Most Americans sympathize with protests over the death of George Floyd and disapprove of President Donald Trump’s hard line against the unrest, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Police and protesters clashed in Portland early Wednesday and tensions were high in New York City, but protests in most major cities Tuesday night were relatively calm. Many cities intensified their curfews, with authorities in New York and Washington, D.C., ordering people off streets while it was still daylight.
In Los Angeles, Police Chief Michel Moore apologized for his remark Monday that the death of Floyd, an African American father who died on Memorial Day during a confrontation with Minneapolis police, is “on the hands” of those encouraging criminal acts at protests. Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday faced calls to fire Moore.
At least 9,300 people have been arrested in protests around the country, according to a tally by the Associated Press. Los Angeles has recorded 2,700 arrests, followed by New York with about 1,500.
A closer look at some recent developments:
- Roxie Washington, the mother of Floyd’s daughter, gave her first public comments since his death. She tearfully lamented that he’ll miss their 6-year-old’s future milestones, like graduating and getting married.
- A California police officer is on leave and under investigation after viral videos show his ‘disturbing’ behavior and misconduct towards protesters in San Jose.
- Six Atlanta police officers are facing charges over an incident caught on video where they are seen using stun guns and forcefully removing two college students from a car.
Remembering George Floyd: Memorial services, funeral to be held in Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas.
Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for the Daily Briefing. Here’s the latest news:
Lawsuit: Minnesota officers’ treatment of journalists ‘tramples Constitution’
Police in Minnesota violated journalists’ constitutional rights when officers pepper sprayed, fired rubber bullets at or otherwise attacked, injured or arrested members of the press covering recent protests, a class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges. The suit claims that a pattern of attacks on journalists carried out by the Minneapolis Police Department and the Minnesota State Patrol “tramples on the Constitution.”
Jared Goyette, the named plaintiff in the suit, is a freelance journalist who says police shot him in the face with a less-lethal ballistic ammunition a week ago. The police and State Patrol did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
– Ryan W. Miller
Chicago eases restrictions, opens up downtown
The city began returning to normal on Wednesday, with drawbridges lowering and restaurants reopening downtown. Authorities had effectively isolated downtown from the rest of the city by raising the bridges and posting police and national guardsmen at checkpoints, but those had been removed as of Wednesday morning. Although there were scattered reports of looting across the city, things appear to have calmed significantly, especially as light rain fell as the day dawned.
Like many cities, Chicago was dealing with a double whammy of coronavirus and protests, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said business owners felt strongly that re-opening on Wednesday was the right thing to do.
– Trevor Hughes
LA mayor backs police chief amid calls to fire him
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed confidence in Police Chief Michel Moore, despite Moore’s comments equating looters to the police officers responsible for the death of George Floyd. Moore has apologized and is fending off calls for his firing after likening looters in the city to those responsible for George Floyd’s death.
“We didn’t have people mourning the death of this man, George Floyd,” Moore said Monday. “We had people capitalizing. His death is on their hands, as much as it is those officers.”
On Tuesday, more than 1,000 protesters marched through the streets of Hollywood, and several hundred demonstrated downtown, at times kneeling en masse and at others calling for Moore’s resignation. Moore tweeted out an apology and reiterated his regret at a Police Commission meeting on Tuesday, saying he misspoke.
“If I believed for a moment that the chief believes that in his heart, he would no longer be our chief of police. I can’t say that any stronger,” Garcetti said.
– Jordan Culver
64% of Americans sympathetic to protesters; 55% reject Trump stance
Almost two-thirds of American adults were “sympathetic to people who are out protesting right now,” while 27% said they were not and 9% were unsure, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Monday and Tuesday. More than 55% of Americans said they disapproved of Trump’s efforts, including 40% who “strongly” disapproved, while just one-third said they approved. That’s lower than his overall job approval of 39%, the poll showed.
Trump has been pressing mayors and governors to crack down on the protests, threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy federal troops to states.
Tension but less violence in New York City
Thousands of protesters marched in Manhattan and Brooklyn on Tuesday night in defiance of an 8 p.m. curfew but with less violence and damage than the city absorbed one night earlier. Gov. Andrew Cuomo had urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to call in the National Guard after Monday night’s unrest. The mayor declined. The safety concerns and political squabbles diverted much of the attention away from the message sent by thousands of people, including Eloise Paterson, who says she’s worries about her son if he is stopped by police.
