Breaking it down

A complete, horse-by-horse look at the Belmont Stakes field

A complete, horse-by-horse look at the Belmont Stakes field

Preakness winner War of Will looks to take the Belmont. Getty Images.

Saturday is the last of the Triple Crown races for 2019 with the Belmont Stakes. There is no shot at a Triple Crown, so basically it is just another nice stakes race. Here is a look at the 10 horses in the field.

No. 1 Joevia (30-1)

Trainer: Greg Sacco

Jockey: Jose Lezcano

Why he can win: He has one weapon in his arsenal - speed. He will be the early pacesetter, and if he is not, he has no shot. The Belmont - despite being the longest of the Triple Crown races, tends to favor early foot, so he will gun and hope. Probably not good enough to hold on all the way but could hang around for a piece late.

No. 2 Everfast (12-1)

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Luis Saez

Why he can win: He did run second in the Preakness at a monster price. But horses that did not run in the Derby, then fared well in the Preakness historically struggle at Belmont. Plus he is a deep closer, and that style rarely wins here. Might clunk up for a piece late.

No. 3 Master Fencer (8-1)

Trainer: Koichi Tsunoda

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Why he can win: Was surprisingly beaten just four lengths in the Derby and was moving well at the end. Japan based horses win a lot of races around the world and while this guy is second tier there, he should love the distance and could be a live long shot in a field lacking quality. Would not be shocked if he is in it at the end.

No. 4 Tax (15-1)

Trainer: Danny Gargan

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Why he can win: He has some nice races on his resume, but was no match for Tacitus in the Wood Memorial and was no threat in the Derby. Plus he has a horrible name. Would need significant improvement in this spot, but I think we have seen his best and it does not appear to be good enough.

No. 5 Bourbon War (12-1)

Trainer: Mark Hennig

Jockey: Mike Smith

Why he can win: We loved him in the Preakness, and he simply did not fire at all. Horses skipping the Derby and doing the Preakness/Belmont double rarely do well, but he might have needed the last race off a layoff, he should handle the distance and not ready to give up on him. Will be a long shot play.

No. 6 Spinoff (15-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Why he can win: He was a strong second in the Louisiana Derby, is lightly raced and should improve. Still, he was no factor whatsoever in the Kentucky Derby and probably does not want any part of the distance here. Pass.

No. 7 Sir Winston (12-1)

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Why he can win: He doesn't very often - just twice in nine starts - but he was a good closing second in the prep for this and tends to hit the board at big prices. A classic grinder, would not be surprised if he picked up some pieces late and helped blow up the trifecta price.

No. 8 Intrepid Heart (10-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez

Why he can win: He has only raced three times, so there is room for improvement. He finished behind Sir Winston in his first stakes try, running third. But he is bred to go farther, and they spent $750,000 on him. A big step up but won't be surprised if he is a small factor.

No. 9 War of Will (2-1)

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Why he can win: His Preakness was a thing of beauty after the rodeo that was the Derby. At his best, he generally stalks the pace and takes control late. Expect him to be in the front tier of horses and try to employ that strategy again. Could win, but could also find himself off the board if he throws in one of his occasional clunkers.

No. 10 Tacitus (9-5)

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Why he can win: The morning line favorite was probably the second best horse in the Derby. He hated the surface, was unsettled, and still managed to finish fourth, beaten less than four lengths. (He was placed second). He is bred to love the distance, should get a better track today and will be very tough to beat if he brings his A game.

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Astros defeat Blue Jays, 9-2. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images.

Jose Altuve hit a tiebreaking single in a four-run seventh inning, Yordan Alvarez homered for the third straight game and the Houston Astros beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-2 on Wednesday night for their 11th win in 13 games.

Houston’s Yainer Diaz reached base four times and drove in three as the Astros handed the struggling Blue Jays their 11th loss in 15.

Alvarez looked to be in pain after an awkward swing on his ground ball to second base that ended the first inning, but Houston’s designated hitter reached base in his next four plate appearances.

Alvarez doubled home a run in the third, led off the sixth with a solo homer, came around to score after being intentionally walked in the seventh, and capped his night with an RBI double in the eighth. He finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs.

Right-hander Tayler Scott (5-2) got the win despite allowing a game-tying single to the only batter he faced. Bryan Abreu worked a perfect seventh, Bryan King pitched the eighth and Rafael Montero finished.

Toronto’s Bo Bichette struck out on a pitch that hit him in the ninth.

Bichette opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the first but Alvarez tied it with a two-out double in the third.

Alvarez gave Houston a 2-1 edge with a leadoff homer in the sixth, his 19th, but Daulton Varsho tied it with a two-out single off Scott in the bottom half. Varsho went too far past first base and was thrown out to end the rally.

Chas McCormick reached on a fielding error by Blue Jays right-hander Zach Pop (0-3) to begin the seventh, and pinch-hitter Jon Singleton followed with a double. Altuve broke the 2-all tie with an RBI single.

Pop left after Alex Bregman lined out, but Jose Cuas didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced, walking Alvarez intentionally before allowing Diaz’s two-run single on his first pitch. Cuas exited after hitting Jake Meyers and Jeremy Peña with consecutive pitches to bring home a fourth run.

Astros right-hander Ronel Blanco, who no-hit the Blue Jays on April 1, allowed two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

ROSTER MOVES

Toronto put INF Justin Turner on the paternity list and recalled OF Steward Berroa from Triple-A Buffalo.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (neck) is playing catch every other day, manager Joe Espada said. There is no timetable for Verlander’s return.

Blue Jays: RHP Jordan Romano will be sidelined for at least six weeks after surgery for an impingement in his right elbow, manager John Schneider said. It’s not clear whether the two-time All-Star will return this season.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays RHP Chris Bassitt (7-6, 3.24 ERA) is scheduled to pitch against Astros LHP Framber Valdez (6-5, 4.11) in Thursday afternoon’s series finale.

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