A field of 10 will head to the starting gate on Saturday in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1), one of eight Grade 1 races on a blockbuster day of racing at Belmont Park.
Tacitus was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite for the third jewel of the Triple Crown. The Bill Mott trainee drew the outside 10 post and will have Jose Ortiz in the irons. The colt rallied to cross the wire fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and was elevated to third after the disqualification of Maximum Security.
Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. The Mark Casse trainee will be the only three-year-old to compete in each of the Triple Crown races. The colt was placed seventh in the Run for the Roses.
“I think he’s put on 40-50 pounds and that’s what we’ve been looking for,” Casse said. “We kind of know everyone in the field by now. I tend to just worry about my horses and not anybody else’s. If the pace is slow, he’ll probably be on the lead. If it’s quick, hopefully he’ll sit behind the pacesetters.”
Tyler Gafflione has the return call and will break from the nine post.
Master Fencer is the third choice at 8-1. The Japanese contender rallied to finish seventh and was placed sixth in the Kentucky Derby, beaten four lengths Julian Leparoux has the return call and will break from the three post.
The Todd Pletcher trained Intrepid Heart is 10-1 on the morning line. The son of Tapit ran third in the Peter Pan (G3) in his stakes debut on May 11. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will be in the irons and will break from the eight post.
Pletcher also sends out Spinoff (15-1) who was a disappointing 18th in the Kentucky Derby. Javier Castellano rides the son of Hard Spun for the first time on Saturday and will break from the six post. Pletcher has won the Belmont three times, the most recent with Tapwrit in 2017, who had run sixth in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness.
Casse Sends Out Two
In addition to War of Will, Casse will send out Sir Winston (12-1), who rallied to finish in the runner up spot in the Peter Pan. Joel Rosario will ride and will break from the seven post.
Bourbon War (12-1) was a disappointing eighth in the Preakness. The Mark Hennig trainee was fourth in the Florida Derby (G1) and second in the Fountain of Youth (G2) in his two previous starts, both coming at Gulfstream Park. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rides the colt for the first time and will break from the five post.
Trainer Dale Romans sends out Everfast (12-1) who rallied to finish in the runner up spot in the Preakness at 29-1, beaten just 1 ¼ lengths. Rosario rode the colt in that outing, with Luis Saez picking up the call and breaks from the two post.
Completing the field are Tax (15-1) who was placed 14th in the Kentucky Derby and Joevia (30-1) who won the Long Branch at Monmouth Park in his last outing.
|1||Joevia||30-1||Gregg Sacco||Jose Lezcano|
|2||Everfast||12-1||Dale Romans||Luis Saez|
|3||Master Fencer (JPN)||8-1||Koichi Tsunoda||Julien Leparoux|
|4||Tax||15-1||Danny Gargan||Irad Ortiz, Jr.|
|5||Bourbon War||12-1||Mark Hennig||Mike Smith|
|6||Spinoff||15-1||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano|
|7||Sir Winston||12-1||Mark Casse||Joel Rosario|
|8||Intrepid Heart||10-1||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez|
|9||War of Will||2-1||Mark Casse||Tyler Gaffalione|
|10||Tacitus||9-5||Bill Mott||Jose Ortiz|