Tacitus, fourth across the wire in the Kentucky Derby before promoted to third with Maximum Security’s disqualification, projects as the morning line favorite for the final leg of the Triple Crown series, the June 8 Belmont Stakes.
That’s according to Horse Racing Nation co-founder Mark Midland, who on Wednesday listed early Belmont odds with Tacitus the 2-1 top choice.
“Derby runners that skip the Preakness have done very well in recent years, including Belmont winners Tapwrit in 2017, Creator in 2016, Palace Malice in 2013 and Union Rags in 2012,” said Midland, who in 1999 created Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager. “That’s four of the last five Belmont winners in non-Triple Crown years.
“Tacitus is also by Tapit, who sired 2014 winner Tonalist, along with Creator, Tapwrit and a number of others to recently finish in the money.”
Preakness Stakes hero War of Will follows closely in the projected wagering at 5-2.
“He will have plenty of support after his win in Baltimore three weeks prior, plus many feel his Preakness win was a vindication of his Derby performance,” Midland said. “On paper, this looks like a race between Tacitus and War of Will, and we expect the public to bet it that way.”
Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who won the Derby with Country House, trains the Wood Memorial (G2) winner Tacitus and will aim to take multiple legs of the Triple Crown with different horses. Mark Casse joins him in that quest. In addition to War of Will, he’ll saddle Sir Winston, the rallying second-place finisher of Belmont’s Peter Pan Stakes (G3).
Todd Pletcher most recently accomplished the feat in 2017 when Creator followed Derby winner Always Dreaming.
This year’s sixth-place Derby finisher Master Fencer and Sir Winston figure to take money under the Belmont’s 1 1/2-mile configuration.
“Late running closers always get a lot of attention at the betting windows for the Belmont,” Midland said, “and we anticipate those two to lead the category this year.”
Pletcher has two in this year’s Belmont with Intrepid Heart, the well-bred third-place Peter Pan finisher, leading his charges at 10-1. Spinoff, the Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up who did little at Churchill Downs, is also probable.
Others in the prospective field include Preakness runner-up Everfast, Derby also-ran Tax and Joevia, a newcomer to the Triple Crown series who would add early speed to the race off a victory in Monmouth Park’s Long Branch Stakes.
|Belmont Stakes Contenders|
|War of Will||5-2|