Preakness S. (G1) winner War of Will and Kentucky Derby (G1) third-place finisher Tacitus, both products of the Kentucky breeding program, are the marquee names in Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1), the anchor race of a stellar stakes card.
Nine of the ten Belmont entrants boast Kentucky breed lines, the same as the last 13 winners of the third leg of the Triple Crown. Should one of the nine win Saturday’s 1 1/2-mile “Test of Champions”, they would be the 102nd winner in the 151 runnings of the race.
War of Will (post 9) and Tacitus (10) drew the two outside posts in the field, with Tacitus, who skipped the Preakness, actually made the slight morning-line favorite over his rival.
Three other Belmont contenders competed in the Derby: Tax (post 4), bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, was a game second to Tacitus in the Wood Memorial (G2) and won the Withers S. (G3); Wertheimer and Frere’s homebred Spinoff, who is Grade 2-placed at 2 and 3; and Master Fencer, the Japanese colt who is the lone non-Kentucky-bred in the field.
Preakness S. runner-up Everfast drew post 2 on Saturday, Owned by Calumet Farm, the son of Take Charge Indy was bred by Extern Developments. He also finished second in this year’s Holy Bull S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Fountain of Youth S. (G2) Bourbon War (post 5) and the lightly-raced Intrepid Heart (post 8), like Tacitus, are both sons of Tapit, who has sired three of the past five Belmont winners: Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016), and Tapwrit (2017).
Saturday’s Belmont Day card features a total of eight Grade 1 races, with more than 50 Kentucky-breds competing. Post time for the first race is 11:35, with the Grade 1 action kicking off at 1:20 p.m. and culminating with the Belmont at 6:37 p.m. ET.