IN BRIEF Tiz the Law favored at Belmont
Shorter jewel will be 1st Triple Crown race this year
It wasn’t quite the post position trainer Barclay Tagg wanted for Tiz the Law. Still, it wasn’t far off for the colt who on Wednesday was made the early 6-5 favorite for the Belmont Stakes.
Tagg was hoping the Florida Derby winner would land anywhere between spots 5 to 7 in the starting gate for Saturday’s beginning of the reconfigured Triple Crown series. Tiz the Law drew the No. 8 post in the 10-horse field and will be ridden by Manny Franco.
“It could have been worse,” Tagg said from behind a mask worn to protect against the coronavirus pandemic that has upended the Triple Crown and pretty much every other sporting event this spring and summer. “He likes this track, so I’m glad to be back on it.”
Instead of concluding the Triple Crown, the Belmont is kicking off the series. It will be run at 1 1⁄8 miles — shorter than its usual grueling 1 1⁄2 miles — without spectators or owners at Belmont Park in New York.
“It’s going to be a far different scene for sure,” trainer Todd Pletcher, who has two entries, said this week. “It’s sad in some ways, but we’re grateful we’re getting an opportunity to run.”
Baseball: Major leaguers have committed $1 million to support minor leaguers whose leagues appear unlikely to start this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Major League Baseball Players Trust, a not-for-profit affiliate of the Major League Baseball Players Association, made the announcement. Minor leagues don’t have large broadcast contracts and have not announced any plans to take the field.
NBA: The pilot of the helicopter that crashed in thick fog, killing Kobe Bryant and seven other passengers, reported he was climbing when he actually was descending, federal investigators said in documents released Wednesday. Ara Zobayan radioed to air traffic controllers that he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above clouds on Jan. 26 when, in fact, the helicopter was plunging toward a hillside where it crashed northwest of Los Angeles. The National Transportation Safety Board’s report said Zobayan may have “misperceived” the pitch of the aircraft, which can happen when a pilot becomes disoriented in low visibility.
NFL: Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Colin Kaepernick is on the team’s workout list because he is the style of quarterback the team is looking for, but the coach hasn’t spoken to him yet and right now nothing is scheduled. The Chargers could explore bringing Kaepernick in for a workout depending on what happens during the preseason, Lynn said. “It would be something I think any team would have to explore with a talent of that caliber that is available under these circumstances,” said Lynn, whose team is moving on at QB after 14 seasons with Philip Rivers.
Soccer: Manchester City defeated Arsenal 3-0 in the return of the Premier League in front of just 300 people who were allowed into the Etihad Stadium. The 55,000 seats that would usually be filled were instead empty, mostly covered by banners. The only supporters seen celebrating goals from Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden during City’s win were on big screens in the stands, streaming live from their homes . ... The Champions League will finish with a 12-day minitournament in Lisbon, restarting in August after a five-month suspension caused by the pandemic. Eight teams will play from the quarterfinals in knockout games at two venues, the UEFA executive committee announced. The final will be held at the home stadium of Portuguese club Benfica on Sunday, Aug. 23 — the latest date ever . ... Brazilian soccer will make a partial return Thursday after a threemonth suspension caused by the pandemic. The governing body of soccer in Rio de Janeiro announced that Flamengo and Bangu will play in an empty Maracana Stadium in the local league.
Tennis: Serena Williams committed to playing in the U.S. Open when the main draw begins Aug. 31. “Ultimately, I really cannot wait to return to New York,” Williams said in a video that was shown during the U.S. Tennis Association presentation of plans for its marquee event. ... Electronic line-calling will be used instead of line judges for U.S. Open matches at all courts except the two largest arenas and singles qualifying, mixed doubles, junior and wheelchair competition are being eliminated entirely.
Track and field: Christian Coleman, an American sprinter who won the 100meter title at last year’s world championships and had been the early favorite for the Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games, was temporarily banned from competition by the Athletics Integrity Unit for a string of missed doping tests.