2019 Belmont Stakes post positions announced

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The 151st Belmont Stakes will close out the 2019 Triple Crown, and the “Test of the Champion” isn’t lacking in star power. The June 8 race is set to run 10 horses, with early favorite Tacitus leading the field at 9-5.

Three weeks after his Preakness Stakes win, War of Will looks to become just the 12th horse ever to lose in the Kentucky Derby and come back to win the second and third jewels in the Triple Crown.

Four others also ran in the Kentucky Derby: Tacitus (3rd), Master Fencer (6th), Tax (14th) and Spinoff (18th). There will be two horses who also ran with War of Will in the Preakness: Everfast (2nd) and Bourbon War (8th).

Two-time Triple Crown trainer Bob Baffert isn’t running a horse in the Belmont after falling short in the Derby (Improbable at 4th, Game Winner at 5th and Roadster at 15th) and Preakness (Improbable at 4th). Hall of Famer Mike Smith will ride his third horse in as many Triple Crown races this year, moving to Bourbon War at Belmont Park after riding Cutting Humor in the Kentucky Derby and Improbable in the Preakness.

What to know about the 2019 Belmont Stakes

Below are the post positions for the 2019 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York, including opening odds as of June 4.

1. Joevia (30-1)
Trainer: Gregg Sacco
Jockey: Jose Lezcano

2. Everfast (12-1)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Luis Saez

3. Master Fencer (8-1)
Trainer: Koichi Tsunoda
Jockey: Julien Leparoux

4. Tax (15-1)
Trainer: Danny Gargan
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

5. Bourbon War (12-1)
Trainer: Mark Hennig
Jockey: Mike Smith

6. Spinoff (15-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano

7. Sir Winston (12-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Joel Rosario

8. Intrepid Heart (10-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez

9. War of Will (2-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

10. Tacitus (9-5)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Watch the 2019 Belmont Stakes only on NBC and NBCSN. Coverage on NBCSN begins Friday, June 7 at 5 p.m. for the Belmont Gold Cup and continues on Saturday, June 8 at 2:30 p.m. before moving to NBC at 4 p.m. Post time is set for approximately 6:38 p.m. See the full broadcast schedule here.

Higher Power wins $1M Pacific Classic

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DEL MAR, Calif. — With his top two horses elsewhere, John Sadler took a chance with a couple others in his barn.

Higher Power paid off.

The 4-year-old colt took command turning into the stretch and won the $1 million Pacific Classic by 5 1/4 lengths at Del Mar on Saturday, making Sadler the first trainer to win the Grade 1 race in consecutive years with different horses.

“The second time is just as sweet,” Sadler said.

In 2018, Accelerate ended Sadler’s 0-for-11 skid with a record 12 1/2-length victory in the West’s biggest race of the summer. Owner-brothers Kosta and Pete Hronis joined Sadler with consecutive victories.

“Winning it back to back is a tribute to John Sadler,” Kosta Hronis said.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Higher Power ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.43 at the seaside track north of San Diego. Sent off at 9-1 odds, the colt paid $21.20, $9.40 and $7.40.

“When we entered the backside he really grabbed the bit and I was travelling really well,” Prat said. “Once the leader fell apart he really jumped into the bridle and did everything on his own, so I thought that was the right move.”

Draft Pick returned $17.40 and $10 at 13-1 odds. Mongolian Groom was another neck back in third and paid $7.20 to show at 18-1 odds.

Higher Power earned an automatic berth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita this fall.

Seeking the Soul, the 2-1 favorite, finished seventh.

“He didn’t try at all,” jockey John Velazquez said. “No effort. I don’t get it.”

Sadler’s top two handicap horses, Gift Box and Catalina Cruiser, weren’t in the picture. Gift Box won’t run again until this fall and Catalina Cruiser is tabbed to run next in a sprint race.

Not seeing a dominant horse in the race, Sadler entered Higher Power. The colt responded with the first stakes win of his career.

“It developed pretty much the way we thought,” he said. “We thought there would be some speed on the inside and the plan was to stalk. It came out the way we thought it would.”

Sadler’s other entry, Campaign, finished fifth.

The victory, worth $600,000, increased Higher Power’s career earnings to $800,648, with five wins in 13 starts.

Sadler didn’t get Higher Power in his barn until spring. The colt was with another trainer for the first six starts of his career and then transferred to a different trainer.

In other stakes:

– Acclimate won the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap by a length under Florent Geroux. The 5-year-old brown gelding earned an automatic berth in the BC Turf.

Trained by Phil D’Amato, Acclimate ran 1 3/8 miles on turf in 2:12.71 and paid $16.60 to win at 7-1 odds.

– Cambier Parc shipped in from New York and won the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks by 1 1/4 lengths for trainer Chad Brown.

Ridden by Velazquez, the 3-year-old filly ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.75. She paid $4.40 as the 6-5 favorite.

– Fighting Mad cruised to an eight-length victory in the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, the 3-year-old filly ran one mile in 1:38.61. Fighting Mad paid $6.60 as the 2-1 favorite trained by Bob Baffert. She’s owned by Gary and Mary West, owners of Maximum Security, disqualified after finishing first in the Kentucky Derby.

– Mr Vargas won the $100,000 Green Flash Handicap by 2 1/4 lengths.

The 5-year-old gelding ran five furlongs on turf in 56.15 seconds under Talamo. Mr Vargas paid $8.40 to win for trainer Brian Koriner.

Horologist upsets Jaywalk in Monmouth Oaks

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OCEANPORT, N.J. — Horologist upset Jaywalk, last year’s juvenile filly champion, in the $162,500 Monmouth Oaks on Saturday.

As expected, 1-5 favorite Jaywalk set the pace until Horologist made a strong run along the rail on the final turn. She slipped by to win by three quarters of a length in the stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Monmouth Park.

Horologist, bred in New Jersey, won for the fifth time in 10 starts for trainer John Mazza. Mazza said he was confident his horse would run a “bang-up race,” but he didn’t know it would be enough to beat a “champion like Jaywalk.”

Angel Suarez was aboard for the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.44.

Jaywalk was coming off a nine-length win in the Delaware Oaks last month. She closed out last season by winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to clinch the Eclipse Award.

Horologist – whose name refers to a maker or dealer of timepieces – paid 12.80, $3.40 and $2.10 as the 5-1 second choice in the five-horse field.

Jaywalk returned $2.10 and $2.10. Sweet Sami D paid $2.10 to show, and was followed by Lady Banba and Stay Smart.