The 2017 Belmont Stakes Horse Racing Odds and Picks

 

Last Updated: 2017-06-08

2017 belmont stakesA field of 12 will run in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown. Unlike two years ago, we won’t be looking for a horse to go down in history, but this should still be an exciting race at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. This Grade I stakes race features 12 of the nation’s top three-year-olds and has a few very interesting wrinkles that will make handicapping the event a bit of a challenge.

This is the first time since 2010 that the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the winner of the Preakness Stakes will not be competing in the Belmont Stakes. Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing will not be part of the field. The race took another hit when it was announced that Classic Empire, expected to be the clear favorite, will be out of action due to a hoof abscess. The lack of intrigue in this race from the common fan could hurt ratings and possibly attendance, but those looking for good betting angles have to be excited about the field and the number of competitors that have a chance to win.

Here are the post positions and the morning line odds as of June 7:

Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Twisted Tom J. Castellano C. Brown 20/1
2 Tapwrit J. Ortiz T, Pletcher 6/1
3 Gormley V. Espinoza J. Shirreffs 8/1
4 J Boys Echo R. Albarado D. Romans 15/1
5 Hollywood Handsome F. Geroux D. Stewart 30/1
6 Lookin At Lee I. Ortiz Jr. S. Asmussen 5/1
7 Irish War Cry R. Maragh H. Motion 7/2
8 Senior Investment C. Hill K. McPeek 12/1
9 Meantime M. Smith B. Lynch 15/1
10 Multiplier J. Rosario B. Walsh 15/1
11 Epicharis C. Lemaire K. Hagiawara 4/1
12 Patch J. Velazquez T. Pletcher 12/1

The Belmont is arguably the most difficult and challenging of the three Triple Crown races. It is the longest at 1.5 miles, which plays a big role because many of the horses have run in recent races. In some cases, horses have a couple of months off between the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes and other races. That isn’t the case here. Those that ran in the Kentucky Derby will have five weeks off and those that ran three weeks ago at Pimlico have a quick turnaround.

The morning line odds leader is Irish War Cry at 7/2. Irish War Cry drew the seventh post, which is a good one because this is a long track, so it gives Rajiv Maragh plenty of time to come from the outside, get in on the rail, and lead the H. Graham Motion trained horse to victory. Irish War Cry was expected to be a big factor in the Kentucky Derby after a solid Road to the Kentucky Derby performance that included a win at the Wood Memorial and the Holy Bull, but 10th was certainly not the finish that anybody had in mind. Irish War Cry was sired by the legendary Curlin, so bloodline definitely played a role in his hype prior to the Derby.

A newcomer to the Triple Crown scene, Epicharis, was posted as the second favorite at 4/1. Epicharis ran in the UAE Derby and finished a strong second in his last start. This is an unknown horse to many casual observers, but it’s pretty clear that the oddsmakers and the informed bettors are very much aware of his upside. There’s something extra on the line for Epicharis as well, as the New York Racing Association offers an additional one million dollars to any Japanese-owned horse. That could make things very interesting on Saturday. Epicharis’s only career loss came at the UAE Derby to Thunder Snow, who was spooked at the start of the Kentucky Derby and finished last.

The third favorite on the board is a Steve Asmussen trained colt named Lookin At Lee. Lookin At Lee wasn’t expected to do much in the Triple Crown circuit, but expectations changed in a big way after finishing second at Churchill Downs as a 30/1 shot. For this race, Lookin At Lee opened 5/1 after post positions were drawn. It will be interesting to see how many bettors are looking at Lookin At Lee as the only horse in this race to be running the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and also the Belmont. Fatigue will be a huge consideration for those wagering on Saturday. In fact, this is already the sixth race in 2017 for Lookin At Lee, who was fourth at the Preakness, second at the Kentucky Derby, third at the Arkansas Derby, sixth at the Rebel Stakes, and third at the Southwest Stakes. That’s a lot of activity and probably worth passing on.

Tapwrit, who finished sixth at Churchill Downs, is on the board at 6/1 on the opening morning lines. Any time Todd Pletcher’s name is associated with a horse, you can bet that it will see some play and one from the bloodline of Tapit is certainly going to get some extra attention. Tapwrit drew the #2 post for this race, so it will be imperative for jockey Jose Ortiz to avoid getting caught in a sea of horses along the rail. That makes Tapwrit a little bit of a tougher pick.

Pletcher actually has two horses in the race, as Patch will have the chance to come from the outside and score the win at 12/1. The one-eyed thoroughbred was something of a fan favorite at the Kentucky Derby and finished 14th. Patch will be ridden by John Velazquez, who has two career Belmont wins, including one when teamed up with Pletcher back in 2007 on Rags to Riches, one of three fillies to win the race.

Don’t be surprised if a double-digit shot dons a necklace of carnations after the race. Two that seem to have a decent shot are Senior Investment, who finished third at the Preakness Stakes, and Multiplier, who was sixth at the Preakness, are coming in at 12/1 and 15/1, respectively. Senior Investment comes from the camp of highly regarded trainer Kenneth McPeek and Multiplier has a terrific rider in Joel Rosario. Rosario picked up the win on Tonalist back in 2014.

