War of Will is the only horse this year that will have run in all three Triple Crown races. This means that the rest of the field is fresh and well rested in comparison. Maximum Security an Country House are sitting the race out, which leaves the race wide open. Although we hope it’s not wide open for another spectacle!
When it comes to analyzing the prospects, many handicappers use Brisnet speed figures — a rating based on the past performances of every horse in a given field using proprietary techniques and algorithyms. The ratings reflect daily and track-to-track variants, so they are comparable across all racetracks.
A typical winning Grade I stakes older male horse earns BRIS Speed Rating of 106 or thereabout. For the Belmont, every winner since Union Rags has posted triple-diget Brisnet speed figures before competing in the final leg of the triple crown. Note: In their best performances, some horses post much higher Brisnet speed figures. For example, Cigar posted Brisnet speed ratings of as high as 117
Looking at the field of horses running on Saturday, only three qualify on raw speed: Sir Winston (101 in the Peter Pan Stakes), Spinoff (102 in the Louisiana Derby), Tacitus (103 in the Wood Memorial) and Tax (who has racked up three triple-digit speed figures).
But it’s not just about speed. The Belmont is a race that calls for endurance. That characteristic is typically measured as a horse’s dosage index. Dosage index is a mathematical figure used to quantify a horse’s ability to handle various distances based on the appearance of influential sires in the bloodline. Over the past 20 years, 14 winners have a dosage index between 2.00 and 3.00.
Then there’s breeding. When it comes to the Belmont Stakes, Tapit is the undisputed king of sires. Tapit has produced three of the last five Belmont Stakes winners in Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016) and Tapwrit (2017). Frosted finished second (2015) and two finished third — Lani (2016) and Hoburg (2018).
On Saturday, three Tapit sons will run – Tacitus, Intrepid Heart and Bourbon War.
Tacitus is currently the favorite. Here he lays down an impressive win in the Wood Memorial.
Of course, the horses don’t read the racing forms.
Who do you think will win on Saturday?