Sir Winston Odds to win the 2019 Belmont Stakes with Expert Predictions
Sometimes a trainer is already heading to a race anyway, so he knows it won't cost that much more - in time or effort - to bring a second horse. I'm not saying that that is what is happening with Sir Winston joining the list of Belmont probables along with his much more accomplished stablemate War of Will, who is fresh off a Preakness win. But that could possibly be a big factor in the horse being entered in this race. He would have to be far better in the Belmont than he has been in other races against horses of this caliber if he was going to be a real factor here. So, does Sir Winston really matter in the Belmont?
Last race: He ran the most notable race of his career in the Peter Pan last time out - a race that takes place on this same Belmont surface a week after the Kentucky Derby. He was last in the five-horse field early on and looked like he was in danger of entirely losing contact. But he swung way wide around the final turn and started moving forward. He wound up getting up for second in the race that is most recently known for producing 2014 Belmont winner Tonalist.
Career highlights: The colt tried to break his maiden on dirt at Churchill Downs and on turf at Saratoga last summer before finally getting it done on Woodbine's synthetic track in September. He was then second in the Grey Stakes there - a race that long shot Derby winner Mine That Bird also won. And he won again there in December in a listed stakes. He headed south, but showed little fight in his prep stops in the Withers, Tampa Bay Derby - where he was no match for likely Belmont favorite Tacitus - and Blue Grass. That his only wins have come on a synthetic track is a concern here - though the solid effort in the Peter Pan eases that somewhat.
Jockey: Joel Rosario was aboard for the first time last time out, and has chosen to ride the colt again here. That's notable mostly because Rosario also rode Everfast to a runner-up finish in the Preakness but decided not to maintain that mount. I don't know if that is more an endorsement of this colt or a damning of that one. Either way, Rosario is a strong partner for this colt. He has won the Belmont aboard Tonalist and the Derby with Orb. He also has a second and two thirds here in the Belmont.
Trainer: This colt is perhaps best known here for being the 'other' Mark Casse trainee. Casse, of course, won the Preakness with War of Will this year, and has that colt here again as one of the two solid favorites in the field. That Preakness win was the first Triple Crown win for Casse, but it was no fluke. He is an 11-time champion trainer in Canada and has been very successful as he has pointed more and more of his business south. He is a very strong trainer, and he is going to win multiple more Triple Crown races before he is done.
Pedigree: Sir Winston was sired by Awesome Again, who has had some success with offspring in the Triple Crown - Oxbow won the Preakness, and Paynter was second in the Belmont. Awesome Again, though, is best known for his connection to the Breeders' Cup Classic - he won the race himself, and so did his son, Ghostzapper. Awesome Again is a son of Canadian champion Deputy Minister, who also sired Belmont winner Touch Gold. Awesome Again is a good influence in the pedigree for this race. And so is Sir Winston's damsire Afleet Alex, who won both the Preakness and the Belmont. His offspring have won two Breeders' Cup races, but he has not been a generally strong sire. Still, his win in this race is an asset for this son. This colt has plenty of stamina to handle the brutal challenge of this race.
Running style: Sir Winston has generally run a closing style, staying well off the pace early on. But it is worth noting that both of his career wins, coming in a maiden race and an unlisted stakes race, have been when he has pressed the early pace. With an absence of natural speed in this race he might try such an approach again - though he made his best closing effort last time out in the Peter Pan.
Belmont outlook: He hasn't been good enough when facing the best of his class. His last race could have shown some form that he is rounding into, though, and his breeding is solid. There are other long shots that I will find easier to toss than this one - though I would never use him anywhere other than the bottom of exotics. At +1200 to win the race at BetOnline he feels like he is a long, long way from offering any value.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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