The Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown is this weekend, and it represents one of the most challenging races a three-year-old will run in their entire career.
It will be the 149th running of the race, which was first run in 1867 and is the oldest of the Triple Crown races. The purse is $1.5 million and the race is one and a half miles, the longest on dirt in North America.
Jun. 10, 6:37 p.m. ET post time
Belmont Park, New York
- Twisted Tom
- J Boys Echo
- Hollywood Handsome
- Lookin at Lee
- Irish War Cry
- Senior Investment
— Belmont Stakes (@BelmontStakes) June 10, 2017
One of the biggest stories of Belmont week thus far has been the horses that will not be entering the gate at 6:30 on Saturday.
This year the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners will both sit out of the 1.5-mile race.
After finishing a fading eighth in the Preakness Stakes, trainer Todd Pletcher elected to keep Always Dreaming away from the brutal length of the Belmont and point towards stakes races later in the summer.
Cloud Computing just edged Classic Empire in the late stretch during the Preakness to pull off a big price upset. His trainer, Chad Brown decided it was best to rest his three-year-old due to the colt running the Preakness off a six-week layoff.
To make matters even worse, two year old champion and Preakness runner up Classic Empire has also been pulled from the contest due to an abscess that popped up after training this week.
— Belmont Stakes (@BelmontStakes) June 9, 2017
And finally, another early season star, Mastery, who was undefeated before coming up lame after a dominant win will miss his third race of the triple crown series as he recovers from surgery.
The three year old division has taken significant hits due to the absence of top talent in the Triple Crown races, but there is still quality horses left in play and the Belmont never seems to disappoint.
Think about last year when the two-year-old champion and Kentucky Derby, Nyqvist, sat out the Belmont and the race ended at the wire with a near photo finish.
Analyzing the Race
With Classic Empire out of the race, the newly installed morning line favorites look to be Irish War Cry, Lookin at Lee, and Epicharis.
Lookin at Lee was second in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness, but he requires a fast pace to close into, which I do not think he will get on Saturday.
Epicharis won the UAE Derby this year, but he comes in as a wild card horse and is hard to trust.
Of the favorites, I am keying in on Irish War Cry. Even after a 10th place finish in the Derby, War Cry impressed in the Wood Memorial prep race and he was in prime position in the Derby, but it’s possible he did not like the sloppy conditions.
After Irish War Cry, I am confident in Tapwrit to hit the board. A son of Tapit, who seems to always have successful offspring in the Belmont, I think Tapwrit has the ability to get the distance and possibly win this race.
And in terms of double digit odds, Senior Investment was running hard until the end in the Preakness where he finished third gamely in from of top contender Lookin at Lee.
This year’s Belmont lacks some of the top three-year-olds in the country, but it should still come out a competitive race. Good luck to those who are wagering, and most of all enjoy the race.