“I’m terrified if my son just goes out for a jog,” said Paterson, a 54-year-old African American. “I hope people realize that this isn’t about the looting. The looters have nothing to do with us. We are out here because we want our children to be safe.”
– Christopher Maag, NorthJersey.com
Curfew lifted, violence erupts in Portland
A peaceful protest that drew thousands to downtown Portland devolved into chaos hundreds of demonstrators attempted to tear down protective fencing and hurled bottles, bats and batteries at police officers, Chief Jami Resch said Wednesday. Police declared an unlawful assembly and set off flash-bang grenades and tear gas to quell the disturbance. No tally of arrests was immediately available. Mayor Ted Wheeler had canceled an 8 p.m. curfew earlier Tuesday citing Monday night’s peaceful rally..
“There are many thousand of you who are not involved in the violence and destruction, and I thank you,” she said. “I know the others who are engaged in criminal acts do not represent you.”
Pope says world cannot turn ‘a blind eye to racism’
Pope Francis says he has “witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest’’ in the U.S. and called for national reconciliation.
“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,’’ the pope said during his weekly Wednesday audience, held in the presence of bishops due to coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.
At the same time, the pontiff warned “nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.’’
California police officer on leave for ‘disturbing’ behavior toward protesters
A California police officer is on leave and under internal investigation after multiple viral videos showed his frivolous behavior toward demonstrators last week in the wake of George Floyd’s death, local officials said.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo called the videos “disturbing” during a news briefing on Sunday, and Police Chief Eddie Garcia said the officer, Jared Yuen, would “be accountable for his actions and will have to deal with the consequences.”
One video shows Yuen grinning into a demonstrator’s camera while swaying side-to-side. A second video shows Yuen telling a demonstrator to “shut up, bitch” just moments before firing his projectile launcher at protesters. Another video shows him saying, “Let’s get this (expletive).” A protester in the background responds by saying: “This is funny to them. They have smiles on their faces.”
– Jessica Flores
More protest coverage from USA TODAY
Mother of Floyd’s daughter speaks out about her loss
The mother of George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter lamented that he’ll miss the girl’s future milestones, like graduating and getting married, in her first public comments since he died in police custody May 25.
From a podium at the city hall in Minneapolis, where Floyd moved from Houston seeking better work opportunities, Roxie Washington said she wanted to speak up for him and their daughter Gianna, who joined her. Washington also said she wants justice for Floyd.
“He’ll never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle,” said Washington, who struggled to fight back tears. “If there’s a problem she’s had and needs her dad, she does not have that anymore.”
– Mark Emmert
Business owners express frustration, solidarity with protesters
Several dozen Milwaukee businesses, some already weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic, face a difficult recovery after being burglarized and damaged during civil unrest. They included three small grocery stores, multiple mobile-phone stores, a Walgreen’s pharmacy and a clothing shop on the city’s north side over the weekend.
Some of the businesses remained closed Monday, while others reopened with boarded windows and doors. Civic leaders and social activists denounced the property losses. “The rioting and the looting have got to end now. It’s hurting everyone in the community,” said Darryl Farmer with the Black Panthers of Milwaukee.
Charnjit Kaur, who has a Metro PCS phone store and a clothing shop in Milwaukee, said her businesses had $100,000 in losses from looters who kicked in the doors and windows and stole nearly everything.
Nas Sarsour, who owns a Cricket Wireless reopened Monday, said he supported the protests, but that the looting made things worse in a neighborhood already struggling with job losses in the pandemic. “People have the right to be angry. They have the right to protest. But they don’t have the right to come and break into local businesses,” he said.
– Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
ABC show ‘Black-ish’ re-airs 2016 police brutality episode
As the country confronts police brutality and mistreatment of black people in the wake of Floyd’s killing, ABC rebroadcast a groundbreaking 2016 episode of “Black-ish” on Tuesday that confronted those troubling issues.
“Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris spoke about the timely re-airing of the episode in an Instagram post Tuesday, saying it’s “been 1,562 days since we first shared that episode with the world and it breaks my heart on so many levels that this episode feels just as timely as it did then and eerily prescient to what’s happening to black people in this country today.”
– Patrick Ryan and Bill Keveney
GOP senators criticize Trump: ‘Word of God as a political prop’
Republican senators were split on President Donald Trump’s decision Monday to push back protesters from an area surrounding the White House so he could visit a historic church across the street to take a photo with a Bible.
