|9||War of Will||2/1|
- Taprit in 2017 was the last horse to get beaten in the Kentucky Derby, skip the Preakness and come in and win the Triple Crown 3rd leg the Belmont Stakes. 4 of the 10 starters in 2019 are looking to win the Belmont off a similar form profile; TACITUS, MASTER FENCER, TAX & SPINOFF.
- Tonalist in 2014 was the last horse to win the Belmont Stakes fresh after skipping both the Derby & Preakness. JOEVIA, SIR WINSTON & INTREPID HEART fit those same criteria having been specifically targeted at the Belmont.
- Preakness winner and Kentucky Derby hard luck story, WAR OF WILL is looking to become the 1st horse since Afleet Alex in 2005 to run in all 3 legs of the Triple Crown & complete the Preakness Stakes / Belmont Stakes double after tasting defeat in the Derby.
- That leaves EVERFAST & BOURBON WAR. They’ve got to defy the most significant history if they’re to win the 2019 Belmont Stakes. They skipped the Derby & were beaten in the Preakness. Not in over 2 decades, since Touch Gold in 1997, has a horse profiled in such a manner in the lead-up and gone on the win the Belmont.
No more needs to be said about the controversy that unfolded in the Kentucky Derby surrounding War of Will and Maximum Security. But it could certainly argued that if not for the severe check on the turn at Churchill Downs, War of Will could be going for the Triple Crown this weekend. He faces a stiffer test here up to the mile and a half trip (2400m) and having drawn out as opposed to the Derby and Preakness, wherein both races he drew post 1 and got a cosy run just in behind the speed on both occasions. Having said that it is only a small field of 10 runners and he does have good tactical gate speed so he should be able to find himself getting a similarly cushy run again here in the Belmont if speed maps play out according to plan. Judging by his Preakness win where he was very strong through the line, he shouldn’t have any trouble staying the mile and 1/2, he looks a dour type who doesn’t have an explosive turn of foot but rather just keeps on grinding away at a solid clip. I think the trip will suit. He’s my clear top pick to win the 151st Belmont Stakes. I think he’s much underrated, I know it’s a big IF, but again I’ll say it, if not for being Skittled by Maximum Security in the Derby, we could be talking another Triple Crown in 2019 and he’d be starting 1/2 ($1.50), not 2/1 ($3.00).
Tacitus the early favourite ran on well in the Derby. But I wasn’t enthralled with the effort. He does have the freshness War of Will win be lacking but does he have Waar of Will’s tenacity?
Next best Bourbon War coming fresh into the Belmont since an average Florida Derby run was he was a beaten favourite behind Maximum Security, but that form does stack right up so a win certainly wouldn’t shock.