Belmont Stakes Picks 2019: Vegas Odds and Predictions After Post Draw

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 5, 2019

ELMONT, NEW YORK - JUNE 04:  Belmont Stakes contender and Preakness winner War of Will trains with Exercise rider Kim Carroll up during a morning workout prior to the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 04, 2019 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The first two legs of the Triple Crown have provided a whirlwind of unexpected twists. 

The disqualification of Maximum Security at the Kentucky Derby and Bodexpress running without a jockey at the Preakness Stakes have been the two most talked about storylines. 

Saturday's Belmont Stakes could leave horse racing fans buzzing about the race for first place, with War of Will and Tacitus expected to go head-to-head from the start. 

Preakness winner War of Will and Tacitus, who took third at Churchill Downs, are the two favorites to win the Belmont and start next to each other in the two outside posts. 


Belmont Stakes Post Positions and Odds

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War of Will and Tacitus Benefit From Racing Alongside Each Other

A strong argument can be made that War of Will and Tacitus are the two strongest horses in the 10-horse field. 

After he was impeded by Maximum Security at the Kentucky Derby, War of Will came back two weeks later to triumph in the Preakness. 

Winning two-thirds of the Triple Crown would be quite an accomplishment for the horse trained by Mark Casse, but Tacitus has had two extra weeks of rest to get ready for the Belmont after sitting out the Preakness. 

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The horse starting in post No. 10 comes from a strong pedigree. Tacitus is a son of Tapit, who has sired three of the last five Belmont Stakes winners. 

Tonalist in 2014, Creator in 2016 and Tapwrit in 2017 claimed victory in the Belmont, and Tacitus shares the same jockey as Tapwrit. 

Jose Ortiz's experience of winning at Elmont Park two years ago and Tyler Gaffalione's guidance of War of Will should help the two favorites get out to a fast start. 

War of Will and Tacitus will have clean air to work with since they start on the outside, and they could use their speed to storm past the other eight competitors and set up a head-to-head duel.

If that is the case, there is no clear advantage that could separate the two. Tacitus has the better string of results from before the Triple Crown with wins at the Wood Memorial and Tampa Bay Derby, but War of Will is coming off a victory at the Preakness. 

Regardless of which horse crosses the line first, the head-to-head battle would be the best possible ending to a collection of races that has been odd to say the least.  


Master Fencer Poses A Challenge From The Inside

Master Fencer has the third-best odds to win Saturday. 

The sixth-place finisher from the Kentucky Derby has the opportunity to control the race from the inside. 

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Julien Leparoux is one of the most experienced riders in the competition, but the one missing piece on his resume is a Triple Crown victory. 

The experience of the Frenchman and the ability of Master Fencer to get to the inside line could be a perfect combination to pull off what would be viewed as a minor upset. 

The Japanese horse should be seen as a threat to War of Will and Tacitus because of the terrific closing speed he displayed at Churchill Downs on May 4. 

But there is a chance Master Fencer gets caught up in the start among a few horses that will try to pace the competition before the two favorites take control from the outside. 

As long as Master Fencer gets a clean start out of post No. 3, he could pose a challenge to the favorites. 

But in order to leave Elmont Park with a victory, he needs a perfect race, including another strong close similar to the one from six weeks ago. 

Even if the start does not go in his favor, Master Fencer could use his closing speed to land in the top three, which makes him a good option for trifecta bets. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from HorseRacingNation.com