June 18, 2024

Get to know the 2019 Belmont Stakes contenders

Atop the Belmont Stakes trophy is Fenian, August Belmont's homebred winner of the 1869 classic (NYRA photo)

***UPDATED with post positions and morning-line odds

After an historic first disqualification of a Kentucky Derby (G1) winner for interference and a riderless horse in the Preakness (G1), what unforeseeable spectacle awaits in the June 8 Belmont S. (G1)?

War of Will, hampered by the disqualified Maximum Security in the Derby, bounced back in style to land the Preakness. The only horse to race in all three jewels of the 2019 Triple Crown, the Mark Casse trainee bids for a Preakness/Belmont double achieved in recent years by Point Given (2001) and Afleet Alex (2005).

While neither Maximum Security nor promoted Derby winner Country House are trying the Belmont, a few Derby runners opted to skip the Preakness to arrive fresh for the “Test of the Champion” – Tacitus, who was promoted to third; Master Fencer, the Japan Road invitee who stormed up the inside late to rank as the official sixth-placer; and Spinoff, a subpar 18th in the slop. Another Derby competitor finally confirmed for the Belmont is Tax, officially 14th.

Two Preakness “new shooters” who chased War of Will home at Pimlico, runner-up Everfast and eighth Bourbon War, are in the Belmont. Classic newcomers include Sir Winston and Intrepid Heart, the respective second and third from the May 11 Peter Pan (G3) over the track, and recent Long Branch winner Joevia.

Here’s the field for the Belmont, along with free Brisnet PPs. Also, check out the TwinSpires.com Belmont works round-up.

War of Will in the Preakness winner’s circle (c) Horsephotos.com/Cecilia Gustavsson

WAR OF WILL, Post 9, 2-1

Kentucky Derby escape artist and Preakness hero aims for pro tem divisional leadership

Owner: Gary Barber; Trainer: Mark Casse; Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Pedigree: War Front-Visions of Clarity, by Sadler’s Wells

War of Will news


Tacitus winning the Wood Memorial (c) NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand

TACITUS, Post 10, 9-5 favorite

Wood Memorial (G2) and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner, placed third in the Kentucky Derby, figures to handle the 1 1/2-mile distance

Owner: Juddmonte Farms; Trainer: Bill Mott; Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Pedigree: Tapit-Close Hatches, by First Defence

Tacitus news


MASTER FENCER, Post 3, 8-1

Master Fencer was fourth on the Japan Road points list but the top scorer among Triple Crown nominees (c) Akio Takahashi

Japanese shipper, hard-charging Derby sixth, hopes to improve on compatriot Lani’s third here in 2016

Owner: Katsumi & Yasuyo Yoshizawa; Trainer: Koichi Tsunoda; Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Pedigree: Just a Way-Sexy Zamurai, by Deputy Minister

Master Fencer news


Tax guts out the Withers (c) NYRA/Coglianese/Viola Jasko


TAX, Post 4, 15-1

Withers (G3) winner and Wood runner-up ran well below his best when 14th in the Derby

Owner: R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch & Corms Racing Stable; Trainer: Danny Gargan; Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Pedigree: Arch-Toll, by Giant’s Causeway

Tax news


Spinoff trains for the Derby (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

SPINOFF, Post 6, 15-1

Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up, a too-bad-to-be-true 18th in the Kentucky Derby, didn’t enjoy the slop

Owner: Wertheimer et Frere; Trainer: Todd Pletcher; Jockey: Javier Castellano

Pedigree: Hard Spun-Zaftig, by Gone West

Spinoff news


Everfast scored on debut last August at Ellis Park (c) Coady Photography


EVERFAST, Post 2, 12-1

Preakness runner-up had looked exposed before outperforming his odds at Pimlico

Owner: Calumet Farm; Trainer: Dale Romans; Jockey: Luis Saez

Pedigree: Take Charge Indy-Awesome Surprise, by Awesome Again

Everfast news


Bourbon War will try to tap into his talent in the Belmont (c) Leslie Martin/Coglianese

BOURBON WAR, Post 5, 12-1

Fountain of Youth (G2) runner-up and Florida Derby (G1) fourth didn’t progress as hoped when adding blinkers in the Preakness, where he checked in eighth

Owner: Bourbon Lane Stable & Lake Star Stable; Trainer: Mark Hennig; Jockey: Mike Smith

Pedigree: Tapit-My Conquestadory, by Artie Schiller

Bourbon War news

SIR WINSTON, Post 7, 12-1

Sir Winston captured last fall’s Display at Woodbine (c) WEG/Michael Burns

Display winner, unplaced in a trio of Derby points races, closed well for second in the Peter Pan

Owner: Tracy Farmer; Trainer: Mark Casse; Jockey: Joel Rosario

Pedigree: Awesome Again-La Gran Bailadora, by Afleet Alex

Sir Winston news


INTREPID HEART, Post 8, 10-1

Intrepid Heart made a dazzling debut on Southwest Day (c) Coady Photography/Oaklawn

Half-brother to 2014 Belmont near-misser Commissioner suffered his first loss in the Peter Pan, finishing third as the favorite after a stumbling start

Owner: Robert & Lawana Low; Trainer: Todd Pletcher; Jockey: John Velazquez

Pedigree: Tapit-Flaming Heart, by Touch Gold

Intrepid Heart news


JOEVIA, Post 1, 30-1

Joevia wins the Long Branch (c) Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO


Breakthrough in Monmouth Park’s Long Branch came after his Wood Memorial debacle, where he was demoted from seventh to 11th for interference.

Owner: Michael Fazio & Jeff Fazio; Trainer: Greg Sacco; Jockey: Jose Lezcano

Pedigree: Shanghai Bobby-Peace Process, by War Front

Joevia news


3 Comments on Get to know the 2019 Belmont Stakes contenders

  1. W.o.W. will be a short price, Ill try to beat him on top. Tacitus is tough, but the wrong running style to win the 1 1/2 mile Belmont. Game Winer, play against Baffert at Your own risk, but I don’t think his hand is that strong this year. I’ll try to keep GW out of the top two spots at least. Plus he will be maybe co-favorite. Romans horse shocked in the Preakness at huge odds, but seldom do these type repeat, won’t use. Also, won’t use Sir Winston or Tax, can’t use them all.
    I like Spinoff to win the Belmont, and he should be a square price. I don’t think he liked the slop at CD at all, if sloppy, Ill toss. I’ll use Tacitus and W.O.W. from 2’nd down in tri/super, add in Master Fencer and Owendale from 3’rd down. The only thing I need is a wheel barrow to haul all my winnings in to the bank. Good luck!

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