With different winners in this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, there is no Triple Crown title on the line in this year’s Belmont Stakes. However, a deep and talented field is starting to take shape in what could be the best race of the three over the extended 1 ½ miles on dirt at this Elmont, New York track.
Looking at the projected field, most of the top trainers will be represented by an entry that should figure into the mix. There could be as many as six entries that ran the Kentucky Derby but skipped the Preakness and there is only one colt in the probable field that would have run all three Triple Crown events.
Tracking the Top Contenders
The colt at the top of the list at 5Dimes online sportsbook to win the Belmont Stakes is Tacitus at +200 betting odds. Trained by William Mott, this three-year-old Kentucky-bred colt is coming off a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. He ended up in the money at Churchill when Maximum Security was bumped all the way from first to 17th for an interference infraction. Prior to that run, Tacitus won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9 ahead of an impressive victory in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 6 over Tax and Haikal.
The sire of Tapit covered the 1 1/8 miles on dirt at that New York track in 1:51.23 to post his third career victory in five starts. That impressive racing resume has resulted in the second-highest Horse Racing Nation rating (8.50) in the projected field at Belmont Park.
War of Will bested the field in the Preakness Stakes on May 18 and he has been opened as a +350 second-favorite to win the Belmont on June 8. Trained by Mark Casse, the win at Pimlico from the No. 1 post made up for his fade to seventh in the Kentucky Derby from that same starting spot. He got caught up in the bumping incident that cost Maximum Security the win in that race. At Pimlico, he covered the 1 3/16 miles on dirt in 1:54.34 past Everfast and Owendale to secure the biggest victory in his early racing career.
The son of War Front would be the only colt in the projected field to run all three Triple Crown races. He had early success this year at Fair Grounds with victories in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes and the Grade 2 Risen Star before unexpectedly fading to ninth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 23.
One to Watch
Third on the Belmont futures list at 5Dimes is Game Winner at +500 odds. Trained by Bob Baffert, he was one of two 5/1 second-favorites at Churchill Downs ahead of his fifth-place run in the Kentucky Derby. There is still a chance he could sit this one out, so stay tuned on this Kentucky-bred colt.
Everfast is trained by Dale Romans and he is expected to be in the Belmont field at +1200 odds to win after taking second in the Preakness. Trainer Brad Cox could run Owendale as well coming off the third-place run at Pimlico and his futures odds to win the Belmont Stakes are set at +700.
My early ‘one to watch’ in this race would be trainer Todd Pletcher’s Spinoff, who is not even on the board at 5Dimes. His futures odds at another prominent online book are +2500 coming off a distance 18th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. There is a reason why Pletcher is looking to run this three-year old colt over the longer distance of the Belmont.