“I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said in a statement. “While there is no right to riot or destroy property, he said, there is a “fundamental — a Constitutional — right to protest.”
Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate’s sole black Republican, said he did not approve of the move.
“As it relates to the tear gas situation and the Bible… it’s not something that I thought was helpful or what I would do without any question,” he told Politico. “If your question is: Should you use tear gas to clear a path so the president can go have a photo op? The answer is ‘no.'”
– Christal Hayes
Six Atlanta officers charged in incident with college students
Six Atlanta police officers seen on video forcefully pulling two young college students out of their car during Saturday protests have been charged, mostly with aggravated assault, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said. Two of the officers, investigators Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, were fired Sunday. The incident was caught on body cam video and denounced by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Messiah Young and his girlfriend Taniyah Pilgrim were caught in traffic Saturday night during protests over George Floyd’s killing when they were approached by the officers yelling commands. The video shows the officers using stun guns on the couple, breaking the car window with a baton and yanking out both students, who are heard screaming and asking what was happening.
“We understand that our officers are working very long hours under an enormous amount of stress, but we also understand that the use of excessive force is never acceptable,” Bottoms said.
More news about the George Floyd protests
Contributing: The Associated Press; Jessica Flores and Erick Smith, USA TODAY
Trump’s Tulsa rally: Lighter-than-expected crowds and other takeaways
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump held his first campaign rally since March in Tulsa, Oklahoma Saturday following days of speculation about the impact the event would have on spreading the coronavirus and how large the crowd would be.
The president used the opportunity to brag about his coronavirus response while downplaying its current threat, slam the media and some of his Democratic rivals, as well as to defend confederate statues.
Here are some of the takeaways from Trump’s rally:
Smaller crowd in attendance, majority did not wear mask
Trump’s rally to revive his campaign during the coronavirus pandemic boasted a smaller crowd than his usual campaign events, with much of the upper sections of the 19,000-seat BOK Center stadium remaining empty.
An overcrowd event outside was cancelled and broken down by Secret Service before the president started speaking inside, due to low attendance.
Prior to the event, the Trump campaign had boasted one million tickets were requested, and Trump predicted there would not be an empty seat.
Trump’s campaign blamed the low turnout for the rally, as well as the scratched event, on “radical protesters” as well as members of the media, who they claimed “attempted to frighten off the President’s supporters.”
Journalists on the ground have refuted seeing large numbers of individuals turned away because of rowdy protesters.
Trump, who often kicks off his campaign rallies by crowing about the size of the crowd, was forced to use his high stakes rally to explain why turnout was less than expected.
Echoing a line from his campaign manager, Trump blamed the smaller than expected crowds on media coverage leading up to the event, and blamed protesters for his decision to not deliver expected remarks at the scheduled outdoor overflow event.
“You are warriors,” Trump told the crowd, suggesting that they had turned out despite the coverage leading up to the rally. “I’ve been watching the fake news for weeks now. And everything is negative. Today it was like, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Additionally, the majority of attenders did not wear masks despite the campaign handing them out. However, they were not enforced. Several U.S. lawmakers in attendance did not wear masks, as well.
‘I did a phenomenal job’
Trump shrugged off the looming threat from the coronavirus, despite several states reporting record-high numbers of cases and hospitalizations in the past few days, including Oklahoma.
Local health officials had called for the rally to be postponed out of concern about the spread of the virus.
He continued to boast of his administration’s response to the pandemic, and again blamed China for spreading the virus.
“We – I – did a phenomenal job with it,” Trump declared.
Trump said he told his administration, “slow the testing down, please” reiterating his argument that higher test numbers led to higher case counts.
He imitated a doctor talking about a 10-year-old with “sniffles” who would conclude “that’s a case!”
The president said the governor of New Jersey told him only one person under the age of 18 died, which the president said shows that young people have a “great immune system”
“Let’s open the schools please!” he said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a member of the president’s coronaivrus task force, said earlier this week while more testing does result in more cases, the recent surge in some states “cannot be explained by increased testing.”
The president at one point also called COVID-19 the “kung flu” and the “Chinese virus.”
“It’s a disease without question,” Trump told the audience. “I can name 19 different versions of names. Many call it a virus, which it is. Many call it a flu. What’s the difference?”
Public health officials have discouraged terms that associate a pandemic with a place. Trump frequently used “Chinese virus” in the early weeks of the pandemic but stopped using it as frequently.
