149th Belmont Stakes Preview and Predictions from the Iceman
The 149th running of the Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park in Elmont, NY takes place on Saturday, and should be wide open. The final leg of horse racing's beloved Triple Crown will be the most difficult, as it is the longest distance at a mile and a half at a track nicknamed "Big Sandy," which has ruined many horses and jockey's dreams of winning the final jewel of these epic races.
In an odd sequence of recent events, Prekaness winner Cloud Computing decided to skip the race, as did Derby winner Always Dreaming, while Classic Empire, who ran second in the Preakness, and would have been the prohibitive favorite, had to pull out this past Wednesday due to an abscess on his hoof. One of the other serious contenders, the 11 horse Epicharis, a Japanese colt who won three of his first four starts by a combined 25 lengths, is also dealing with front hoof issues, and was scratched as of race day.
Without question, this is one of the most wide open fields that we've seen at the Belmont in years. The number 7 horse Irish War Cry is the current favorite at 7-2, and breaking from an extremely favorable post that has produced three winners at the Belmont in the past decade. He is an excellent horse, and is fresh since recently skipping the Preakness. The colt has the speed, agility and pedigree to make a run at winning the Belmont.
A very intriguing horse to keep an eye on is the 6 Looking at Lee. He is the only horse running in the Belmont that raced in both the Kentucky Derby, where he finished second, and the Preakness, finishing fourth. The distance could favor a colt like Looking at Lee, as it may suit his style of racing for a big finish. The 2 horse Tapwrit finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby, is well trained by Todd Pletcher, and won the Tampa Derby in March.
A few long shots to consider are the 12 horse Patch, who only has one eye and finished 14th in the Derby, the 3 horse Gormley who won the Sham Stakes and Santa Anita Derby, finishing 9th in the Kentucky Derby, and the 10 horse Multiplier, who finished 6th in the Preakness.
Considering how this race is truly a coin flip, I'm going to take a chance and say that Looking at Lee will win, followed by Tapwrit, and Irish War Cry. So I would suggest boxing 6-2-7, and if you feel courageous, put a shekel or two on this superfecta; 6-2-7-8. Good luck to every one, and let's all enjoy the final leg of the Triple Crown.