The final leg of the Triple Crown is upon us and though we won’t have a Triple Crown winner like last year with Justify, there is a compelling storyline here with Preakness Stakes winner War of Will, who in all counts, probably would have won the Kentucky Derby if not for pulling up due to Maximum Security failing to run straight.
So, what if War of Will wins the Belmont?
Interesting enough, War of Will is not the favorite to win the Belmont. Tacitus, who was third in the Derby, is slated at 9-5.
Weather won’t be a factor this Saturday in New York. The field of 10 chasing $1.5 million over a grueling distance of 1.5 miles, which is likely the only time these horses will ever run this long distance, won’t have a mud excuse.
One interesting note here. Runners that are sons of Tapit have won 3 of the last 5 Belmont Stakes. Three in this race have that sire – Bourbon War, Intrepid Heart and Tacitus. But, just because your dad is Michael Jordan doesn’t mean you can dunk…In the last 12 Belmonts where the Triple Crown was not a factor, the favorite has only won twice.
1 – Joevia (30-1)
Longshot with tons of early speed in a race that doesn’t look to have quick early fractions. Joevia is 2 for 5 with his last win coming in his last start in a $100K stakes race at Monmouth Park in the slop going gate-to-wire. The only race he had good competition was in the Wood Memorial where he had the early lead then absolutely fell apart and ran 7th behind Tacitus and Tax. He does possess a sharp 5-furlong workout coming into Saturday, but if you believe in miracles, this is your horse. Better rider in Jose Lezcano this time out, too.
2 – Everfast (12-1)
1 win in 11 lifetime starts and this colt is only 12-1? He earned that by running his race of a lifetime in the Preakness by rallying from 18 lengths back to finish 2nd at 56-1 odds behind winner War of Will. Not a fan of him winning here, but definitely like the late running style to hit the board and finish in the money. Jockey Joel Rosario was aboard last time and is now on the 7-Sir Winston.
3 – Master Fencer (8-1)
The first ever Japanese bred colt to run in the Kentucky Derby and he actually didn’t do too bad by finishing 7th. His workouts since have been unappealing. If he duplicates the Derby, the long Belmont stretch will be in his favor.
4 – Tax (15-1)
Embarrassing effort in the Derby with a 14th place finish. Maybe it was because of the inside post? He was gritty before that in the Wood Memorial finishing 2nd behind Tacitus and even won the Withers Stakes. His connections have said he is healing from some sort of hoof injury and that is bothersome. If he is healthy, I wouldn’t mind taking a stab with him, but I don’t speak horse “nayyy.”
5 – Bourbon War (12-1)
So many people were on this horse in the Preakness – not me – and he made them all throw their tickets away by finishing 8th. This $410K purchase has yet to win a stakes race so trainer Mark Henning takes the colt’s blinkers off after a bad experiment in the start in Maryland. Hall of Famer Mike Smith gets the call and 12-1 is too juicy for me to pass up here (son of Tapit angle as well).
6 – Spinoff (15-1)
This horse literally spit the bit in the Derby. He hated the sloppy track and shut it down early and beat 1 horse in the race. Go a race back and this horse fits here. He had the lead in the stretch of the Louisiana Derby and finished 2nd. His workouts aren’t the best but trainer Todd Pletcher knows how to steal a race. I also like the fact no one is talking about this horse. Juicy odds so I will definitely play him.
7 – Sir Winston (12-1)
The “other” Mark Casse horse. Casse also has Preakness winner War of Will and Sir Winston is a horse who just ran on this track and finished 2nd in the Peter Pan Stakes, which saw a blistering time of 1:46 and change. He has no early speed, so he needs more fast fractions to have any impact.
8 – Intrepid Heart (10-1)
Interesting freshened runner here. This $750K purchase has just 3 starts with 2 wins. His lone defeat came in his last start when he stepped up in class and finished 3rd in the speedy Peter Pan here at Belmont. Pletcher will add blinkers for the first time and Johnny Velasquez, who fell off Bodexpress right out of the gate in the Preakness, is back aboard. Distance should not be an issue (son of Tapit) and he is the half-brother to 2014 Belmont Stakes runner-up Commissioner.
9 – War of Will (2-1)
The only horse in the field who has ran in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. “If” he would have won the Derby, his Preakness win would have been much bigger and we could be looking at consecutive Triple Crown winners. If he is the true beast some say he is, he deserves it. But I, like others, am trying to make a dollar. If he wins or finishes 2nd behind Tacitus, we can all say in unison “Sorry about your damn luck.” – the great James Storm.
10 – Tacitus (9/5)
This son of Tapit is bred to run this distance, so this wide track should fit him nicely. I was all over him in the Derby and his fourth place finish wasn’t bad despite all the cluster that was caused. His smooth 5-furlong workout at Belmont showed that he is ready to roll. He is my pick to win, but I will need some longshots to pick up the pieces to make $ if he does in fact bury ‘em.
We lost our ass in the Derby, no better in the Preakness but cashed out $1,100 when Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship so we have some house money to play with.
Bet 1: $10 to win 4,5,6,8 ($40)
Bet 2: .50-cent trifecta 6,8,10 over 5,6,8,9,10over 2-10 ($42)
Bet 3: $9 extacta box 10-6
Total bet: $100