The Belmont Stakes may not have the winner of the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes competing, but that doesn’t mean that the 1½-mile Test of Champions won’t turn out to be a stellar event.
The handlers of Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing opted out of the Belmont Stakes, while early favorite Classic Empire had to pull out during midweek because of an abscess on his hoof and Epicharis was scratched on Saturday thanks to lameness in his front right foot.
The result is a wide-open 11-horse field that could produce a thrilling finish. It also seems likely that an upset is at hand, and winning handicappers will have a chance to collect boxcar payouts when the winning horse passes under the wire and collects the final jewel of the Triple Crown.
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#VIDEO of #BelmontStakes morning line favorite Irish War Cry galloping Friday: https://t.co/lufMfyiynz
Irish War Cry is the 3-1 favorite, according to OddsShark. Irish War Cry will start out of the No. 7 hole, and that’s a fair spot that should allow trainer Graham Motion and jockey Rajiv Maragh to work out a strategy that allows their runner to come up with a contending effort in the race.
Belmont Stakes Post Position, Horses, Odds, Predicted Order of Finish
1. Twisted Tom, 20-1, 10th place
2. Tapwrit, 15-2, fourth place
3. Gormley, 12-1, seventh place
4. J Boys Echo, 16-1, winner
5. Hollywood Handsome, 33-1, ninth place
6. Lookin At Lee, 11-2, third place
7. Irish War Cry, 3-1, second place
8. Senior Investment, 13-2, fifth place
9. Meantime, 14-1, eighth place
10. Multiplier, 16-1, 11th place
11. Epicharis, 7-2 (Scratched, per BloodHorse‘s Claire Novak and Jeremy Balan)
12. Patch, 25-1, sixth place
J Boys Echo comes into the race as a 16-1 shot, and he will start out of the No. 4 hole. Trainer Dale Romans understands what it takes to win big races, and he has once again reunited his charge with jockey Robby Albarado.
This should be an excellent move that results in a top effort from J Boys Echo. He was at his best in a win in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in March, and he has a chance to pull off a tremendous upset here.Al Bello/Getty Images
Look for Irish War Cry to finish second, and Lookin At Lee, an 11-2 shot running out of the sixth hole should pick up the show money.
If J Boys Echo is successful, his 16-1 odds translates to a payoff of $34 for a winning $2 bet. Those who choose to use the horse on top in their exotic betting have a chance to pull off a major score, especially if he is coupled with another longshot in exacta and trifecta betting.
The Belmont Stakes is always about stamina and strategy. A fast pace is often excellent news for the come-from-behind finishers in the race. A reasonable pace is best for stalking horses who are in the front half, while a slow pace should give the speed horses a legitimate chance of lasting for 1½ miles and stealing the race.
Two years ago, the horse racing world was thrilled that American Pharoah was bidding to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. He was successful, and it was a huge story.
There is no Triple Crown winner this year, and none of the horses in this year’s Belmont field have a chance to win even two Triple Crown races.
Nevertheless, this appears to be wide open race that has a chance to give a huge payout.