The 151st-annual Belmont Stakes will take place Saturday evening — and with no chance of a Triple Crown winner, it remains to be seen how many viewers will actually tune in.

Last year, 12.7 million viewers watched as Justify clinched the Triple Crown. But in 2017, when no Triple Crown was at stake, the race drew just 4.9 million viewers, according to Sports Media Watch.

War of Will, the only horse to race in all three legs of the Triple Crown this year, will try to become the first horse to win the Belmont and Preakness after having competed in but not won the Kentucky Derby since Afleet Alex in 2005.

But winning the Preakness wasn’t enough to make War of Will (2-1) the favorite for Belmont. That honor goes to Tacitus (9-5), who enjoyed a bit of rest and hasn’t raced since earning a third place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

“I have just one problem with Tacitus in the Belmont Stakes — the colt just looks too obvious,” Dick Jerardi wrote for the Inquirer. “My guess is that because the colt is so obvious, Tacitus is going to get way overbet, which, of course, is why exactas and trifectas were invented.”

Unfortunately, Bodexpress — the social media sensation who ran riderless during the Preakness after dumping jockey John Velazquez at the starting gate — won’t be running Saturday. Instead, Velazquez will ride Intrepid Heart.

2019 Belmont Stakes

When: Saturday, June 8

Where: Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

Post time: 6:35 p.m. (Race 11)

Hosts: Mike Tirico

Race caller: Larry Collmus


Streaming: NBC Sports app, (requires authentication), Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, DirectTV Now, Fubo TV (all require a subscription).

Media coverage

Before NBC switches to live coverage at 4 p.m., the network will air pre-event coverage on NBCSN beginning at 2:30 p.m.

NBC’s live coverage will feature Tirico and a host of announcers and personalities, including analyst Randy Moss and hockey analyst and longtime handicapper Eddie Olczyk. The coverage will also include a presentation about the unusual nature of this year’s Triple Crown by Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden and a feature on Luis Saez, the jockey who rode disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security and will ride Preakness runner-up Everfast in the Belmont Stakes.

The 10 horses and their odds of winning

1. Joevia (30-1)

2. Everfast (12-1)

3. Master Fencer (8-1)

4. Tax (15-1)

5. Bourbon War (12-1)

6. Spinoff (15-1)

7. Sir Winston (12-1)

8. Intrepid Heart (10-1)

9. War of Will (2-1)

10. Tacitus (9-5)

For more details, my colleague Ed Barkowitz has a breakdown of each horse, complete with their jockeys, career earnings and 2019 stats.

Triple Crown dates

Kentucky Derby: Saturday, May 5 — winner Country House

Preakness Stakes: Saturday, May 18 — winner War of Will

Belmont Stakes: Saturday, June 8, 4 p.m., Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. (NBC)