The last leg of the Triple Crown is run today and unfortunately, we won’t have a Triple Crown winner in 2019. The Belmont Stakes is still worth betting on however as this crop of 3 years old is pretty even in capabilities, though more on the mediocre side.
This is not the best generation we have seen recently and because of the way the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness have unfolded, there is a lot of value betting on the Belmont Stakes today: the favorites will not be so deserving, and the longshots are not so bad.
Belmont Park does not have much of a track bias, but the pace scenario today should favor horses able to stay close to the lead as there is not a ton of early speed in the field.
Analysis of every horse and picks for the Belmont Stakes 2019:
Number 1, JOEVIA (30-1) did not race in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness and steps up severely in class today. He is the only horse with a true intent to take the lead so barring a disaster he should be able to get out of the 1 hole and lead them through the first turn. Can JOEVIA stay on top the whole way? I doubt it as this is the longest race he might ever run in and he faces some apparently better horses. If JOEVIA can keep the pace super tepid (doubtful) it is not impossible that he hangs on for a place on the podium but winning is unlikely.
Number 2 EVERFAST (12-1) finished a surprising second in the Preakness after closing very fast but he did have a pretty easy trip throughout, hugging the rail and saving ground in the back. Today’s pace is likely to be softer but of course it is also a much longer race so he will still have tired horses ripe for the picking in the stretch. EVERFAST’s Preakness performance was a major improvement compared to previous races so we can expect a bounce. On class and speed figures, he seems to be a step behind the contenders and it’s probably better to pass.
Number 3, MASTER FENCER (8-1) skipped the Preakness after taking part in the Kentucky Derby, where he did OK but not spectacularly. Since then he has not been blazing on the training tracks but maybe that’s just his preferred way to exercise? He keeps Julien Leparoux on board who has been racing very well lately so that’s a plus. MASTER FENCER late running style is not necessarily the most suitable here as the pace might be softer but maybe he can overtake some tiring horses in the stretch. I have great doubts about winning though.
Number 4, TAX (15-1) also skipped the Preakness after taking part in the Kentucky Derby even though he showed nothing interesting in that race. Of course, with such a massive field, he might have had some excuses and looking at his previous races, TAX is one of the classiest horses in this field. He has the right racing style for the Belmont stakes today as he can stay close to the lead. This should prove useful if the pace remains soft throughout. TAX got beaten fairly by Tacitus in the Wood Memorial but was not humiliated. If the morning line odds hold like this, TAX would be the better bet of the two here.
Number 5 BOURBON WAR (12-1) faced some of today’s opponents in the Preakness last month and did not show much in that race. Having not shown a lot in the Florida Derby either, one could question whether he has the class for a Grade 1 race. BOURBON WAR is a closer, which might come in handy in the Belmont Stakes long distance race, however it is not likely to be a super-hot pace in front so I am not sure how many tiring horses he can realistically overtake in the stretch. There are better choices than BOURBON WAR in this race.
Number 6, SPINOFF (15-1) had a pretty bad trip in the Kentucky Derby and failed to show anything. He skipped the Preakness and shows some good workouts since. SPINOFF has some early speed which should help him place himself in contention. He has a lot to prove though, as his only competitive speed figure was in the Louisiana Derby. Putting the Failed Kentucky Derby bid aside, can he improve on that performance two races back? The pace scenario is favorable so I will be willing to give him a chance on the exotic tickets, at interesting odds.
Number 7, SIR WINSTON (12-1) has not raced in either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown and yet he owns the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the field, topping at 100. SIR WINSTON earned that figure in grade 3 race that he did not even win… It was quite an improvement from the previous races so it is doubtful that he can repeat the performance, especially considering that he has not won a race in 2019. It is better to see him repeat a good performance before assuming that he belongs at this class level so I will pass on SIR WINSTON in the Belmont Stakes today…
Number 8, INTREPID HEART (10-1) makes only his 4th start but has been noticed already in his short career. After not racing as a two years old, he romped through a pricey Maiden Special Weight and went on to win his next race too with an encouraging speed figure. He did not win his third race but despite a bad start, managed to claim third with again a decent speed figure. It was not a very impressive performance however so one can question his place at this class level. Just like his neighbour on the inside, it is better to watch him run again and prove his worth before betting on him.
Number 9, WAR OF WILL (2-1) got a raw deal in the Kentucky Derby, getting the trip from hell thanks to the eventual disqualified winner. He came back with a vengeance in the Preakness and won it but this time got the best trip he could really hope for. What kind of trip can he expect in the Belmont Stakes? First, WAR OF WILL is most likely going to be parked outside in the first turn and probably both turns. That should not help. He has some early speed to get into contention though, so barring a very wide trip throughout, he should be well placed in the stretch again. WAR OF WILL deserved a break in the Preakness and got it but the real test of his worth will be this Belmont Stakes 2019. Can he win it? Sure. Is it a good bet at 2-1? I don’t think so, but he deserves a spot in the trifecta for sure.
Number 10, TACITUS (9-5) skipped the Preakness after doing a good job in the Kentucky Derby. He trained well since and should be ready to go big in the Belmont Stakes. TACITUS will need some help from the pace as he is more of the late closer style, but the length of the race here should be a plus as well. Assuming that he gets the right setup, he is a deserving favorite but given the lack of pace in the race, I am not sure that he will have an easy time in the stretch. At very short odds, I would not bet on a win, but it would be foolish not to include him in the exotic bets.
We have two strong horses on the outside fighting for the title of Morning Odds favorite and both deserve respect for sure. However, both would need some racing luck to really dominate this field and therefore there is better value elsewhere in my opinion.
For straight bets, I think that a valuable choice is TAX. He was nowhere to be seen in the Derby but showed great speed figures before that and should be well placed throughout this Belmont Stakes to have a real shot at winning it.
Also interesting, in the longshot department, is SPINOFF. He was no factor in the Kentucky Derby but raced well in the Louisiana Derby before that and if he can improve from that race, he has a good chance today, at stealthy odds.
Of course, both WAR OF WILL and TACITUS are forces to be reckoned so we need to include them in the exotic bets. I don’t think that their low odds justify any straight bets though.
BELMONT STAKES 2019 BETTING PICKS:
WIN PLACE SHOW bet on 4 TAX
PLACE SHOW bet on 6 SPINOFF
EXACTA BOX 4-6
EXACTA BOX 4-9
EXACTA BOX 4-10
EXACTA BOX 6-9
EXACTA BOX 6-10
TRIFECTA BOX 4-6-9
TRIFECTA BOX 4-6-10
SUPERFECTA BOX 4-6-9-10