Saturday’s Belmont Stakes has an expected field of 10 with seven of those having last raced in either previous leg of the Triple Crown series.
Horses coming from the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes dominate the Belmont. Since the turn of the century, those runners have completed the Exacta the majority of the time, while a few 3-year-olds from the Peter Pan Stakes (G3) and the Preakness weekend under-cards have crept into the top two spots.
KD runners that skip the Preakness have done very well in recent years, including Belmont Winners: TAPWRIT(2017), CREATOR (2016), PALACE MALICE (2013) and UNION RAGS (2012).
Excluding the Triple Crown Victories of JUSTIFY(2018) and AMERICAN PHAROAH (2015), the leading American sire TAPIT has dominated the Test of the Champions recently with three winners: TAPWRIT (2017), CREATOR (2016) and TONALIST (2014).
There are three sons of the gray stallion- TAPIT (pictured), in this year’s field. So let’s have a look at those siblings and analyze their chances.
TACITUS He might very well be the Post-Time favorite, as opposed to Preakness Winner WAR OF WILL. Given that many bettors assume he’s best suited for the 1.5 mile Belmont Stakes. Breeding reinforces the idea that this distance is ideal for TACITUS. Both of his Derby trail Victories showed the steady, grinding running style that is essential for success in this race. Trainer Bill Mott chose to skip the Preakness, prior to which TACITUS hit the wire fourth in the Derby before being promoted to third in the running order after the DQ of MAXIMUM SECURITY.
BOURBON WAR He was certainly one of the most disappointing horses in the Preakness based on his eighth-place finish as the 5-1 second choice in the betting pools. The official chart from Pimlico said that BOURBON WAR “no factor.” Ouch. He got all that support based on his promising performances in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and the Florida Derby (G1). Trainer Mark Hennig put blinkers on the colt for the first time in the Preakness in an effort to keep him closer to the pace. Maybe it was the blinkers, but he did no running on that day in Baltimore. The equipment is coming off for Belmont, jockey Mike Smith gets the mount, and there is the TAPIT factor. But… the bottom line is BOURBON WAR has not Won beyond the Allowance level and has lots of questions to answer.
INTREPID HEART This Todd Pletcher trainee is the most lightly raced horse in the field. He also brings the TAPIT angle, and his trainer knows how to Win this race. INTREPID HEART stumbled badly leaving the gate in the Peter Pan Stakes, yet still managed to get third while recording his highest speed figure. The positive view of his limited experience is that he has the opportunity to improve, and the distance should be to his liking. John Velazquez is aboard, and he is one of the best in negotiating the Big Sandy. With double digit odds likely, he will bring good Value to the gate.
The Post-Position draw for the Belmont Stakes is Tuesday afternoon at 5:30, to be held at Citi Field in Queens, NY. So check back with the Daily Racing Blog on Wednesday night as we will take a look at the entire field, with Post-Positions, and Morning Line odds.