The final leg of the 2019 Triple Crown will take place on Saturday, as the eyes of the horse racing world turn to the Belmont Stakes.
Preakness Stakes winner War of Will, Kentucky Derby third-placed finisher Tacitus and Preakness runner-up Everfast head the field in Elmont, New York.
NBCSN will begin its broadcast at 2:30 p.m. ET, with NBC taking over at 4 p.m. ET. Post time is expected to be 6:38 p.m. ET.
The post position draw will be on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Per America’s Best Racing’s Patrick Reed, the contenders are:
War of Will
Non-Preakness victors have done well in this race in recent years, with four of the last five winners in non-Triple Crown years skipping the second leg.
That makes Tacitus a strong contender after his solid showing at Churchill Downs, and some of his work leading up to Belmont has been impressive:
Mike Welsch @DRFWelsch
Tacitus the lone Belmont Stake contender to breeze this a.m. at Belmont Park. Never a flashy worker, he looked sharper than ever today, 5F in 25.55 36.16 1:00.20 going easily in co. with Muliplier. Was full of energy going out 3/4’s 1:12.75 up 7F in 1:25.10 w/Jose Ortiz up.
Tacitus finished well at Churchill Downs, and the longer race distance at Belmont―1 ½ miles, compared to 1 ¼ miles in the Kentucky Derby―should suit him well.
Another horse that showed speed and stamina at Churchill Downs was the Japanese-trained Master Fencer, who trailed early after a turn out of the gate but impressively closed the distance to earn a sixth-placed finish after Maximum Security was disqualified.
His preparation for the Belmont Stakes hasn’t been perfect, though:
Mike Welsch @DRFWelsch
Master Fencer’s Belmont stock took a dip after Japanese invader worked 7F in 1:27.69 on main track, took bad step nearly unseating rider when under severe left-hand pressure, changing leads late at 1/16th pole. Pulled up quickly on gallop out. Oddly wore bell boots for workout.
War of Will did excellent work on the rail in the Preakness and was never truly challenged once he took the lead down the final straight:
Sir Winston is winless in four starts in 2019 but ran well in the Peter Pan Stakes on May 11, finishing in second place. He’s another strong closer who could spring a surprise.