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.
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:
|7||Seeking the Soul||Stewart||Geroux||30/1|
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.