2017 Belmont Stakes Preview
The 149TH running of the Belmont Stakes (G1) is scheduled to run at 6:37 PM EST on Saturday, June 10 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
This year’s Run for the Carnations won’t feature any stud colt trying to make history by becoming the first Triple Crown winner since American Pharoah in 2015, as the first two legs of the Triple Crown series were won by two different horses.
The 2017 Kentucky Derby (G1) saw Always Dreaming cross the finish line in first place, while the 2017 Preakness Stakes crowned Cloud Computing the victor.
Not only were the first two Triple Crown legs split, neither Always Dreaming nor Cloud Computing will compete in the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, making the Belmont Stakes a wide-open field.
In addition to the absence of Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing, it was announced on June 7 that expected favorite Classic Empire was scratched from the Belmont due to a right front hoof abscess.
“It flared up after the Holy Bull,” said trainer Mark Casse. “Luckily, at this point, it flared up before the [Belmont]. He’s such a tough horse, he doesn’t really let you know until it’s really painful to him. If he hadn’t he would have run in the race and probably not run as well, and then have it flared up. I’m looking toward it as a bright spot, that he showed it three days out and not the day after.”
Two of the top remaining contenders are Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin at Lee (5–1 morning-line odds) and Irish War Cry (7–2 morning-line odds), who won both the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) this year. Lookin at Lee has one advantage over the rest of the field: he will be ridden by 2016 Belmont Stakes winner Irad Ortiz Jr. One horse who could surprise is Epicharis (4–1 morning-line odds), who has shown the ability to stretch out in longer tracks. Without star power, the Belmont is now wide open, where anything could happen.