The final leg of this year’s Triple Crown racing season for the top three-year old thoroughbreds in the nation takes place on Saturday, June 11 with the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes.
The Belmont is the longest of the three Triple Crown races at 1 ½ miles on a dirt track and the total price purse for this year’s race is $1.5 million. It looks like Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist is going to sit this one out, but Exaggerator is expected to run following his stunning victory in the Preakness Stakes as the second choice. Turning to Bovada’s futures sport odds to win, here is an early look at some of the top contenders on the list for my sport picks.
This Kentucky-bred colt finally had his fill of finishing behind Nyquist in his racing career with the big win at Pimlico. As a two-year old, he finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before taking second behind Nyquist in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at that same track in his three-year old debut. Add in another second-place run in the Kentucky Derby to a series of losses to his old nemesis. Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by Ken Desormeaux, Exaggerator now has a chance to surpass Nyquist as the top three-year old thoroughbred this year by claiming two-thirds of the Triple Crown racing series.
Closing as a 20/1 longshot in the Kentucky Derby breaking out of the No. 2 post, this three-year old Kentucky-bred gelding turned in a solid fifth-place run in a very crowded field. Trainer Donnie Von Hemel decided to pass on the Preakness to save his legs for the longer distance in the Belmont. Following a very successful juvenile campaign in which he placed first or second in five events, his biggest win this year was in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in mid-February.
Cherry Wine +800
Looking to build on the momentum of a second-place finish in the Preakness as a 20/1 longshot, this Kentucky-bred colt is definitely one to watch as we get closer to post time for the Belmont. Trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Corey Lanerie, he has now finished in the money in four of his last five events. After finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn in his first stakes race as a three-year old, Cherry Wine took third in the Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland in early April.
This three-year old Kentucky-bred colt caught everyone’s attention heading into the Preakness Stakes is what was his first ever run in any kind of stakes race. He almost lived-up to all the hype as an 8/1 third-favorite in that race with a fourth-place finish. Prior to that with Todd Pletcher as his trainer, Stradivari had only raced in a pair a Maiden Special Weight events as a juvenile and one Allowance race this year. Jockey John Velazquez is expected to get the ride in the Belmont.
I was really high on this horse heading into the Kentucky Derby following a big win in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 12. He did manage to work his way through the field to a sixth-place finish at Churchill before sitting out the Preakness. This three-year old Kentucky-bred colt is also trained by Pletcher and jockey Javier Castellano was onboard for his run in the Kentucky Derby. Destin also won this season’s Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in mid-February.
The Best of the Rest
Next on Bovada futures list to win is Brody’s Cause at +1400 along with Lani and Unified. The only other horses with posted futures odds for the 2016 Belmont starts with Mo Tom at +1600 followed by Creator at +2200.