News and STORIES
2019 Belmont Top Three Set to Face Off in Suburban
Author: Don Mckee
Published: Friday July 03, 2020
The top three finishers from the 2019 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) are set to face off once again on the track in Saturday's $200,000 Suburban Stakes (G2).
Tracy Farmer's Sir Winston was victorious in the event a year ago, and he will head the field of eight that includes Juddmonte Farms' Tacitus and Michael and Jeff Fazio's Joevia, who finished second and third, respectively, in the 12-furlong classic.
"After a race like the Belmont Stakes, horses take different routes," said Gregg Sacco, who trains Joevia, "and this year it brought us all together again."
The three horses will face some tough competition coming from two other runners out of New York in the forms of Mr. Buff and Moretti, who scored the Flat Out Stakes earlier in the meet.
"When you run in the Suburban, you know they are not giving anything away," said Casse, trainer of Sir Winston. "It's a good field, but we fit in nicely. We just have to come with our A-game."
Sir Winston came back from eighth to win by over a length against Tacitus in last year's Belmont Stakes. Joevia finished three-quarters of a length back in third.
However, it has not been so bright for the runner since then. He suffered an ankle injury that put him out until returning in late December. He also suffered from some minor hoof problems in January.
Despite the injuries, he went on to win a Jan. 31 allowance optional claiming race at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Whenever the homebred son of Awesome Again shipped to Dubai in March for the Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1), things took another bad turn when the event was canceled.
After going through the quarantine at Belmont Park, the 4-year-old competed in the 1 3/8-mile Flat Out. He was beaten by speedy Moretti and finished 5 1/4 lengths back in second.
"Before the (Flat Out), I said there was no speed, which would hurt us, and then the track turned up sloppy, which made it worse, but I thought he ran well. I hope he'll like the mile and a quarter, and hopefully, there will be some speed in there," Casse said.
"He's proven he likes Belmont, at least Belmont on a dry track, so we're going to throw out the slop race, even though I thought it was a good effort. There wasn't much ground being made up in any race that day."
According to Cassee, the Suburban will determine whether Sir Winston will be pointed toward the Whitney Stakes (G1) and Woodward Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course.
"This effort will be the determining factor in what we do with him. Do we move forward, or do we regroup and look for something easier to give him confidence?" Casse said.
Similar to Sir Winston, 4-year-old Tacitus has not won in stakes company since last year's third leg of the Triple Crown. He has placed in grade 1 company four times in his past seven starts, but he has yet to win since scoring the Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G2) in April 2019.
The son of Tapit began 2020 with a fifth-place finish behind Maximum Security in the Saudi Cup, and his most recent performance was a wide fourth, four lengths behind winner By My Standards in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) on May 2.
Trained by Bill Mott, Tacitus is coming in as the favorite with a morning line of 9-5.
The son of Shanghai Bobby suffered a foot ailment after setting the early pace in the Belmont Stakes. He came back to take a Jan. 17 allowance optional claiming race at Aqueduct.
Following an 11th-place finish in the Razorback Handicap (G3) and seventh in the Stymie Stakes, a displaced palate was found. He underwent surgery at Hunters Run Farm in New Jersey by Dr. Mark Ketner and returned to finish fourth in the June 6 Westchester Stakes (G3).
"He's doing very well now," Sacco said. "He got fat on us after the surgery, and he needed that last race. He came out of it well and put in two good works since then, and I'm hoping he can take a step forward Saturday."