It was only a matter of time before domestic futures would be posted for this month’s Belmont Stakes. And it was just as inevitable that Tiz The Law would be the favorite.
The winner of the Florida Derby, Tiz The Law ( 195) opened Friday afternoon at predictably short odds at Circa Sports, the year-old Las Vegas sportsbook that just got into the racing business last month with its first Kentucky Derby futures.
Also the consensus favorite for the Derby on Sept. 5, Tiz The Law leads a list of 12 potential Belmont starters June 20. His Circa price compares favorably to global and European books that have him no longer than 187.
“The other books had no influence on our odds,” Circa Sports risk supervisor Paul Zilm said. “We didn’t look at anyone else until after we released ours.”
Still not firmly committed by trainer Bob Baffert to being entered in the Belmont, Arkansas Derby winner Charlatan ( 325) is a narrow second choice ahead of Matt Winn Stakes victor Maxfield ( 415).
“I think people know Baffert and they know Charlatan,” Zilm said. “He is a public horse and will draw interest for sure. If I knew he was running for sure, he would have been the clear second choice and closer to Tiz The Law. I think Charlatan and Maxfield are pretty even horses at this point. but all things being equal I expect the public to gravitate to a Baffert horse.”
Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Sole Volante ( 725) and black-type stakes winner Dr Post ( 915) are the other would-be starters that are shorter than 10-1.
The rest of the Belmont possibilities listed by Circa included Ny Traffic (15-1), Modernist (17-1), Gouverneur Morris (20-1), Farmington Road (23-1), Max Player (25-1), Basin (30-1) and Shivaree (40-1).
Three horses presented dilemmas to Zilm and Circa Sportsbook director Matt Metcalf. In addition to the uncertainty with Charlatan, both Sole Volante for trainer Patrick Biancone and Shivaree for Ralph Nicks are entered in the same allowance race Wednesday at Gulfstream Park, potentially eliminating them from consideration for the Belmont 10 days later. Either could yet be scratched next week, but that is yet another unknown.
“Who really knows if they intend to run?” Zilm said. “I am guessing a little that Shivaree will run Wednesday and that Sole Volante will wait for the Belmont.”
Zilm said that the Belmont futures were expected to remain open until about five minutes before post time.