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‘Say his name! George Floyd!’: Nationwide protests continue on ‘Blackout Tuesday’ in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, across US

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Protests and demonstrations nationwide have become the norm in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a now-fired police officer kept a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

Derek Chauvin, the former officer seen on video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder, though Floyd’s family is pushing for first-degree murder charges. Three other officers involved with the incident, however, haven’t been charged, prompting continued calls across the country against police brutality.

Daily protests have frequently been marred by violence and looting, and police have frequently used tear gas, chemical irritants and rubber bullets in efforts to quell protesters — sometimes even when protests remain peaceful. Journalists have also been caught in clashes between protesters and police. 

Tuesday also saw a nationwide movement called “Blackout Tuesday.” 

Here’s a look at city-by-city protests on Tuesday night: 

Phoenix: Thousands of protesters take to streets as ‘Churches Stand Together’

More than 1,000 people met outside Phoenix City Hall and began marching through downtown Phoenix by 5:30 p.m. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of people, maybe more than 1,000, gathered outside Neighborhood Ministries near 19th Avenue and Van Buren Street. They planned to begin walking the half-mile to Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza outside the Arizona Capitol and hold a prayer service. 

The protest at the Capitol was organized by “Arizona Churches Stand Together for Black Lives,” which created an event page that showed more than 600 planning to attend and 1,000 more interested. 

100 ways:Take action against racism right now

The group was “organically” formed in the past 24 hours with three Phoenix churches at the helm — Roosevelt Community Church, Redemption Church Alhambra and All Souls Phoenix — according to Dennae Pierre. The churches’ congregations are multiethnic, many from black and Latino communities, she said.

“Our hearts are broken over the continued violence against black lives,” said Pierre, whose husband, Vermon, is a pastor at Roosevelt Community Church.

“Year after year, we have these stories that surface and, you know, what does it look like to not just be sorry about it and sad until the news dies down, but to really commit to a life of change and being part of rebuilding what needs to be built?”

– Chelsea Curtis, Arizona Republic

Minneapolis: ‘Silent clergy march’ stretches for two blocks, stops traffic

The Rev. Stacey Smith organized a pair of marches in the Twin Cities on Tuesday, but even she was surprised at the large turnout.

“God bless you all. This is much bigger than I thought that it would be,” Smith told a gathering of about 300 people shortly before they set out for a seven-block walk down 38th Street in south Minneapolis. 

The destination was Cup Foods, where George Floyd died on Memorial Day while handcuffed in police custody. Smith, a leader in the African Methodist Episcopal church here, told the faith leaders ready to walk with her: “We are here for justice and peace today.”

‘Word of God as a political prop’:GOP senators criticize Trump after George Floyd protesters forced out of park

Black clergy members led the way, followed by white ministers “as a symbolic show that you’ve got our backs in this,” Smith said to loud applause.

It was billed as a “silent clergy march” and the group quietly proceeded down the middle of the street, stretching for two blocks while traffic stopped.

One man on a bicycle watched and broke the silence by raising his hands over his hands and clapping.

– Mark Emmert, Des Moines Register

Los Angeles: Protesters remain peaceful: ‘It’s time for change’

In downtown Los Angeles, hundreds of protesters remained peaceful while at times kneeling en masse against police brutality and at others calling for the resignation of a Los Angeles Police Department chief who had blamed looters for George Floyd’s death. 

Roughly two dozen police officers in riot helmets and a handful of California National Guardsmen stood under ornate columns and guarded the art deco-styled City Hall from protesters who made no effort to breach metal barricades or police tape. 

LAPD:Chief Michel Moore apologizes after saying George Floyd’s death is on the ‘hands’ of looters

Some of the protesters waved signs calling for the firing of Police Chief Michel Moore, who on Monday had lashed out at Los Angeles looters by declaring: “His death is on their hands, as much as it is on those officers.” 

At around 1 p.m., the protesters left City Hall to snake, chanting, through downtown. Guardsmen armed with semi-automatic rifles stood in front of businesses that were vastly shuttered or boarded up due to a combination of the novel coronavirus and nights of looting that have brought comparisons to the city’s riots following the Rodney King beating in 1992. 

6 Atlanta officers charged:Dramatic video showed police pulling people from car

But Tuesday afternoon, with the downtown air pungent with sage and marijuana, the protesters seemed to be in a constructive mood. Some distributed face masks. Others, veggie quesadillas. Chinatown resident Brandon Anaya and two friends handed out bottles of water, granola bars and bananas. 

Anaya, who wore a Mexican flag bandana over his mouth and nose, was born the year of the L.A. riots. He said he had to convince his father Francisco, who had lived through them, that participating in this protest was a good idea.

“He said it’s time for change, to do it right, and to do it properly and peacefully, and I think that’s what we’re seeing today,” said Anaya. “We’re Hispanic, and the police treat us the same way they treat black people.” 

Protesters kneeled in front of the officers and yelled for them to join them, but the cops didn’t budge. An irate protester pointed at them and let loose a stream of profanities. It was the sort of tense situation that Americans have watched boil over into violence many times over the last week.  

– Gus Garcia-Roberts, USA TODAY

Chicago: Protesters march from Wrigley Field: ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’

As separate marchers began across the city, thousands of young people from

various Chicago neighborhoods marched south from Wrigley Field, chanting “hands up don’t shoot” and “say his name! George Floyd! say her name! Breonna Taylor!”