One of his own advisers, Kellyanne Conway, in March called reports of a White House official referring to the coronavirus as the “kung flu” as “highly offensive.”
COVID-19 deaths neared 120,000 Saturday in the U.S.
‘Demolish our heritage’: Trump defends Confederate statues
Trump’s rally, just a day after Juneteenth and located in a city with the site of one of the worst race massacres in US history, defended confederate monuments around the country.
Trump claimed the left and protesters only desired “to demolish our heritage” as demonstrators have been tearing down confederate statues following weeks of protests over racial injustice.
Protesters continue to target historical symbols of the Confederacy. Late Friday, protesters in Washington, D.C., and in Raleigh, North Carolina, toppled statues.
The protests were sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man whose neck was pinned under the knee of a white police officer for nearly nine minutes in May.
Trump barely spoke about race, and did not mention Floyd.
Trump targets Democratic politicians and critics
Trump used his rally to hit back at some of his Democratic critics, including DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.
The president swiped at Bowser for the Black lives Matter demonstrations in Washington, D.C, and Ocasio-Cortez for her environmental views.
Bowser responded, tweeting that there’s “a lot of empty room” in Trump’s head, “just like tonight’s half empty Tulsa arena.”
Trump called Omar a “hate-filled America-bashing socialist” whose goal is to make America “just like the country from which she came, Somalia. No government, no police, no safety, no nothing.”
Omar, a representative from Minnesota, fled Somalia as a refugee and has been a citizen since she was 17. Her father died from COVID-19 a few days ago.
Miami Dolphins great Jim Kiick dies at 73
Jim Kiick, one-third of what NFL Network called “The Perfect Backfield” and one-half of the Dolphins’ legendary “Butch and Sundance” tandem with Larry Csonka, died Saturday.
He was 73.
The Dolphins on Saturday evening announced the death of Kiick, who in recent years battled memory issues and resided in an assisted living facility.
His daughter, Allie, an accomplished tennis player, on Thursday wrote a post on social media saying she’d been informed that her father was “declining rapidly.” For months, she was not permitted to visit his room because of the coronavirus pandemic, although it’s unclear if Kiick was tested for the disease.
“I miss my dad,” she wrote. “Every time I see him, he says, ‘I miss you.’ It’s pretty hard when you’re sitting on the outside of the glass and you can’t do anything to cheer him up. He’s lost the spark in his eyes as would anyone in his situation.”
Although Kiick was overshadowed by his best friend, Csonka, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Mercury Morris, a dynamic 1,000-yard rusher, he will forever be ingrained in Dolphins history, both for his skill on the field and escapades off it.
Without him, the 1972 perfect season and 17-0 record might never have happened. Kiick scored the winning touchdown in all three of that team’s postseason victories.
The Dolphins were trailing 14-13 with five minutes remaining in their first playoff game, against the visiting Cleveland Browns. After driving to the Cleveland 8-yard line, the Dolphins would have been expected to turn to Csonka or Morris but instead ran a trap up the middle that Kiick converted into a touchdown and a 20-14 victory.
It was a moment of pride for the three members of the backfield, who contended that the celebration of the TD, with Morris running off the bench to Kiick, personified the selflessness of the entire team. Before that season, coach Don Shula had made a calculated gamble by giving more playing time to Morris despite knowing how close (and effective) the Csonka-Kiick tandem had been.
“He’s the first person that jumped on me, congratulated me,” Kiick told the Palm Beach Post in a 2017 interview. “It just showed we were about the team and not about individual statistics or who scored the winning touchdown or who didn’t.”
Kiick also scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run in the 14-7 victory over Washington in Super Bowl VII to complete the 17-0 season.
Kiick scored the winning touchdown on a 3-yard run with 7½ minutes left in the AFC championship game, a 21-17 victory over Pittsburgh.
The Dolphins drafted Kiick in the fifth round in 1968 out of Wyoming. His seven-year rushing total of 997 yards fails to do justice to his value to Shula as a versatile complement to the bullish fullback Csonka. Kiick caught 221 passes for 2,210 yards and totaled 31 touchdowns from scrimmage.
Before Kiick, Csonka and receiver Paul Warfield jumped to the World Football League, signaling the end of the Dolphins’ dynasty after the 1974 season, Kiick and Csonka literally rode the streets of South Florida as celebrities. A legendary clip in Dolphins history shows Kiick and Csonka riding horseback along South Beach, playing to their “Butch and Sundance” personas.