A horse that we will look to put in some of our wagers is Gormley. The 8/1 shot was victorious at the Santa Anita Derby on the Road to the Kentucky Derby circuit, but never really threatened in ninth place for the Kentucky Derby. Victor Espinoza has won his share of big races, including the 2015 Belmont atop American Pharaoh, during its historic run. John Sherriffs has quite a few big wins, but none in this race and this looks like as good of a year as any.

This is tough handicap, but at least the forecast calls for good weather finally. The first two Triple Crown races have been run on very saturated, sloppy tracks. It should be fast and smooth at Belmont Park this weekend. With that under consideration, we’ll look at a combination of Epicharis, Tapwrit, and Gormley to finish in the top three, with additional consideration for Epicharis to take the victory.

 

 

-END OF 2017 PREVIEW-

 

The post positions have been determined for the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Bettors are lining up to see what line value they can get out of the adjusted numbers for the 13-horse field that will represent the end of another Triple Crown season. After American Pharoah’s dash made history at the Belmont last year, it seems a little bit disappointing that we don’t have the opportunity to see history once again this year, but this is still a stacked field with a lot of betting options.

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The Run for the Carnations is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, which also includes the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. It is the longest of the three races, which is why so many horses have tried and failed to win the Triple Crown. This year, immortality is not on the table, but an $800,00 prize for first place and a share of the $1.5 million purse is for this Grade I stakes race that began all the way back in 1867. This race was originally held at Jerome Park and Ruthless was the first winner in 1867. Ruthless, incredibly enough, is one of just three fillies to win this race. The others were Tanya in 1905 and Rags to Riches in 2007. Only 23 fillies have run in the Belmont Stakes. There are no fillies in this year’s race.

With post positions determined, let’s see who is starting where and what the morning line odds were as of June 8:

Post Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
1 Governor Malibu Clement Rosario 12/1
2 Destin Pletcher Castellano 6/1
3 Cherry Wine Romans Lanerie 8/1
4 Suddenbreakingnews Von Hemel Smith 10/1
5 Stradivari Pletcher Velazquez 5/1
6 Gettysburg Asmussen Lopez 30/1
7 Seeking the Soul Stewart Geroux 30/1
8 Forever d’Oro Stewart Ortiz 30/1
9 Trojan Nation Gallagher Gryder 30/1
10 Lani Mikio Take 20/1
11 Exaggerator Desormeaux Desormeaux 9/5
12 Brody’s Cause Romans Saez 20/1
13 Creator Asmussen Ortiz Jr. 10/1

 

There are a lot of familiar names on this list, but one of them that is not there is Nyquist. The Kentucky Derby winner finished third in the Preakness Stakes and will now largely sit on the sidelines until the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. Nyquist was viewed as the best shot at a Triple Crown, but that third-place finish at Pimlico Race Course meant that Nyquist had no real reason to run in the Belmont.

The favorite for the Belmont is Exaggerator, the winner of the Preakness and the runner-up of the Kentucky Derby. The brothers Desormeaux haven’t experienced a whole lot of success in this race. Kent won while riding Summer Bird in 2009, but brother Keith has never been the winning trainer. This seems like this horse to do it. Exaggerator was a dark horse, pardon the pun, Triple Crown contender, but came up just shy at Churchill. Expect Exaggerator to close an even bigger favorite, even though there are some really good horses in this race.

The second favorite is Stradivari, who got a lot of attention prior to the Preakness, but finished a disappointing fourth. The colt is going off at 5/1. Any time you put Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez together, people are going to take notice. That pairing won here back in 2007 with Rags to Riches, one of the three fillies to win the Belmont Stakes. Pletcher also has a win with Palace Malice back in 2013 and Velazquez was the rider atop Union Rags in 2012.

The third favorite is Destin, who skipped the Preakness after finishing sixth at the Kentucky Derby. Destin, 6/1 on the morning lines, won the Tampa Bay Derby in what was a rather weak field in the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby, but still showed some promise throughout the Road to the Kentucky Derby circuit. Once again, that Pletcher/”name jockey” combo will entice some action with Javier Castellano as the rider. Castellano does not have a Belmont win in his career.

Cherry Wine is fourth on the board at 8/1, coming off of a second-place finish at the Preakness. Cherry Wine’s run didn’t seem to stack up with some of the horses that finished below the three-year-old colt, but a place finish is still in the top three, regardless of how it happened. Dale Romans, despite a long and successful career, has never been the winning trainer in the Preakness.

Neither has Steve Asmussen, who has two horses in the field. Asmussen will go to battle with Creator, a 10/1 shot, and Gettsyburg, a 30/1 long shot. Creator was 13th in the Kentucky Derby and passed on the Preakness. In the Road to the Kentucky Derby, Creator gained some buzz with a win in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, but it didn’t translate to the big stage. Gettysburg is one of four horses in the field that did not run in either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.

Lani is the only horse aside from Exaggerator that will run in all three Triple Crown races. Lani was ninth at the Kentucky Derby and fifth at the Preakness. A similar progression would mean a first-place finish at the Belmont for the colt, but that seems unlikely. Lani did win the UAE Derby during the Road to the Kentucky Derby at Meydan, but that wasn’t the strongest race of the calendar. Lani will not become the 10th foreign-born horse to win the Belmont, because the horse was born in Kentucky, but it has been raced extensively in Japan under the direction of his owner Koji Maeda.

Post time for the 148th Belmont Stakes is Saturday June 11 at 6:32 p.m. ET.

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