2019 Belmont Stakes

Sir Winston wins the 2019 Belmont Stakes

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Sir Winston, jockeyed by Joel Rosario and trained by Mark Casse, won the 151st Belmont Stakes after swinging around Joevia and Tax down the homestretch.

The Kentucky-bred horse began on the rail before skirting in front of stablemate War of Will. Once out to the far right, he ate up the distance between him and the two pace setters. Tacitus, the 9/5 favorite, had his comeback attempt foiled and finished second.

Full results from the 2019 Belmont Stakes

This is Casse’s second Triple Crown win of the year and his first Belmont win ever. Rosario previously won the Belmont with Tonalist in 2014. Casse also ran Preakness winner War of Will, who finished 9th. This is Sir Winston’s Triple Crown debut, but Rosario rode Everfast to a surprising second place finish in the Preakness. (Everfast ran 7th in the Belmont with jockey Luis Saez.)

The only horse to run in all three Triple Crown races, War of Will ran a disappointing 9th just three weeks after his Preakness win in Baltimore.

Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher ran two horses: Spinoff (6th) and Intrepid Heart (8th).

One year removed from his Triple Crown victory aboard Justify, Mike Smith rode Bourbon War for the first time, but the pair fell to the back early in the race and never recovered, finishing dead last.

Watch Larry Collmus call the 151st Belmont Stakes

The 1 1/2 mile-long (12 furlongs) “Test of the Champions” closed out one of the most dramatic Triple Crowns in recent memory.

Five weeks ago, Maximum Security crossed the wire first at Churchill Downs. About 22 minutes later, the second place finisher Country House was declared the winner of the 145th Kentucky Derby after track stewards ruled Maximum Security had impeded the forward motion of several horses. For the first time ever, the Kentucky Derby winner was disqualified on site.

In the days following, Maximum Security’s team announced they would rest the colt with no shot at a Triple Crown, and Country House’s training team scratched him from the Preakness because of a cough and potential burgeoning illness.

Without the disqualified winner and the official winner in contention, the 144th Preakness Stakes seemed to go off without a hitch until Bodexpress ditched jockey John Velazquez right out of the gate. The riderless No. 9 horse kept pace with the pack and even kept running after the race ended before being caught by outrider and former jockey Kaymarie Kreidel.

Somewhat slighted by the Bodexpress drama, Mark Casse’s War of Will shot past pace-setting Warrior’s Charge down the homestretch to win the 2019 Preakness Stakes. The win was especially sweet since War of Will was the horse most impacted by Maximum Security in the Derby.

Belmont pick is Tacticus, aided by bloodlines

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This is a Triple Crown season that will be remembered, though probably should be forgotten.

Maximum Security was the winner of the Kentucky Derby for about 20 minutes, then got taken down over a claim of foul that will be debated forever. The Preakness was probably most notable for Bodexpress throwing jockey John Velazquez to the ground as they lurched from the starting gate and then running the race anyway.

And now, the Belmont Stakes gets its turn. If form holds, something peculiar will happen.

A field of 10 horses will be in the gate on Saturday for the mile-and-a-half race, which is racing’s equivalent of a marathon. The Preakness winner, War of Will, is in there. So is Tacticus, who was placed third in the Kentucky Derby and is set as the morning-line favorite for the Belmont at 9-5 – slightly better than War of Will, at 2-1.

They are, far and away, the best horses in the field on paper.

Thing is, this race – like every other race – isn’t run on paper.

There are horses that can beat Tacticus and War of Will in this race, including Bourbon War, who was inexplicably a non-factor in the Preakness. If basing solely off that race, there would really be no reason to take a shot with him in the Belmont. But there is a big reason to take a look at him, and Intrepid Heart, and Tacticus.

They were all sired by Tapit.

There may not be a race where bloodlines matter more than the Belmont. Not every horse can go 12 furlongs. Those sired by Tapit have shown they’re more than capable of handling the distance; he was the winning sire in three of the last five Belmonts.

Bourbon War also gets Mike Smith to ride in this one, which is always a plus. His morning line of 12-1 is going to get bet down considerably simply because of the Smith factor, which is especially noteworthy in New York.

Intrepid Heart’s record – two wins and a third in three starts, with $140,400 in earnings – doesn’t look like much. But his last start, at Belmont four weeks ago in the Peter Pan, was actually very impressive considering he stumbled at the start and seemed to burn through his gas tank trying to make up ground.

Tacticus was placed third in the Kentucky Derby after Maximum Security was taken down and smartly skipped the Preakness. He’s a closer and he’ll be fresh for this race, always a good Belmont combination, plus keeps Jose Ortiz in the irons. This will be Tacticus’ sixth start; he’s had the same rider every time.

Everfast has raced 11 times; he won his first start and hasn’t won since, yet got up for second in the Preakness and he’s officially puzzling. Joevia needs a perfect trip and some luck to be a factor. Tax and Spinoff both never fired in the Kentucky Derby, though that may have been more about the slop in each case than anything else. Sir Winston ran huge at the end of the Peter Pan and looks like he’ll be a hard-charger at the end, if he doesn’t steal the whole thing.

War of Will was fantastic to win the Preakness, another horse with the closing style that one needs at the Belmont. As always, though, the question remains about how a horse can handle the daunting task of competing in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont in a five-week window. Some get through it with ease. Others are gassed before they get to New York.

Master Fencer is racing for more than anyone else. He’s a Japanese-bred and would get a $1 million bonus from the New York Racing Association if he wins the Belmont. He had a big finish in the slop at the Kentucky Derby and showed big-time closing speed. So he could be there at the end, and there will be value with him since New York bettors aren’t likely to bet down a horse they’ve rarely seen. He had a misstep in a workout last week, which may scare some potential backers off.

Plenty of good options. But a wacky Triple Crown season should end on a fairly predictable note.

Tacticus is the best horse of the 10. If he gets the right trip, even coming from the outside in a marathon, he wins.

The pick is Tacticus, with Bourbon War second and Master Fencer third, with Sir Winston rounding out the superfecta.

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.