I get particularly excited about the Belmont. In what is considered the most challenging of the three Triple Crown races, I love witnessing the growth that takes place during a horses three-year-old career and this race truly highlights horses that are steadily developing and testing their own skill.
With Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Winner Cloud Computing sitting out this race, it leaves a wide-open and diverse field for the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes!
So, who are the horses that I’m keeping an eye on?
#7 – Irish War Cry
It didn’t surprise me one bit Irish War Cry became the 7-2 favorite for the Belmont. If you haven’t taken the time to watch his winning performance earlier this year in the G1 Wood Memorial, *please* head over to YouTube and check it out. He is no stranger to the course at Belmont and neither is his jockey, Rajiv Maragh. After a disappointing 10th place finish in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Graham Motion chose to sit out the Preakness, which I think was a great choice. Having a few weeks off the train has positioned him well and I have little concerns with his post position. For those who have known me for a long time, you’ll know that I’ve been a huge fan of jockey Rajiv Maragh. I have been incredibly impressed and inspired by his ability to recover and comeback to sport after suffering a significant racing injury that kept him off the track for a year. Everyone loves a feel-good win and with this combo… you just can’t lose.
#11 – Epicharis
All the way from Japan, Epicharis
is was looking to make history as the first Japanese-bred winner of the Belmont Stakes but was scratched from the Belmont early Saturday morning after being treated for lameness. Bummer. Would have been a interesting contender!
#2 – Tapwrit
Is it the year of the Tapit? The colt finished in 6th place in the Kentucky Derby. I believe that the 2nd post really suits his running style making great potential for successful ride. And, let’s be honest: if there are two people who know this track well it is trainer Todd Pletcher, who recently won the Belmont with Palace Malice in 2013. At 6-1 odds on the morning line… I have to play this grey!
#9 – Meantime
If you’re looking for some speed…here you go. He caught my attention after finishing second in May’s Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park. There is a part of me that hopes he doesn’t get bet down too much because given the right trip, he has a shot to excel in this race, especially at 15-1 odds. Do I need to mention who is riding Meantime? Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith will be on the mount for the first time which to me suggests that Meantime’s connections may have something up their sleeve by bringing in the legend. If Mikey can get Meantime to sit a bit off the lead I see no reason for them not to cross that finish line the money.
#1 – Twisted Tom
Chad Brown came in and rocked the Preakness with Cloud Computing and it appears that he could have the same luck in the Belmont with Twisted Tom. The Creative Cause colt has won his last three starts and thought I think this will be a challenging distance for him – it is certaintly not out of the realm of possibility!
Regardless who wins, this will be a memorable race.
Here are my #CiaratogaPicks for 2017 Belmont Stakes:Giddy Up and Good Luck,