The 2019 Belmont Stakes takes place on Saturday for the 108th time in the event's 151-year history. It's the final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown and the 2019 Belmont Stakes contenders invited to run will battle for 1 1/2 miles, the longest race of the three American classics. Last year, Justify completed his Triple Crown bid at the Belmont Stakes, running the mile-and-a-half in a time of 2:28.18 while beating Gronkowski and Hofburg. This time around, several horses with experience from the two previous Triple Crown races will be in the 2019 Belmont Stakes lineup. Tacitus finished third in the Kentucky Derby following the disqualification of Maximum Security and is the 5-2 favorite in the latest 2019 Belmont Stakes odds. Meanwhile, War of Will is coming off a win at the Preakness and is listed at 9-2, while the second-place finisher at Pimlico last month, Everfast, is fetching 12-1. It's an intriguing field and pedigrees are as important as ever when facing the 1 1/2-mile test, so before you make your 2019 Belmont Stakes picks, be sure to see what legendary horse racing handicapper Hammerin' Hank Goldberg has to say.
A legendary prognosticator and current horse racing expert at SportsLine, Goldberg couldn't have been more dead-on about last year's Belmont Stakes. He was all over Justify to win, saying he'd get over the fatigue of winning two Triple Crown races and overcome a tough No. 1 post position. The result: Justify made history by going wire-to-wire to complete just the 13th Triple Crown ever. He was all over Justify months before the Kentucky Derby even happened and picked him in every Triple Crown race.
The reason Goldberg has been so successful: He goes straight to the source, and anyone who follows him has reaped life-changing paydays. In fact, if you had laid $300 on his Belmont picks in 2004, you would have cashed for over $21,000. That year, he was all over Birdstone as a 36-1 monster long shot to win the Belmont over the heavily favored Smarty Jones, who was undefeated like Justify. Goldberg had dinner with Birdstone's trainer, Nick Zito, before the race at a pizzeria in Queens. The Hammer pounced on the long shot to win and put him on top of his exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets.
Birdstone beat Smarty Jones by one length in one of the most thrilling Triple Crown races ever. Royal Assault -- almost a 30-1 long shot on the Belmont Stakes odds board and also trained by Zito -- finished third, giving the Hammer and his followers monster payouts.
That's not the only time his connections paid off. He chatted up trainer Chad Brown before putting 14-1 long shot Cloud Computing on top of his 2017 Preakness picks. The result: he cashed his exacta, trifecta, and superfecta bets and, just like that, a $50 wager became $11,000.
His winning streak has continued too. Goldberg got 2019 off to a strong start by nailing the winning horse in the Pegasus World Cup, the richest horse race in North America. He also nailed the exacta at the Gotham Stakes, Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby. Anyone who has followed Goldberg's lead is way up.
Now, with the 2019 Belmont Stakes lineup finalized and the post draw complete, Goldberg is sharing his picks at SportsLine.
We can tell you that Goldberg is high on Everfast, a long shot at 12-1 Belmont odds. Everfast has not won a race since making his debut in August. Since then, he has lost 10 straight races, but eight of those have been in stakes races, and he's coming off arguably his best effort, a fast-closing second in the Preakness to War of Will. Everfast was second in February's Holy Bull and has made starts at five different racetracks.
On Monday, he completed his final workout before the Belmont 2019, a five-furlong run in a time of 1:01. That was his fastest five-furlong workout ever, suggesting that he's ready to run a career-best at Belmont Park. In addition, Romans' 10 previous Belmont starters have finished third in this race four times, so he knows how to hit the board in the Test of the Champion. Everfast is flying under the radar and provides plenty of value at 12-1.
Another shocker: Goldberg says Intrepid Heart, one of the top favorites at 5-1, stumbles at Belmont Park and doesn't even hit the board. The Todd Pletcher-trained horse has wins in two of his three starts and took third in the Peter Pan Stakes last month despite getting a tough break from the starting gate. However, Intrepid Heart's experience at this distance is a major concern for Goldberg.
"He stumbled out of the gate, but rebounded to run third in the Peter Pan. That was a very strong race. My concern is that the Belmont will be only his fourth start, and going 1 1/2 miles in your fourth race is a tough task," Goldberg told SportsLine. Pletcher has won the Belmont Stakes three times (2007, 2013, 2017), but Goldberg says Intrepid Heart, who opened at 10-1, is not worth the steep 5-1 premium you'll need to pay in a loaded 2019 Belmont Stakes field.
Goldberg is even higher on a huge darkhorse who is bred to run the distance at the Belmont Stakes 2019. This horse has all the tools to put together a complete run, and if he hits as Goldberg expects, you could be looking at a colossal payout.
So what are Hammerin' Hank Goldberg's 2019 Belmont Stakes picks? And which darkhorse is a must-back? See the complete 2019 Belmont odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Goldberg's picks for the Belmont Stakes, and find out.
War of Will 9-2
Intrepid Heart 5-1
Sir Winston 7-1
Bourbon War 7-1
Master Fencer 11-1