By Dennis Miller
Yes, the Belmont Stakes is the final leg of the Triple Crown. Yes, the race will get the attention of the national media for that reason. But to be honest it’s hard to get excited about the race this Saturday.
There are no Triple Crown possibilities after Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming laid an egg in the Preakness Stakes and will not be running in the Belmont. Add that the much-heralded Classic Empire is also missing the race, having dropped out with an injury.
What’s left is the “B” list of 3-year-olds running in a race that won’t be the most anticipated race on the Belmont card.
The 5th race on the card – the Belmont is the 11th – is the Ogden Phipps, a grade one event that features the return superstar of Songbird to the track.
The Belmont is set for a 3:37 p.m. post and has a field of 12 ready to go to post. If anything, the race should be very contentious, making mutuel-wagering enticing. No heavy favorite and a full field makes for some big payouts!
I will break down the field here, although please keep in mind I’m not a big fan of any horses in the race.
Lookin At Lee (5-1): My top choice for the race as it appears the horse can run all day and this is the longest race of the Triple Crown. He is the lone horse to run in the Derby and the Preakness so the natural question is, will his legs be heavy as they turn for home on the long Belmont stretch.
Irish War Cry (7-2): Was one of the favorites for the Derby before dumping and finishing 10th. I think he was over-bet in Kentucky as his best win of the year came in the Wood Memorial, hardly a power race. I guess should be considered a contender based on the relative strength of this field.
Tapwrit (6-1): An interesting possibility. Had nothing but trouble in the Derby yet still fought his way to finish sixth. Been off since then and has had some decent works over the track. Might be one to watch late.
Senior Investment (12-1): Another that could bear watching in the lane. Closed well at the Preakness to finish third at 31-1. You won’t get those odds here, but worth taking a long look at, especially for your exotics. Really like the late running style here.
Patch (12-1): A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon for the Derby, but his outside post killed his chances before the gate opened. He came out of the race okay and even though he drew outside again, 12th is much better than 20th and here it gives him a chance to tuck in behind the leaders.
Gormley (8-1): With his three losses coming to Classic Empire, Mastery and Always Dreaming, there is reason to think he may have a shot here. Breaking from the three hole he should get the stalking trip he loves. He was sitting good early in the Derby, but had some trouble with a bump and went backwards.
Multiplier (15-1): Did win the Illinois Derby, a field comparable in talent to this one so there is a chance. Was never in the Preakness, but that race and pace was much better than this will be. Another late closer thought.
Epicharis (4-1): What has this horse done to be one of the favorites on the Morning Line? Four wins in Japan and a second in the UAE Derby hardly warrant very much respect in my book. Failed to beat Thunder Snow in the UAE and Thunder Snow was way over his head in the Derby, not even finishing the race. Maybe he picks off some tiring horses in the lane, but not worth getting excited about.
Thanks for filling out the field
Twisted Tom (20-1): First graded stakes race and figures to be part of the early speed as he breaks from the rail.
J Boys Echo (15-1): There is a reason he was 47-1 in the Derby and finished a badly beaten 15th.
Hollywood Handsome (30-1): Did win an allowance race in his last start so he’s got that going for him.
Meantime (15-1): Does get some level of respect with Mike Smith taking the mount and he did run second in the Peter Pan over the track, but will get caught I the early speed and fall back late.