Volunteers along the way handed out snacks and water amid the 90-degree heat. CPD officers on bikes guided the protest south.

West Siders Angel Griffin, 25, and Tatyiana Mack, 26, say they were there to march peacefully and bring attention to police brutality. “There have been so many personal experiences I’ve had that have never hit the news. I want people to know. I want them to care,” Mack said.

George Floyd protests:How did we get here?

Over the course of nearly four hours in 90-degree heat, the group marched south to Lincoln Park and then west to the 18th district police station, where dozens of officers lined either side of the street. Tensions rose as protesters formed lines opposite the officers, chanting “who do you protect? who do you serve?”

The marchers eventually took a knee outside the station, and organizers and protesters took turns speaking to the crowd, singing and sharing stories of their experiences of police brutality.

J’lin Arnold, 21, took the mic and repeated to the crowd “8 minutes 46 seconds,” referencing the amount of time that former officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck.

– Grace Hauck, USA TODAY

Miami: Young, racially diverse crowd marches in historically black neighborhood

An afternoon crowd of 100 grew to nearly 300 by evening as it weaved past the downtown detention center and courthouse, through the historically black neighborhood Overtown and into Wynwood with minimal police presence and bouts of intense rain.

The young, racially diverse crowd repeated chants of “black lives matter” and “say his name: George Floyd” as they moved through the streets surrounded by organizers who halted traffic around them. 

‘Reprehensible’:Washington archbishop denounces Trump visit to Catholic shrine as ‘baffling’

Organizers stopped every few blocks to share the stories of the neighborhoods: calling for an end to the bail system outside the jail, remembering how Interstate 95 plowed through the historically black Overtown and pointing out black-owned businesses in Wynwood.

Ashley Pierre, 18, marched because sharing social media posts wasn’t enough, she said.

– Olivia Hitchcock, Palm Beach Post

Indianapolis: Demonstrations continue on third night of citywide curfew

Demonstrators gathered in downtown Indianapolis for the fifth straight day to protest recent police-involved killings of black people, including George Floyd and Dreasjon Reed in Indianapolis.

The city is on its third night of curfew, which began at 9 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Just before 8:30 p.m., a crowd of roughly 200 demonstrators started moving south on Meridian Street from Monument Circle and toward the City-County Building.

A group of protesters was seen debating whether to stay or go home once curfew goes into effect. One protester warned that those who stay past curfew “will be engaged by the police.”

– Matthew VanTryon, Indianapolis Star

Washington, D.C: Protesters remain past curfew

The large crowd protesting near the White House past the 7 p.m. curfew continued to chant and demonstrate against police brutality

Some, calling for a peaceful protest, booed a man who tore down a street sign in the area. People also threw bottles at him as he climbed down from the street signpost. 

Residents in a northwest neighborhood of the city, far from the main protests, leaned out their apartment windows, banging together frying pans and other noisemakers.

The clanging stopped after several minutes. Helicopters could then be heard circling in the distance. Meanwhile, the vast majority of protesters remained outside the White House. 

– Joey Garrison, John Fritze, Michelle R. Martinelli and Matthew Brown, USA TODAY

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Trump’s Tulsa rally: Lighter-than-expected crowds and other takeaways

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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.

More:Trump distances himself from Geoffrey Berman firing after AG Barr says president was behind decision

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. 

More:‘Turning point’ or massive risk? Trump gambles with a rally in Tulsa that could shape his campaign

“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. 

More:Oklahoma coronavirus cases surge, hospitalizations rise ahead of Trump’s Tulsa rally

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.

More:Why it’s okay to admit you’re struggling amid coronavirus

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.” 

Coronavirus slur

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.

More:President Trump on players kneeling during national anthem: ‘I thought we won that battle with the NFL’

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.

 ‘We’re fighting violence,’ Sharpton says on Juneteenth; discipline records for charged Atlanta ex-cop

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. 

More:After George Floyd, students sick of ‘lip service,’ want action from colleges over racism

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.

More:Rep. Ilhan Omar’s father dies of coronavirus-related complications

Source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/628223032/0/usatoday-newstopstories~Trumps-Tulsa-rally-Lighterthanexpected-crowds-and-other-takeaways/

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Miami Dolphins great Jim Kiick dies at 73

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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.”

The Dolphins' Jim Kiick carried the ball during a December 1970 game against the Jets.

Source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/628216062/0/usatoday-newstopstories~Miami-Dolphins-great-Jim-Kiick-dies-at/

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Opinion: Will Louisiana wake up now that COVID-19 has hit LSU football?

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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.

LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron.

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.”

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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.

LSU is not unique in the rash of COVID-19 cases. At Clemson, 21 football players tested positive. Kansas State had 14 test positive, while Texas had 13.

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. 

Source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/628207352/0/usatoday-newstopstories~Opinion-Will-Louisiana-wake-up-now-that-COVID-has-hit-LSU-football/

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Belmont Stakes 2020: New York-bred Tiz the Law scripts storybook win amid pandemic

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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.

Tiz the Law, ridden by jockey Manuel Franco, crosses the finish line to win the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes.

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.

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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; sedelson@gannettnj.com.

Source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/628198010/0/usatoday-newstopstories~Belmont-Stakes-New-Yorkbred-Tiz-the-Law-scripts-storybook-win-amid-pandemic/

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