The 2019 Belmont Stakes Saturday remains a historically significant race even without a Triple Crown possibility, a marque name or an especially compelling backstory.

Secretariat, Belmont Stakes
Triple Crown winner Secretariat, racing’s “tremendous machine,” won the 1973 Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. (Image: History.com)

That’s because the winners of this race, in no particular order, include Secretariat, American Pharoah, Justify, Easy Goer, Seattle Slew, Alydar, Damascus, Citation and scores of others. The additional notable winners are not forgotten, just too numerous to list here. Winning this race, even without a Triple Crown possibility, still virtually guarantees Thoroughbred racing immortality. The winner’s share of the $1.5 million purse dissipates, the exaltation of winning does not.

The 1 ½ mile event to be contested this year for the 151st time has the reputation as “The Test of Champions.” It’s a designation that’s unchallenged.

Belmont Stakes Post Positions

The two favorites both draw outside on “Big Sandy.” Here’s the entire 10-horse field in post position order, with morning line odds, trainer and jockey:

  1. Joevia – 30/1 – Trainer: Gregg Sacco, Jockey: Jose Lezcano
  2. Everfast – 12/1 – Trainer: Dale Romans, Jockey: Luis Saez
  3. Master Fencer – 8/1 – Trainer: Koichi Tsunoda, Jockey: Julien Leparoux
  4. Tax – 15/1 – Trainer: Danny Gargan, Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
  5. Bourbon War – 12/1 – Trainer: Mark Hennig, Jockey: Mike Smith
  6. Spinoff – 15/1 – Trainer: Todd Pletcher, Jockey: Javier Castellano
  7. Sir Winston – 12/1 – Trainer: Mark Casse, Jockey: Joel Rosario
  8. Intrepid Heart – 10/1 – Trainer: Todd Pletcher, Jockey: John Velazquez
  9. War of Will – 2/1 – Trainer: Mark Casse, Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
  10. Tacitus – 9/5 – Trainer: Bill Mott, Jockey: Jose Ortiz

The 2019 Belmont Stakes and an accompanying compelling series of additional, big-money stakes action will be telecast on NBC and NBCSN. Post time for the Belmont Stakes is set for approximately 6:38 pm ET.

Post position for the Belmont Stakes is usually inconsequential. That’s because the track has a 1 ½ mile circumference. Unlike the other two jewels in racing’s Triple Crown, the starting gate and the finish line are both at the same point on the track. The start and finish are directly in front of the main grandstand. Belmont Park is famous for its deep racing surface, known as “Big Sandy” and its wide, sweeping turns. It’s a configuration through which horses lose little ground to the inside competitors.

Challenges Facing Horses, Riders, Bettors

The nature of the Belmont Stakes means the rider must ration his mount’s speed carefully. Move too soon and the come-from-behind runners will overtake the leader in the long stretch. Move too late and there’s a real risk your horse won’t have enough time to run down the leader at the finish.

Bettors are confronting the same dilemma as they try to predict how the race sets up and if the jockey on their pick is clever and calm enough to manage his horse’s stamina and speed to produce a victory. The handicapping variables are almost endless.

Favorite Tacitus finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and then promoted to third in the Kentucky Derby after the disqualification of Maximum Security. War of Will, projects as the public’s second choice. He’ll be the only horse to compete in all three legs of the 2019 Triple Crown. Tacitus, named for the Roman historian, skipped the Preakness, won by War of Will. Everfast, second to War of Will at Pimlico in Baltimore, is also in the Belmont Stakes field.

Maximum Security, first to cross the Kentucky Derby finish line but soon disqualified for interference, is said to be awaiting stakes engagements at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, including the Haskell Stakes on July 20. Country House, the official Derby winner, is now resuming light training after his controversial win at Churchill Downs.

For a comprehensive look at past Belmont Stakes winners and their connections, click here.

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