Welcome, horse racing fans and betting enthusiasts!
We are down to the final leg of the Triple Crown with the 151st Belmont Stakes set to go this Saturday from Belmont Race track in New York. The first major thing to note is that the Belmont is run over 1.5 miles, which is longer than both the Derby and the Preakness so be prepared for some late breaking drama as the horses get into the stretch. Although we do not have a Triple Crown threat, we still have a lot to analyze from a betting standpoint and there are some familiar names in the field including the Preakness winner War of Will.
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** If you are unfamiliar with Horse Racing or wagering on the ponies make sure to stop in by Friday at 11:30 EST for our Awesemo Odds betting show where we will be giving a full analysis of everything you need to know for Saturday’s big day of racing **
The Horses (listed by post positions)
1: Joevia 30-1
First horse up is Joevia, ridden by Jose Lezcano, a newcomer who hasn’t raced in either the Derby or the Preakness. The odds indicate this is a tall task for a horse who was nowhere in the Wood Memorial (finished 11th) and although they are coming in off a win in the Long Branch Stakes it was a race with only four horses in it. I don’t think Joevia factors in here and is one of the first horses crossed off the list.
2: Everfast 12-1
Luis Saez aboard Everfast who shocked me and everyone at the Preakness with a late charge to finish second at a monster price. The closing style will suit this longer race, but this is still a horse who hasn’t won since her first maiden start and has only a pair of second place finishes in terms of hitting the board in 2019. We aren’t going to get the monster odds like we saw at the Preakness, but this is not a horse I’m going to much if at all.
3: Master Fencer 8-1
Finished a respectable sixth at the Kentucky Derby and comes in with some positive momentum as he closed nicely in that race despite the heavy traffic. Julian Leparoux is a quality jockey and Master Fencer just needs to keep contact with the leaders as they turn for home and he will have every opportunity to make a late run and grab a piece of the pool. It will be interesting to see where his odds go on Saturday as he currently sits at 8-1 on the morning line.
4: Tax 15-1
Was a non-factor in his last start at the Kentucky Derby finishing 14th and never really making an impact in the race. Before that though there were a lot of positives with a runner up finish at the Wood Memorial and some really nice speed figures in quality races. Tax has hit the board in every start except the Derby so if you are banking on that being an outlier you are getting a really nice price on him here.
5: Bourbon War 12-1
Jockey change here as Mike Smith takes over for Irad Ortiz aboard Bourbon War who we last saw finishing towards the back of the pack at the Preakness. Mike Smith certainly has all the experience needed to grab another Belmont, but Bourbon War really doesn’t stand out in many ways despite some quality showings. He was second in the Fountain of Youth and fourth in the Florida Derby (Maximum Security won) which are both quality showings but it’s a stretch to think he breaks through here.
6: Spinoff 15-1
Todd Pletcher training and Javier Castellano aboard is a nice combo right off the bat for Spinoff. He was nowhere in the Derby, but the sloppy conditions certainly could be a reasonable excuse and before that he was solid with a runner-up finish at the Louisiana Derby. Outside of the Kentucky Derby he has hit the board in all four of his starts so if you want to look his way in exotics it’s a reasonable spot even if he’s not on the short list to grab the W.
7: Sir Winston 12-1
Joel Rosario aboard Sir Winston who really hasn’t made a huge impact going against quality competition in the recent stakes races. He was impressive at the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont in early May finishing second, but other than that he’s got a seventh, fifth, and fourth place showing in 2019. Another horse who could be in play on the back-end of exotic tickets, but nothing really stands out in terms of gearing up or peaking at the right time in this one.
8: Intrepid Heart 10-1
Another Todd Pletcher trained horse with John Velazquez aboard and he is the wildcard of the bunch. Only three starts to his name with a pair of wins against lesser competition and then a third place finish at the Peter Pan. Intrepid Heart does have the pedigree specifically for Belmont being a son Tapit who has sired a handful of Belmont winners in recent years. We still do not know how good this horse is due to lack of quality starts, but I think they set up well for a mile and a half and is an off the wall contender.
9: War of Will 2-1
Now we get to the serious top end threats with War of Will coming off the Preakness Stakes win. Tyler Gaffalione is aboard as usual and although this horse had a dream trip at Pimlico there is no doubt the talent is there. Going to be a short price along with Tacitus, but he has a knack for finding the winners circle. He is 3/5 in terms of wins this year, but in the two starts he didn’t cross the line first he was nowhere to be found showing some volatility.
10: Tacitus 9-5
Jose Ortiz aboard will Bill Mott training for what should be the post time favorite on Tacitus who sits at 9 to 5 on the opening line. He won the Wood Memorial and then charged late in the Derby to finish third after Maximum Security got taken down so there’s a lot to like with this horse. He should be well suited to deal with the long stretch run and as the odds reflect I think he is the horse to beat in this one.
Before I give my picks, make sure to check out our contributor Evan Schwartz’s early analysis of the field:
With no Triple Crown threat, some of the punch has been taken out of the Belmont Stakes. But that just adds to the intrigue on the betting front. Tacitus and War of Will are going to be the main contenders and the betting odds will reflect that, but after them it is wide open in terms of who could get in the mix and what kind of odds you are going to see. To me, Tactitus is my favorite of the two big names and out of the handful of deeper threats, I actually think Intrepid Heart makes for a very live sleeper who sets up to respond well to the uniqueness of a race this long.
Good luck everyone!
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