Belmont Stakes Entries 2019: Race-Day Predictions for All Horses and JockeysJune 8, 2019
The longest of the three Triple Crown races awaits 10 horses Saturday at Belmont Park.
The 2019 Belmont Stakes contains a field of three-year-old horses with mixed resumes headlined by Preakness Stakes winner War of Will.
War of Will and pre-race favorite Tacitus are expected to do battle from the second the race begins, as they start alongside each other in the outside posts.
Although there is no Triple Crown bid at play Saturday, War of Will is attempting to become the first non-Triple Crown horse to win the Preakness and Belmont back-to-back since Afleet Alex in 2005.
Post Positions and Odds
1. Joevia (Jose Lezcano)
2. Everfast (Luis Saez)
3. Master Fencer (Julien Leparoux)
4. Tax (Irad Ortiz Jr.)
5. Bourbon War (Mike Smith)
6. Spinoff (Javier Castellano)
7. Sir Winston (Joel Rosario)
8. Intrepid Heart (John Velasquez)
9. War of Will (Tyler Gaffalione)
10. Tacitus (Jose Ortiz)
1. War of Will
5. Master Fencer
6. Sir Winston
7. Intrepid Heart
9. Bourbon War
War of Will faces a difficult task finishing first Saturday, not only because he could face fatigue from running in all three Triple Crown races, but because Tacitus has been doing work at Belmont Park since the Kentucky Derby.
War of Will's trainer, Mark Casse, admitted Tacitus could have an advantage from being based at the track, per Joe Drape of the New York Times.
"When the Derby and Preakness winners are here and get beat, it's usually by a Belmont-based horse," Casse said. "There's an advantage to it."
Tacitus trainer Bill Mott told John Cherwa of the Los Angeles Times that winning at Belmont for the second time would be a thrill since he has spent so much time there.
"You know, Belmont is sort of home for us now," Mott said. "It would be great to come back and do it again. It was exciting with Drosselmeyer (in 2010). He was a bit of price in the race that day, and it was a pretty good feeling to win. I'd like to do it again."
Based on previous results, War of Will and Tacitus are the two strongest horses in the field, and they are expected to show that at Belmont Park, despite starting from the outside post positions.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione record with War of Will in the first two Triple Crown races suggests he will again have the horse focused throughout.
But the freshness of Tacitus can't be ignored, as he has not run since the first Saturday in May, while War of Will has only had three weeks to recover from the Preakness.
Competing in all three Triple Crown races is a tough task for even the strongest of horses, and it is why we witnessed a 37-year gap between Triple Crown winners before American Pharoah accomplished the feat in 2015.
Despite plenty of factors going against him, War of Will is in great form and should be in good position to cross the finish line in first place.
The horses starting from the inside post positions could make a difference in the race by obtaining the inside line and holding off the outside surges by War of Will and Tacitus.
On paper, Master Fencer appears to be the best candidate for that, but Preakness second-place finisher Everfast could surprise us for the second straight race.
If you are looking for a long shot to make noise over the 1.5-mile race, Tax could be the best option at 11-1, per the event's official website.
Although he took 14th at the Kentucky Derby, Tax has experience racing against Tacitus from his second-place finish at the Wood Memorial.
As we have witnessed in the first two Triple Crown races, long shots have found a way to work themselves into the top three, and that could be the case again Saturday.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Horse Racing Nation.