“Somebody came up with the idea at Sports Illustrated,” Kiick said. “They put a deal together, we rode horses down Collins Avenue in Miami and it just blew up from there. Butch and Sundance was a big deal.”
Adding to the legend: Kiick and Csonka were often glib on the obvious question of which one was Butch Cassidy and which was the Sundance Kid.
“Same answer I tell everybody,” Kiick said. “I was the better-looking guy. Whether it’s Butch or Sundance, which was Paul Newman and Robert Redford, either way, you couldn’t lose.”
Although defensive tackle Manny Fernandez caught a small alligator during a trip to the Everglades one day, Kiick took the heat after the creature ended up in Shula’s shower, another legendary piece of Dolphins lore.
“I didn’t get an alligator. I didn’t do anything,” Kiick said. “But I was Shula’s goat and whatever he could do, he could blame me. I said, ‘Listen, I’m from New Jersey. I don’t fish and I had nothing to do with it.’ ”
Csonka once explained: “It seemed like Kiick was always the easiest one to catch up to. Me and Merc were kind of quick to be out of Shula’s way and be out of earshot.”
As for Kiick?
“He just didn’t care about getting out of the way.”
Opinion: Will Louisiana wake up now that COVID-19 has hit LSU football?
BATON ROUGE — It ain’t over, until it’s over.
The late Yankee catcher great Yogi Berra was not talking about COVID-19 when he said that in the summer of 1973. He was talking baseball as the manager of the New York Mets, who proved him prophetic as they rallied from 12.5 games out of first in the National League East in July to win the division and later advance to the World Series.
Too bad Berra is not around for a public service message where he could repeat perhaps the most famous of his multitude of Yogi-isms.
Someone needs to get that message across concerning the coronavirus pandemic that, yes, it’s still a pandemic.
“People keep talking about a second wave,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the preeminent authority on COVID-19, told the Wall Street Journal last week.
“We’re still in a first wave,” said Fauci, who has served every United States president since Ronald Reagan in 1984 and helped create President George W. Bush’s successful emergency plan for AIDS relief in 2003.
Maybe another bit of news on Saturday will get Louisianans — and everyone hopefully — to wake up and put on their masks and stop pretending it’s over, or acting out over some sense of rebellion that is more juvenile than courageous.
At least 30 LSU football players have recently been quarantined because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have had contact with someone who did.
They are all young and in great shape, so they likely will be done with the virus in a couple of days if they have not already gotten over it. But maybe the fact that COVID-19 has now hit home in Louisiana at that most sacred part of the house — LSU Football — people will get it that it is not over.
“The reality is every Louisianan needs to do a gut check on whether he or she has been slacking off on taking proper precautions,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Thursday as the first wave rolled onward in Louisiana.
There were another 870 new cases and 20 deaths reported in the state on Saturday.
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said on ESPN’s Paul Finebaum Show on Friday that people going to LSU football games at Tiger Stadium this fall may be required to wear a mask.
“This isn’t a political statement,” said Woodward, who worked with Democrat political strategist James Carville under Baton Rouge mayor Pat Screen in the 1980s. His comments echoed that of Fauci, who said this about his job:
“You stay completely apolitical and non-ideological. I’m a scientist, and I’m a physician. And that’s it.”
When Woodward wears a mask, he thinks of his elders.
“This is a health statement,” he said. “We’re trying to save lives here. I think about my parents. I think about elderly folks and people with immune systems that are compromised. We have to do these things to curtail this pandemic.”
In an interview last week with USA TODAY-Louisiana, LSU associate athletic director for health and wellness Shelly Mullenix said she expected to see several LSU football players test positive for COVID-19.
“Sure, there will be some, maybe many. It’s a pandemic,” she said as players were being tested. “We’re prepared for every scenario. We want to keep our community healthy, not just us.”
They may not have expected 30, but they were ready and swiftly quarantined everyone involved, which is sort of like applying one large mask over the football facility. The players will be fine, but they do not need to be out and about where they could infect others.
Meanwhile, the Tigerland bar circuit near campus should be off limits to all LSU football players and other student-athletes. In fact, for the time being it is not a good idea for anyone to go there.
State health officials on Friday said there was a cluster of COVID-19 outbreaks stemming from patrons at bars in and near the Tigerland area, which is where some of the LSU football players had been frequenting after just returning to campus June 9.
