was for a good reason but that doesn’t mean we weren’t disappointed. After all, Tiger Roll was on a for a third win and may have even surpassed the great Red Rum as one of the all-time champions of the race.
By the time racing resumed behind closed doors, the jumps season was all but over. Instead, some of us decided to switch our attention to the flat season. And although it may not have had it’s usual crowds and festivities, it was still a superb season of racing. ITV even gained record viewers for a number of the big meetings.
Across the pond and the Americans were also pulling back on their schedule. A huge number of their races were also canceled, however, they cleverly only postponed the Triple Crown races so it’s all still to play for in 2020.
Postponed Race Dates
The Triple Crown is awarded to any three-year-old thoroughbred that successfully manages to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes in a season.
With the 2020 schedule turned upside down only one of those races has now taken place. That was the Belmont Stakes which moved from June 6th to June 20th.
The Kentucky Derby has been moved from May 2nd to September 5th and the Preakness Stakes shifted from May 16th to October 3rd.
Three-year-old Tiz The Law bagged the Belmont Stakes for jockey Manuel Franco and trainer Barclay Tagg. The team will almost certainly be heading to Churchhill Downs for the Kentucky Derby in a couple of week’s time.
Should Tiz The Law win that race then he will go into the Triple Crown betting markets as the clear favourite for the Preakness Stakes.
Past Triple Crown Winners
If Tiz The Law can scoop the triple crown in 2020, he would be only the 14th horse in history to do so. The first to do it was Sir Barton back in 1919. And in the hundred years since, the names added to the list have been few and far between.
- 1919 Sir Barton
- 1930 Gallant Fox
- 1935 Omaha
- 1937 War Admiral
- 1941 Whirlaway
- 1943 Count Fleet
- 1946 Assault
- 1948 Citation
- 1973 Secretariat
- 1977 Seattle Slew
- 1978 Affirmed
- 2015 American Pharoah
- 2018 Justify
Justify was the last horse to accomplish the feat in 2018. He won all six of his starts and netted connections just under £3 million for those races. Interestingly, at 52 years old, his jockey Mike Smith became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.
Unfortunately, though, Neither American Pharoah nor Justify saw a penny of the Triple Crown bonus money. From 1987 there was a staggering $5 million bonus for any horse that could sweep the three races. That continued even when Visa took over sponsorship in 1995 for 10 years.
However, after years of wrangling about the distribution of sponsorship money, the New York Racing Association (Belmont Race) agreed on its own tv rights deal with ESPN. With the other two races still being broadcast by NBC, the divided broadcasting rights have meant no Triple Crown sponsor since 2006. And no sponsor means no bonus money!
It also means a massive dip in viewing figures. When the $5 million bonus was on the table, viewership of the races averaged 13 million. Since then, Belmont has seen figures slide to just 7 million. It would seem that simply winning the Triple Crown isn’t enough to keep the fans happy.
So can Tiz The Law write himself into the history books in 2020? Will he join the likes of Secretariat and Justify? Only time will tell. If he wins on September 5th he’s still in with a chance.