The final jewel in this season’s Triple Crown racing series for some of the top three-year old thoroughbreds in this year’s crop is set for Saturday, June 10 with the running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. This is the longest and most grueling test in the three-race series.
The actual field for this year’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes has yet to be officially set; however, Bovada has recently updated its futures odds to win based on the 15 entries that are currently listed as probable or possible for next Saturday’s main event as part of the 2017 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. Below is a closer look at the top five contenders on that list in terms of besting the field in this 1 ¼ mile run around the dirt track at Belmont.
Classic Empire +200
I have been high on this three-year-old Kentucky-bred colt the entire Triple Crown racing season as my second choice in the Kentucky Derby and my to pick to win the Preakness Stakes and this could be the race that he finally lives up to his true potential. Trained by Mark Casse, he got caught up in an early scrum at Churchill before finishing a respectable fourth and he was simply outrun down the stretch by Cloud Computing to finish second at Pimlico. This son of Pioneerof the Nile should relish the role as the favorite to win this time around by finally coming through with a victory in the final leg of this series.
A newcomer to Triple Crown racing, this Japanese-bred colt will be making his United States debut at Belmont after taking second in the Grade 2 UAE Derby at Meydan on March 25 over a distance of 1 3/16 miles. Trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara has been training him to specifically handle the added distance of this race and the lack of wear and tear should give him a pretty good edge against some of the other horses on this list that have already raced in at least one of the first two events in this racing series.
Looking at Lee +500
This Kentucky-bred colt was pretty much an afterthought when the post positions and morning line odds were set for this year’s Kentucky Derby. After opening at 20/1 odds breaking from the unfavorable No. 1 post, his odds slipped to 33/1 right before the 1 ¼ mile trip around Churchill got underway. Trainer Steve Asmussen had faith he could compete with jockey Corey Lanerie getting the ride and it paid off with a stunning second-place finish. The son of Lookin At Lucky turned in another strong performance in the Preakness with a fourth-place run, but there could be some concern with the toll that these first two races may have taken on his chances to break through with a victory in this race.
Famed trainer Todd Pletcher knew he had a strong Kentucky Derby contender in Always Dreaming, but he was also high on this three-year-old Kentucky-bred colt at 20/1 morning line odds for that race. He broke from the No. 16 post and managed to finish sixth in the crowded 20-horse field. A pedigree of Tapit with a solid Horse Racing Nation rating of 7.57, the extra time off to prepare for the grueling 1 ½ mile run at Belmont should work in his favor. His biggest victory of the year came in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 11 at a distance of 1 1/16 miles.Senior Investment +750
A sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in early April at Fair Grounds put a serious dent in this Kentucky-bred colt’s chances to make it into the field at Churchill, but he proved he belonged on the list as one of the top three-year-old colts this year with his recent third-place finish in the money at Pimlico in last month’s Preakness. Trained by Ken McPeek with jockey Channing Hill expected to get the ride, there is some solid value in his futures odds to win at Belmont.Join the conversation with other Horse Racing bettors