There are always one or two last minute contenders for this race given that trainers want their horses fresh for this huge mile-and-a-half test, but this year we have a strong bunch from the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and major spring prep races making up the market and they are giving the form a great look.
Pro handicappers will be on the lookout for some good value given that this race has caught out many a Triple Crown seeker and it’s always wise to have a good knowledge of the race overall.You can check out our dedicated page on the Belmont Stakes right here.
The behind-the-scenes prep and track work is all done now, so it’s over to the superstar thoroughbreds and their jockeys to do the business in the 151st Belmont Stakes. Here are the ten lining up for a shot at glory:
Bourbon War (trainer: Mark Hennig owner: Bourbon Lane Stable & Lake Star
Having shown strong form in Florida in the spring, Bourbon War was a strong outside pick for the Kentucky Derby but missed out in Louisville, instead being saved for Pimlico and the Preakness Stakes where he ran a little flat back in 8th place.
He is by top stallion Tapit, sire of three of the last 5 Belmont winners and shapes as though he needs this race distance. Post Position: 5
Everfast (trainer: Dale Romans owner: Calumet Farm)
Another big improver having been a long shot before running on well for second place in the Preakness; that style may point to him loving this race distance but his overall profile is not that impressive and this has the look of a deeper race than the one at Pimlico. Post Position: 2
Intrepid Heart (trainer: Todd Pletcher owner: Robert & Lowana Low)
The winner of a claimer at Keeneland and then third in the Peter Pan, his form and experience leave a lot to be desired but his trainer knows what it takes to win this and he’ll be prepared in the right way. Post Position: 8
Joevia (trainer: Gregory Sacco owner: Michael & Jeff Fazio)
A latecomer into the Belmont fray and a real outsider; he was disqualified at Aqueduct back in April’s Wood Memorial Stakes for causing interference but was beaten only a neck by Haikal in February, a horse who went on to win the Gotham Stakes and run third to our favorite Tacitus the Wood Memorial itself. Post Position: 1
Master Fencer (trainer: Koichi Tsunoda owner: Katsumi Yoshizawa)
The Japanese runner did well in the Kentucky Derby (sixth), will improve for having spent more time in the States and comes from a nation that does well in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which of course is run over this distance. Post Position: 3
Sir Winston (trainer: Mark Casse owner: Tracy Farmer)
Another representing the Peter Pan Stakes form, this colt is still capable of improving but no more so than the winner that day (Global Campaign) and he’s had his chances up against the likes of Tacitus and Tax without much success. Post Position: 7
Spinoff (trainer: Todd Pletcher owner: Wertheimer & Frere)
His form is very in and out but he has the basic ability to hit the board so it would be interesting if his odds began to tumble. Post Position: 6
Tacitus (trainer: Bill Mott owner: Juddmonte Farms)
An early favorite for this and it’s easy to see why. Representing this year’s strong Florida form, he was a good third in the Kentucky Derby when running on strongly at the end and he should really appreciate this distance.
Given the interference he suffered, he could have been much closer in Louisville and that gives him close to the strongest form in this race so bearing in mind the stamina in his breeding he has to be a leading contender. Post Position: 10
Tax (trainer: Danny Gargan owner: RA Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred et
Second to Tacitus in the Wood Memorial, he has been keeping the right company but there’s no obvious reason why he should improve past that rival now and he ran pretty poorly in Kentucky. Post Position: 4
War Of Will (trainer: Mark Casse owner: Gary Barber)
A good and deserved winner of the Preakness Stakes, but there was a complete dearth of viable Kentucky Derby rivals at Pimlico and this promises to be a deeper race. Post Position: 9
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