The 2017 edition of the Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, and it'll be the 149th running of what they call the "Test of the Champion".
Neither of the winners of the first two jewels of the Triple Crown will be taking part in this race, but there are still some very good horses in the field. Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming isn't hurt, but he'll be steered toward another race in the summer (either the Jim Dandy Stakes or the Haskell), while Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing will also be held out of the Belmont.
This race is known as the Test of the Champion because it is the longest of the three Triple Crown races. This is a grueling marathon, which is run over 1.5 miles. Horses might be able to blaze through the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness Stakes, but endurance and stamina is required at the Belmont Stakes.
On the odds for the Belmont Stakes, it's Irish War Cry at +300, Epicharis at +350, Lookin At Lee at +500, Senior Investment at +650, and Tapwrit and Gormley at +750 and +1200, respectively. Meantime sits at +1400, with J Boys Echo and Multiplier both at +1600, Twisted Tom at +2000, and Patch and Holywood Handsome at +3300.
Lookin At Lee came in second at the Kentucky Derby and fourth at the Preakness, while Epicharis has run just two races, winning a mile-long race. However, he will be looking to become the first foreign-born horse to win the Belmont since Canada's Victory Gallop in 1998 as he hails from Japan.
Irish War Cry struggled to a 10th-place run at the Kentucky Derby, but he had won four of five going into that race, including the Holy Bull and the Wood Memorial. Tapwrit came in sixth at the Kentucky Derby while Gormley placed ninth.
Multiplier placed sixth at the Preakness Stakes. Prior to that, he had won the Illinois Derby. Meantime ran the Peter Pan in May and finished second. Twisted Tom is intriguing as he has won three straight starts and has had his distance increased every time, but as all of these horses will find out, running the Belmont Stakes is a completely different story.
J Boys Echo finished 15th at the Kentucky Derby. He has just two wins in seven career starts, so it would be surprising to see him win. However, there is some superstition involved here as celebrity chef Bobby Flay just purchased a minority interest in J Boys Echo. As you might recall, Flay got a piece of Creator - last year's Belmont Stakes winner - just days before the race too.
In terms of post positions, Irish War Cry will be in the No. 7 gate while Epicharis will have No. 11. Tapwrit is starting at the No. 2 post while Lookin At Lee is in the middle of the pack at No. 6. In total, there are 12 entries. The race goes off around 6:37pm ET on Saturday.