This Saturday, Triple Crown races for 2016 come to a close with the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes. Some of the drama was lost when Nyquist had to be withdrawn (he’s back in California and may return to light work next week), but this should still be an interesting race. And yet again, weather may play a significant role in the outcome.
Here’s the surprisingly large field:
7.Seeking the Soul
With the exception of Governor Malibu, Gettysburg, Seeking the Soul, and Forever D’Oro, we’ve seen all the starters at least once before in the Kentucky Derby (of those 20, only Exaggerator and Lani have contested all three races). Of the four newcomers, Governor Malibu is the only one with a possibility of hitting the board. He was second in the Peter Pan Stakes earlier in the Belmont meet. It’s a traditional prep race for the Belmont and the race that positioned Tonalist for his Belmont win in 2014. I don’t think Governor Malibu is quite the horse Tonalist was on the track. Gettysburg is primarily in the race as something of a rabbit to insure an honest pace. Seeking the Soul and Forever D’Oro are both recent allowance race winners.
The forecast for Saturday had looked pretty nice up until this morning and now there’s the possibility of severe weather at Elmont, New York Saturday afternoon. If the track does come up sloppy, I don’t think I need to tell you who benefits significantly in those conditions; you saw Exaggerator’s performance in the Preakness Stakes! Lani and Cherry Wine will also move up if the track is wet. Even if it doesn’t rain, I still believe this is Exaggerator’s race. He appears to have taken to the Belmont track, his weight and coat are good, and he’s found his most effective running style. I’ll also be interested to see if Lani can move up a few more places as he did in the Preakness and if Suddenbreakingnews can be closer to the pace to make that come from behind kick pay off.
Of the other horses in the race Destin, Stradivari (who I still think is being asked for too much too soon), and Creator could hit the board, but it’s harder for me to see them as the winner. Super longshots–Trojan Nation and Brody’s Cause. It’s a horse race and that means anything can happen!
Post time Saturday is 6:37 p.m.