2019 Belmont Stakes post positions announced


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.

Forte works out, waits for Belmont Stakes clearance

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NEW YORK — Forte, the early Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched on the day of the race, worked out in preparation for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

Under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte worked five-eighths of a mile for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. It was the colt’s second workout since being scratched from the Derby on May 6.

“It seems like he’s maintained his fitness level,” Pletcher said. “It seems like everything is in good order.”

Forte was placed on a mandatory 14-day veterinary list after being scratched from the Derby because of a bruised right front foot. In order to be removed from the list, the colt had to work in front of a state veterinarian and give a blood sample afterward, the results of which take five days.

“There’s protocols in place and we had to adhere to those and we’re happy that everything went smoothly,” Pletcher said. “We felt confident the horse was in good order or we wouldn’t have been out there twice in the last six days, but you still want to make sure everything went smoothly and we’re happy everything did go well.”

Pletcher said Kingsbarns, who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby, will miss the Belmont. The colt is showing signs of colic, although he is fine, the trainer said.

Another Pletcher-trained horse, Prove Worthy, is under consideration for the Belmont. He also has Tapit Trice, who finished seventh in the Derby, being pointed toward the Belmont.

Judge grants Churchill Downs’ request for summary judgment to dismiss Bob Baffert’s lawsuit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge has granted Churchill Downs’ motion for summary judgment that dismisses Bob Baffert’s claim the track breached due process by suspending the Hall of Fame trainer for two years.

Churchill Downs Inc. suspended Baffert in June 2021 after his now-deceased colt, Medina Spirit, failed a postrace drug test after crossing the finish line first in the 147th Kentucky Derby. The trainer’s request to lift the discipline was denied in February, keeping him out of the Derby for a second consecutive May.

U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings ruled in a 12-page opinion issued Wednesday that Churchill Downs’ suspension of Baffert did not devalue his Kentucky trainer’s license. It cited his purse winnings exceeding $1 million at Keeneland in Lexington and stated that his argument “amounts to a false analogy that distorts caselaw.”

Jennings denied CDI’s motion to stay discovery as moot.

The decision comes less than a week after Baffert-trained colt National Treasure won the Preakness in his first Triple Crown race in two years. His record eighth win in the second jewel of the Triple Crown came hours after another of his horses, Havnameltdown, was euthanized following an injury at Pimlico.

Churchill Downs said in a statement that it was pleased with the court’s favorable ruling as in Baffert’s other cases.

It added, “While he may choose to file baseless appeals, this completes the seemingly endless, arduous and unnecessary litigation proceedings instigated by Mr. Baffert.”

Baffert’s suspension is scheduled to end on June 2, but the track’s release noted its right to extend it “and will communicate our decision” at its conclusion.