War of Will has a chance to claim the championship of the Triple Crown racing season.
No, this Mark Casse-trained horse can't claim the Triple Crown, but if he wins the Belmont Stakes Saturday, he will have won two of the three jewels after coming off a victory in the Preakness last month.
War of Will and Tacitus are the two favorites to win the 1½-mile Belmont Stakes, the longest race in North America for three-year-old thoroughbreds.
Both horses appear to have a good chance to claim victory, and that could make for a memorable stretch run in this race.
War of Will fought gamely in the Kentucky Derby and then won the Preakness in impressive fashion. Tacitus appears to have the breeding to run the long race without tiring during the race's most climactic moments.
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 along with updated odds and the payout for a $2 win bet:
1. Joevia, 17-1, $36 ($34 profit plus return of $2 bet)
2. Everfast, 13-1, $28
3. Master Fencer, 8-1, $18
4. Tax, 13-1, $26
5. Bourbon War, 7-1, $16
6. Spinoff, 13-1, $28
7. Sir Winston, 9-1, $20
8. Intrepid Heart, 6-1, $14
9. War of Will, 5-2, $7
10. Tacitus, 3-2, $5
Odds courtesy of BelmontStakes.com
The prize money for the race totals $1.5 million, with $800,000 going to the winner. The second-place finisher earns $300,000, with the next three finishers getting $165,000, $90,000 and $45,000, respectively, per Newsweek.com.
Tacitus will start the race on the outside from the No. 10 hole. While this could be an impediment if he were a speed horse that wanted to get right to the front, it is not likely to be an issue because this son of Tapit will try to settle in somewhere in the middle of the pack. He should be able to pick off tiring horses once he begins his late run.
Tacitus is trained by William Mott and ridden by Jose Ortiz. The 25-year-old jockey has been successful in the Belmont Stakes previously, as he was victorious aboard Tapwrit in 2017, another son of Tapit.
War of Will will start next to Tacitus in the No. 9 hole, and this horse is the only one in the field to have run in all three Triple Crown races.
There is a chance fatigue could take over in the last half-mile of this race, especially if jockey Tyler Gaffalione asks too much of him early in the race. While Gaffalione did not do this in the Preakness and actually piloted his horse in a masterful way, he is riding in his first Belmont Stakes, and the distance alone makes this a difficult assignment.
The two favorites will also have to contend with Bourbon War, who is starting from the No. 5 post. Bourbon War was the second choice in the Preakness among bettors, but he never was comfortable in the race and ended up eighth.
Bourbon War has two victories in six lifetime races, and he has won more than $200,000 in his career. Most importantly, he picks up jockey Mike Smith for this race, and that could mean the difference between a good effort and a great one.
Smith is an expert at leading his horses into and out of small holes when he is making his moves at key points in the race.
Everfast is starting from the No. 2 hole, and this horse has a chance to at least gain a piece of the prize money.
He has one career victory in 11 career starts, but he was impressive in finishing second in the Preakness. Dale Romans understands how to prepare his horses for big races, and jockey Luis Saez could be an asset here.
Saez was aboard Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby, and while that horse was disqualified for leaving his running lane and obstructing other horses, many of Saez's peers defended his actions.
Sir Winston is an 18-1 shot who could have an opportunity to steal this race if he gets the benefit of a good trip in the early part of the race.
He is a fast stretch runner, and he could have a chance to run buy Tacitus or War of Will at an excellent price. He showed his talent in the Peter Pan Stakes when he staged a bold rally to second place after falling behind by as many as 11 lengths.