The first wave continues, perhaps because Phase One of the prevention plan was discontinued early this month in Louisiana. Suddenly, it was TGIPT — Thank God It’s Phase Two — throughout the state.
I saw more unmasked people than I see masked people at Mardi Gras. They were everywhere. They were in large groups in backyards. They were not social distancing. They thought it was over — or close to it.
Not a good strategy. Former LSU pass game coordinator Joe Brady would have kept his mask on and kept passing disinfectant.
It ain’t over, until it’s over. True. But forget that. We’re not even at halftime yet.
Belmont Stakes 2020: New York-bred Tiz the Law scripts storybook win amid pandemic
ELMONT, N.Y. – The starting gate was in the backstretch chute, rather than in front of the grandstand. And the sound of hooves impacting the Belmont Park track replaced the deafening roar of the crowd.
But while so much was different about the 152nd Belmont Stakes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what’s timeless is a victory in a Triple Crown race and an emotional outcome.
And as Tiz the Law came roaring down the stretch, the New York-bred achieved both, scripting a storybook victory in the state that’s been hit harder than any other by the caronavirus, while giving himself a chance to make history after a win in what served as this year’s first leg of the series, rather than the last.
It was only fitting that Tiz the Law became the first New York-bred to win the Belmont Stakes in 138 years, going postward as the 4-5 favorite and proving himself to be the class of the field. He sat just off the pace before accelerating around the turn and drawing off for a comfortable victory in the $1 million event.
“It’s tremendous,” said Jack Knowlton, who heads Sackatoga Stable, which purchased Tiz the Law for $110,000. “We just buy New York-breds. That’s our game.”
Tiz the Law, ridden by Manuel Franco, completed the 1⅛-mile test, shortened from the traditional 1½-mile distance, in 1:46.53 in front of an empty grandstand due to restrictions related to the coronavirus.
The winning margin was four lengths. Tiz the Law paid $3.60, 2.90 and 2.60. Runnerup Dr. Post paid $5.80 and 4.20. Max Player — from the stable of Rumson, New Jersey, native George Hall — paid $5.20. The exacta paid $19.60 for $2 wagers.
Unlike the traditional three races in five weeks, Tiz the Law must now bridge an 11-week gap to the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5. And the Triple Crown concludes on Oct. 3 with the Preakness, even though the 13 previous Triple Crown winners have been crowned in the Belmont Stakes. Tiz the Law would be the third horse since 2015 to complete the Triple Crown, joining Bob Baffert trainees American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).
And with Tiz the Law emerging as such a compelling New York story, the plan is to take him to Saratoga to run in the Travers Stakes on Aug. 8 as a stepping-stone to the Kentucky Derby.
It’s the first Belmont Stakes win for the team of trainer Barclay Tagg and owner Sackatoga Stable. They finished third with Funny Cide in 2003 after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
From the moment Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” echoed through the grandstand as the horses made their way onto the track, Tiz the Law was all business. And then in a stirring performance he showed why he’s a threat to win the Triple Crown.
The son of Constitution has gate speed and he broke cleanly, joining the leaders immediately, then settled to sit comfortably just off the pace set by Tap It to Win on the inside, with Pneumatic in second between horses. And as he surged to the front rounding the turn before quickly opening up several lengths on the field, he showed he’s capable of going the distance.
BELMONT STAKES:All-time winners from 1867-2020
And unlike the previous Triple Crown winners, Tiz the Law will never have to prove himself at 1½-miles. But he appeared capable of handling the 1¼-mile Kentucky Derby distance.
“It looked to me like everything just worked like clockwork,” Tagg said. “That’s the way the horse likes to run, that’s the position he likes to be in. Manny knows the horse very well. We discussed it very quickly before I put him up on the horse and I felt very confident Manny would ride him that way.
“I thought it looked pretty solid when he got halfway down the lane. It’s a good feeling.”
It was the first victory for Franco in a Triple Crown race.
“I was really confident when we got the 7/8th poll. He was so comfortable,” Franco said.
It marked the third win in as many starts for Tiz the Law and fifth victory in six career starts. His wins in the Florida Derby and Champagne Stakes were the only two Grade 1 victories among the 10 starters entering the race.
“We’ve been with Barclay Tagg for 25 years,” Knowlton said, “and I keep telling everybody, Barclay doesn’t get a lot of big horses, big opportunities. But when he gets them he knows what to do.”
Stephen Edelson is a USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey sports columnist and horse racing writer. Contact him at: @SteveEdelsonAPP; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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