We’ve arrived at the third & final installment of our Belmont Stakes shallow dives preview which means race day is in the VERY near future. Here we will be looking at the three front runners via the morning line odds; Master Fencer, Kentucky Derby 3rd place finisher Tacitus, and 2019 Preakness Champ War of Will. (morning line = first odds released, can always change come race day).
As we can see, the two pretty heavy favorites, War of Will and Tacitus, have drawn the two most outside post positions for Saturday’s race thus making a clean break to the inside of the track out of the starting gate that much more important.
— The Chalk (@TheChalkTLS) June 5, 2019
#3 – Master Fencer (8-1)
2019 Stats: 1 start: – 0 firsts/seconds/thirds
Master Fencer made his debut on American soil back in May at the Kentucky Derby. He hails from Japan so unless you’re a REAL horse racing degen you have only seen this horse run one race in the states. Master Fencer’s morning line odds for the Kentucky Derby were (50-1) and despite having such long odds finished 6th in a packed race. He had drawn the thirteenth post position at Churchill Downs that day and got off to a terrible start as he ran all the way back in 19th for the first mile of the race before closing strong and winding up in sixth. With such little data to work off of (no PP’s from Japan races available on Equibase – not surprising) it will be hard to feel confident about making a decent sized wager on this horse. What could give you confidence is his strong close at the derby after getting buried out of the gate. If he could get off to a better start in a race with half the horses in it compared to his previous race, perhaps there could be some cash in Master Fencer’s future.
#9 – War of Will (2-1)
2019 Stats: 5 Starts – 3 Firsts
War of Will has had a very impressive 2019 campaign and looks to close strong here at the Belmont. He is coming off the biggest win of his career at the Preakness, a race in which he was the second favorite at (4-1) odds but wound up winning by 1 1/4 lengths after being no worse than fourth the entire race. Also, in his impressive Preakness victory, War of Will posted a speed figure of 107 which tied his highest speed figure of his career only this time it came in a Grade 1 race, whereas the last time he posted 107 was back in January in a Grade 3 race.
War of Will’s post position has seemed not to matter in his three victories in 2019. He has won from post positions #1 (Preakness), #7 LeComte Stakes, and #13 Risen Star Stakes. Furthermore, no matter his post position he has found his way to the inside and front of the pack (positions 1-4) every time which makes it seem like his #9 starting spot in the Belmont won’t be that big of a factor.
The only thing that I could think of that might keep some people off a heavy wager on him is that he is the only horse in the Belmont to have ran both the Kentucky Derby AND the Preakness this year. He finished 8th at the Kentucky Derby after again having been on the pace/near the top of the pack the duration of the race but was forced outside down the closing stretch and was bypassed by horses that closed stronger than he did.
No doubt War of Will will be in the mix on Saturday.
#10 Tacitus (9-5)
2019 Stats: 3 starts – 2 firsts – 1 third
Back in May I thought that Tacitus was a strong candidate for the best horse in the field at the Kentucky Derby. Below is my excerpt from my Derby preview:
“This horse is currently riding a 3 race winning streak that includes victories at the Tampa Bay Derby & the Wood Memorial. Currently sitting at a very inciting 8-1 odds it could be hard to not throw a few bucks down on perhaps the horse who comes into the race in the best current form.”
I thought he was an absolute bargain at (8-1) to at worse hit the board if not win the race and he ended up winning us some cash after a third place finish. Tacitus had as strong a spring on the track as any horse this year after winning both the Tampa Bay Derby and the Wood Memorial before another strong performance at the Kentucky Derby.
He had to come from WAY back in Tampa as he drew the #10 post position, immediately fell to 9th before battling all the way back and winning by 1 1/4 lengths. In that race, his first of 2019, he posted a 105 speed figure which would wind up being his worst of his three races this year so far.
Fast forward to the Wood Memorial in April and Tacitus was the favorite going into that race from post position #2 and had a much stronger showing as he was never in a position worse than 4th the entire race before winning again by 1 1/4 lengths while posting an improved speed figure of 106.
Tacitus biggest race of 2019 came obviously at the Kentucky Derby where he drew post position #8, found himself WAY back in this race the first 3/4 of a mile but again closed strong to hit the board following the disqualification of Maximum Security and posted his best career speed figure of 107.
I think it really is going to be a coin flip between the two favorites in this one to see who claims first place. Both Tacitus and War of Will have been tested and proved themselves against the toughest competition in the biggest races. I lean towards Tacitus a little more here because he did not run in the Preakness therefore, he comes in a bit fresher than War of Will.
A tad bit ironic that here at The Chalk I’m going to take the chalk to win the race but I’m once again strapping my saddle to Tacitus and he will be my pick the win the 2019 Belmont. Now, as far as how to capitalize on him since there is no big big value on a horse with odds of 9/5 I will be throwing him in some exactas and trifectas with some horses in the middle of the pack odds like we talked about in part two, Spinoff or Tax for example.
So there we go, I hope you enjoyed this full breakdown of the 2019 Belmont Stakes preview. Follow @TheChalkTLS as I @TCFPgoy will be doing another #HorseRacing twitter takeover ALL RACES AT BELMONT PARK SATURDAY, not just the Belmont Stakes. Let’s cash in on the ponies this weekend!!!
We give you winners, it’s just something that we do.
PS, last time I did a #HorseRacing twitter takeover I gave you 6/11 first place winners that day along with horses who hit the board in EVERY race. *brushes off shoulders*