Belmont Stakes 2019 Contenders: Odds, Jockey and Pedigree Info for Top Favorites

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2019

Preakness winner War of Will hopes to make it two Triple Crown victories in a row at the Belmont Stakes.
Preakness winner War of Will hopes to make it two Triple Crown victories in a row at the Belmont Stakes.Seth Wenig/Associated Press

War of Will is coming off a victory in the Preakness, and he can make his claim as the top three-year-old horse if he can also make a trip to the winner's circle after winning the Belmont Stakes Saturday.

If trainer Mark Casse and jockey Tyler Gaffalione are going to be successful in the 1½-mile Test of Champions, that combination is going to have to overcome nine other challengers in the final jewel of the Triple Crown. 

Read on for the pedigree and jockey information for the top favorites in the race at New York's Belmont Park.


Belmont Stakes Information

Date: Saturday, June 8

Post Time: 6:48 p.m. ET


Live Stream: NBC Sports Live    


Here's how the horses will line up for the Test of Champions after Tuesday's post draw:

1 Joevia, 30-1
2 Everfast, 12-1
3 Master Fencer, 8-1
4 Tax, 15-1
5 Bourbon War, 12-1
6 Spinoff, 15-1
7 Sir Winston, 12-1
8 Intrepid Heart, 10-1
9 War of Will, 2-1
10 Tacitus, 9-5

Odds courtesy of Bloodhorse.com


Gaffalione is making his first appearance in the Belmont Stakes, but inexperience was not an issue in the Preakness Stakes as he put together an excellent ride and was first under the wire.

The 24-year-old Gaffalione was involved in the incident that resulted in the disqualification of Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby before his impressive win in the Preakness.

War of Will was sired by War Front out of Visions of Clarity, and the three-year-old has won four of 10 races lifetime and nearly $1.5 million.

The big issue for War of Will in the Belmont Stakes could be fatigue. War of Will is the only horse in the field that has raced in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and the 12-furlong race could tire out the second choice in the race.

Tacitus is ridden by Jose Ortiz, and the 9-5 favorite was sired by distance-running Tapit out of Close Hatches.

America'sBestRacing @ABRLive

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott tends to his @BelmontStakes favorite Tacitus this morning at beautiful #BelmontPark. #BelmontStakes https://t.co/0hl8bMnYsS

The Tampa Bay Derby winner has been in the money in four of his five career races, with four victories and one third-place finish.

Tacitus has won slightly more than $950,000 in his career, and there is every indication that he should be able to handle the distance in this race because Tapit has sired previous Belmont Stakes winners in addition to being a strong distance runner himself.

Ortiz, 25, has ridden in four previous Belmont Stakes, and he won the race aboard Tapwrit in 2017, who was also sired by Tapit.

In addition to being ridden by Ortiz, Tacitus is trained by William Mott. The trainer saddled Country House, the horse that was awarded the Kentucky Derby victory after Maximum Security was disqualified.

Japanese import Master Fencer is the third choice in the race at 8-1, and he may be somewhat overpriced at those odds.

BloodHorse @BloodHorse

Master Fencer Chases Triple Crown Glory for Japan https://t.co/o5Sh6RfkQa @BobEhalt #TC19 https://t.co/KwPdezdPFn

Master Fencer took advantage of an invitation to run in the Kentucky Derby that goes to to the top Japanese three-year-old. Three other Japanese thoroughbred owners and trainers turned down the opportunity before Master Fencer's connections decided to take the spot.

Master Fencer was a 58-1 longshot in the Derby, and most observers thought the horse would be near the back of the 19-horse field, but he rallied in the final stretch and finished sixth. Sired by Just a Way out of Sexy Zamurai, Master Fencer will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.

Leparoux has ridden in four previous Belmont Stakes races, and his mount has finished third in two races. The 35-year-old has been riding quite well at Churchill Downs, and he will try to transfer his skills to Belmont Park. He had a five-winner day last week in Kentucky, and he is skilled at maneuvering his horse in and out of fast-closing holes during a race.

Intrepid Heart comes into the race with odds of 10-1, and he is ridden by veteran jockey John Velazquez. The horse is lightly raced, going to the post just three times in his career, but he has won two races and also finished third.

John Velazquez is attempting to ride his third Belmont Stakes winner.
John Velazquez is attempting to ride his third Belmont Stakes winner.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Intrepid Heart was also sired by Tapit and is out of Flaming Heart. He is bred to go the distance, and Velazquez is a veteran rider who has proved himself in the big races. He has 22 previous starts in the Belmont Stakes, and he won it in 2007 with Rags to Riches and in 2012 with Union Rags.

The victory aboard Rags to Riches was memorable because that horse was the first filly to win the long-distance race in more than 100 years. Velazquez is a Hall of Fame jockey and is skilled at biding his time before mounting a late charge down the stretch.

Horse racing information courtesy of Horse Racing Nation, Blood Horse and Daily Racing Form.