The final leg of the Triple Crown takes place in New York State and it should prove a thrilling race after favorite Classic Empire was ruled out with a foot injury. That caused the odds to shift hugely on the remaining 12 horses, and there is now plenty of value to be had for punters on the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. This is essentially the biggest horse race remaining in 2017 and it will attract an enormous TV audience and generate a huge amount of betting interest. Here we analyse the leading contenders and their chances of going down in history with a famous win. Sportsbetting.ag will offer great odds, check them first, read our analysis and get in on the action.
Irish War Cry
This high achieving son of Curlin was the 5/1 second favorite before Classic Empire pulled out, and has now gone in to 7/2. He was a disappointing 10th in the Kentucky Derby, where he faded badly in the final two furlongs, but trainer Graham Motion said he has since done brilliantly in the training pen. He has fantastic potential and has put in a host of excellent performances, having won four of his six races and beaten many of this year’s leading horses, including Classic Empire, Gunnevera and Preakness champion Cloud Computing. Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing both miss out on this race, so it makes sense that Irish War Cry is the favorite. He should have an edge in terms of freshness and stamina as he hasn’t run since the Derby, and looks the one to beat after previously romping to victory in the Wood Memorial. He is inconsistent, but on his day he is the strongest contestant in the field.
Hot on Irish War Cry’s heels in the morning line is the 4/1 second favorite Epicharis, whose odds have dropped dramatically following Classic Empire’s withdrawal. He was last seen finishing second by a head in the UAE Derby, and has the pace to worry his rivals, but the Belmont will be a big adjustment as he has never been tested over this trip. A foreign horse has not won the Belmont since 1990, but Epicharis is in with a chance of ending that streak, and more money is going on him than any other contestant in this race.
Lookin at Lee
This horse shocked everyone when he defied odds of 33/1 to finish second in the Kentucy Derby, and he followed it up with a strong showing in the Preakness, where he finished fourth. He is the 5/1 third favourite here and Fatigue could be an issue as he is the only horse to compete in all three legs of this year’s Triple Crown, and he may not quite have the legs to win it, but he should be considered for any boxed trifectas or superfectas.
He ran finished strong in the Preakness to finish third behind Cloud Computing and Classic Empire and has been made 6/1 fourth favorite here on the back of that. He made up a lot of ground in that race and is likely to finish strong here, making him a contender for exotics, but it could be that he leaves himself with too much to do as his running style is likely to keep him a fair way behind the pack.
This horse has drifted all the way out to 8/1 and looks good value at those odds to finish in the money. He was a respectable sixth in the Kentucky Derby and can go better than that here in the absence of the likes of Always Dreaming and Classic Empire. He is a son of Tapit and therefore bred to win the Belmont: two of Tapit’s sons, Tonalist and Creator, have won this race in the last three years.
J Boys Echo
This is another great option to back across the board as the odds are out at 16/1. Like Irish War Cry and Tapwrit, he is fresh and rested ahead of this big race, something Lookin at Lee cannot benefit from. He is a closer and has a chance if he remains close to the pack.
Fan favorite Patch, the one-eyed wonder, is a loveable underdog out at 40/1. He will probably attract a lot of attention in the betting, but lacks the calibre to win this race. Twisted Tom also appears to lack the pace. It is likely that, if they get the right trip, Irish War Cry and Epicharis will set the pace, with Lookin at Lee and Tapwrit there or thereabouts, but expect a late charge from J Boys Echo and Senior Investment. Either way, it promises to be an exhilarating and closely fought race and a great one to bet on.