Barclay Tagg

Tiz The Law trainer Barclay Tagg rides a horse on the main track during workouts at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on Wednesday. Tiz the Law is the favorite in the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes scheduled to be run on Saturday. Seth Wenig/Associated Press

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.”

The starting gate will be positioned in the far corner of the sprawling track with the horses looking at a run down the backside rather than breaking from in front of the grandstand when the race is 1 1/2 miles.

HIGH SCHOOLS

GIRLS’ SOCCER: Kristina Kelly of Camden Hills was named the 2019-20 Gatorade Maine Player of the Year.

Kelly, who scored 49 goals and had 21 assists last fall, led the Windjammers to their third consecutive unbeaten season and fourth straight Class A state championship.

She finished her career with 159 goals, third on Maine’s all-time list, and Camden Hills compiled a 70-1-1 record during her time with the team.

Kelly, who was the 2019 United Soccer Coaches National High School Player of the Year, a three-time USC All-American selection and a two-time Varsity Maine Player of the Year, has a scholarship to play for Central Connecticut State University.

SOCCER

ITALIAN CUP: Arkadiusz Milik converted the decisive spot kick in a penalty shootout as Napoli won its sixth Italian Cup following a 0-0 draw with Juventus at Rome. Napoli won the shootout 4-2.

GERMANY: Wolfsburg won the women’s Bundesliga title for the fourth year in a row, beating visiting Freiburg 2-0 to open an insurmountable lead in the standings.

Defender Joelle Wedemeyer gave Wolfsburg the lead before Pernille Harder scored her team’s second goal. That left Wolfsburg eight points clear of Bayern Munich with two games to play.

BRAZIL: Brazilian soccer will make a partial return Thursday after a three-month suspension caused by the coronavirus pandemic despite protests from sports executives who think it is too risky to start playing.

The governing body of soccer in Rio de Janeiro announced Wednesday that Flamengo and Bangu will play in an empty Maracanã Stadium in the local league. Local giant Vasco da Gama will host Macaé at São Januário Stadium on Sunday.

The return is a victory for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Flamengo, who have teamed up to lobby for the return of soccer. Rodolfo Landim, the president of the club, was in the capital Brasilia with the president when Rio’s soccer body announced the fixtures.

More than 45,000 people have died because of the virus in Brazil, and health specialists say the peak of the crisis is yet to come in August. In Rio state, where 16 million people live, more than 8,000 people have died of COVID-19 so far. There is no date for the beginning of the Brazilian championship, which was scheduled to start in May. Clubs in other state leagues are only contemplating a return in July if health authorities agree.

TRACK AND FIELD

TRIAL: French prosecutors requested a four-year jail term and a fine of $562,000 for Lamine Diack, the former IAAF president standing trial for corruption, money laundering and breach of trust.

Prosecutors say that Diack, an 87-year-old Senegalese who led track and field’s governing body for nearly 16 years, directly or indirectly solicited $3.9 million from athletes suspected by the IAAF of doping.

The athletes allegedly paid to have their names cleared in order to continue competing.

“The IAAF tripped on the hurdle of corruption,” prosecutor Arnaud de Laguiche said Wednesday on the hearing’s penultimate day. “(People like) Diack live like little emperors, they have their little courts and people court them.”

The Paris court has considered allegations that top athletes paid millions of dollars in illicit payoffs to corrupt administrators led by Diack – once among the most influential leaders in Olympic sports.

BASKETBALL

NBA: Cavaliers forward Kevin Love will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts in raising awareness about mental health.

Love, whose openness about his life-long battles with anxiety triggered nationwide discussion and helped spur the NBA to do more to help players deal with emotional issues, will receive the award at Sunday’s ESPYs in Los Angeles.

FOOTBALL

NFL: Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn said that Colin Kaepernick is on the team’s workout list because he is the style of quarterback Los Angeles 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.

HOCKEY

NHL: Players won’t be expected to wear full face shields if games resume this summer, though there could be plenty of covered faces around them.

Equipment changes have not been a focus of return-to-play negotiations between the league and players’ union, according to a person with knowledge of those talks. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no agreement has been reached, said the emphasis has been on testing and other off-ice safety precautions.

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