Tacitus, Master Fencer, Spinoff and Tax will try to take a popular route to the winner's circle at the 2019 Belmont Stakes when they take on several of the country's best three-year-olds in the final jewel of the Triple Crown on Saturday. Since 2012, four Belmont winners were horses who raced in the Kentucky Derby but did not participate in the Preakness. Tacitus (third in the Derby), Master Fencer (sixth), Tax (14th) and Spinoff (18th) all raced in at Churchill Downs and promptly skipped the Preakness. Tacitus, trained by Bill Mott, is the 5-2 favorite in the current Belmont Stakes odds. Preakness Stakes hero War of Will is right on his tail at 9-2 Belmont Stakes 2019 odds. Post time for the 1 1/2-mile "Test of the Champion" is at 6:37 p.m. ET from Belmont Park. The latest 2019 Belmont Stakes weather is calling for sunny skies with temperatures in the upper 70s, and the track has been extremely fast thus far. With very little separating the top two choices, you'll want to hear what SportsLine's Jody Demling has to say before placing any 2019 Belmont Stakes picks of your own.
A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling comes into the 2019 Belmont on a hot streak. Two years ago, he correctly picked Tapwrit, a 5-1 underdog, to upset Irish War Cry, the 5-2 favorite. He also put Tapwrit on top of his exotics and hit the superfecta, which paid out almost $4,500 on a $2 bet.
Last year at Belmont Park, he was all over Justify, jockey Mike Smith, and trainer Bob Baffert to make horse racing history. The result: Justify became just the 13th Triple Crown winner ever, and anyone who followed Demling's lead cashed in too.
Demling is at his best in the biggest horse races in the world. He has hit nine of the last 11 Derby-Oaks doubles at Churchill Downs. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both races all but twice in the last 11 years. He's also called nine of the last 15 Preakness winners, keenly understanding when the Kentucky Derby winner was poised for victory or a massive upset.
In addition to his success in major races, Demling has called the winners of the Haskell Invitational, Pennsylvania Derby, Lecomte Stakes, Arkansas Derby, Robert B. Lewis Stakes, and Louisiana Derby, just to name a few. He nailed the superfecta at this year's Pegasus World Cup for a $678 payout on a $1 bet. He also nailed the winner, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta in the Black Eyed Susan the day before the Preakness this year. Anyone who has followed him is up huge.
Now, with the 2019 Belmont Stakes lineup finalized and the post positions set, Demling is sharing his picks at SportsLine.
We can tell you that Demling is high on Intrepid Heart, a dark horse at 5-1 Belmont odds. As a sire of Tapit, Intrepid Heart is the half-brother of Tacitus, the morning line and current favorite. And while he's not as well-tested as some of the other horses in the 2019 Belmont Stakes lineup, Intrepid Heart has two wins and a show in his three career starts. And given that he hasn't participated in a Triple Crown race, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt is flying under the radar.
Intrepid Heart got a tough break at the Peter Pan Stakes the last time he ran, but rallied to hit the board. His size and speed make him look like a horse capable of winning a Triple Crown race like Saturday's Belmont Stakes 2019. Jockey John Velazquez may even choose to take him to the front if he can get a clean break from the No. 8 post.
Another surprise: Demling wants no part of Bourbon War, one of the top favorites at 7-1. In fact, Demling says Bourbon War doesn't even crack the top five. Despite seeing his odds shortening heavily before making his run at the Preakness, Bourbon War struggled in the second leg of the Triple Crown and wound up finishing in eighth place at Pimlico. That was after he missed the Kentucky Derby due to a fourth place finish in the Florida Derby when it mattered most.
The three-year-old colt trained by Mark Hennig will have the blinkers off after a failed experiment with them last month. However, he hasn't won since January and Demling doesn't think that the colt's bloodline (son of Tapit) is enough to make Bourbon War a serious contender on Saturday. There are far better values in a stacked 2019 Belmont Stakes lineup than the 7-1 premium Bourbon War is commanding.
Demling is especially high on a monumental long shot that would net any backer a colossal windfall. He is sharing which horse it is, along with his entire projected leaderboard, over at SportsLine.
Which horse wins the 2019 Belmont Stakes? And which long shot will surprise? Check out the latest Belmont Stakes odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Demling's picks for the Belmont.
War of Will 9-2
Intrepid Heart 5-1
Sir Winston 7-1
Bourbon War 7-1
Master Fencer 11-1