The favorite, Classic Empire, has been scratched. The winners of the last two Triple Crown races are sitting out Belmont, and co-favorite Epicharis got a painkiller shot in the foot yesterday... It makes for a WIDE OPEN Belmont Stakes. Here's my picks.
The Belmont Stakes is Saturday at 6:37pm EST, and with both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners out of the field, we are assured a third straight different winner in a 2017 Triple Crown race. The early favorite, Classic Empire, will not be running, removing yet another favorite from the field and shaking up the odds dramatically from just a week ago.
Here’s a current look at the Belmont Odds as of June 9th – and keep in mind, that unlike the rest of the sports we cover at The Sports Geek, the odds in horse racing are VERY fluid and subject to frequent and dramatic change.
Belmont Odds (listed by post position):
Twisted Tom +2000
J Boys Echo +1600
Hollywood Handsome +3300
Looking at Lee +550
Irish War Cry +300
Senior Investment +650
The removal of Classic Empire leaves us without a dominant favorite, as Irish War Cry, Epicharis and Looking at Lee all moved up and split the difference and Senior Investment and Tapwrit moved down into the single digits.
The bad news is we have a Derby-lite wide open field. The good news is, that increases the value of each and every horse you have an eye on.
Here’s my Card for the 2017 Belmont Stakes:
SHOW: Patch +2500
This horse is opened at 11th in the odds at a fat 18-1 after a miserable 14th place showing on a sloppy day at Churchill Downs in the Derby. Since then, he has fallen even farther to 25-1, the second-longest shot on the board.
But Horse Racing Nation has this rated as the third best horse in the field, making 25-1 a pretty enticing value. Add in the mystique around any Todd Pletcher horse, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this line is narrower come post time Saturday. Patch has the terrible Kentucky Derby showing, but has been home resting since and does have a nice second place finish at the Louisiana Derby in his resume. I like the long shot value beefing up the payout.
PLACE: Tapwrit +750
I’ll stick with the Todd Pletcher horse + Resting at the Preakness combo, making Tapwrit a nice value at +750. He finished sixth at the Kentucky Derby, and fifth at the Blue Grass Stakes. Those are the last two races for this horse, which earned its way into the Derby Field with an impressive win in February’s Florida Derby, beating State of Honor and Wild Shot, and by finishing second in the race prior, just behind McCracken. Legendary trainer Todd Pletcher gave Tapwrit the race off, skipping the Preakness, to hopefully gear up for one more run at the Belmont. We shall see if the extra rest proved wise. Rested horse, legendary trainer, solid jockey – it’s an intriguing combo.
WIN – Irish War Cry +300
My Derby value play didn’t live up to the promise, but now find himself in new territory as the favorite. I’m betting the speed that made him an intriguing possibility at the Derby comes to fruition on the shorter Belmont track against a much-lesser talented field. Add in the fact that Epicharis received a painkiller for lameness in the foot yesterday, and it’s hard not to take the favorite to deliver.
Good luck this weekend – and enjoy the final Triple Crown race of the season!