There was a glimmer of hope that Country House and Maximum Security could have a rematch in the Belmont Stakes and give fans a shot at a much sought-after "grudge match." Those hopes were dashed, as the headliners in the final leg of the Triple Crown are Preakness winner War of Will and Derby third-place finisher Tacitus.
Surprisingly, Tacitus was installed as the slight 9-5 morning-line favorite despite War of Will emerging as one of the top 3-year-olds. The odds drop off quickly from there as Master Fencer is the 8-1 third choice after his late-closing, seventh-place finish in the Derby.
Let's go through my thoughts on every horse in the field, along with my suggested best bets for the race.
Note: Horses in order of post position, with trainer, jockey and morning-line odds.
Lane Gold's guide to the field
1. Joevia (Gregory Sacco/Jose Lezcano, 30-1)
The speed of the Belmont drew the perfect position, as he should have clear sailing to go right to the front. But this race is not nearly easy as the Long Branch, which he recently won at Monmouth Park. The last -- and only -- time he ran against this caliber of horses was the Wood Memorial in April, when he set the early pace but tired and was eventually disqualified to last place for an incident at the start of the race. It would take a herculean effort for him to lead all the way in the Belmont, and I will not use him here.