The first two legs of the 2017 Triple Crown went off without a hitch. We saw no last-minute surprises or withdrawals to hinder either race. The third and final leg, the Belmont Stakes, has not been so lucky. After Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing announced they wouldn’t run in this weekend’s event, the field was already getting thin. Now, the field gets thinner as Classic Empire pulls out with an injury. What we’re left with is a lineup of horses practically unrecognizable to the casual fan, let alone anyone new to the sport. It’s going to be a couple of good horses surrounded by a bunch of longshots.
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On Saturday, we’ll have a handful of horses with a legitimate shot to show and the rest will be filler. Irish War Cry leads the way as the favorite at 7/2 odds. He’s been effective when he runs, winning 4 of his 6 career races. The issue with IWC is that his losses came in his 2 biggest races which include the Kentucky Derby. If Irish War Cry is going to struggle in big races, he’s not going to do well at Belmont this weekend.
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One of the popular picks to win it all is Tapwrit out of post 2. He’s certainly not a favorite, but at 6/1 odds, he’s not a longshot, either. Tapwrit has a graded stakes win on his resume which is a lot more than much of the field can say. Building on that, his trainer, Todd Pletcher, has won the Belmont twice and only lost by a nose last year. Pletcher knows how to prep for this race. The downside with Tapwrit is that he finished 6th in the Kentucky Derby and hasn’t won since March. The hope is for a better showing against lesser competition.
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Another favorite among experts is Senior Investment. He’s another graded stakes winner and is coming off a good showing in the Preakness where he finished third. Senior Investment has plenty of experience (this will be the seventh different track he’s run) and momentum on his side. It doesn’t hurt that he’s been training at Belmont since late May. That means the sandy track shouldn’t be an issue for him where it might slow others down. At 12/1 odds, Senior Investment could bring a nice payday.
Last but not least, we’ll look at Multiplier. He’s got 15/1 odds, but does have a couple things going for him. First, he’s coming off a win in April and a 6th place finish at the Preakness. He’s by no means a world beater, but you could do a lot worse here. Second, his jockey, Joel Rosario, has had plenty of success in recent years at the Belmont. Rosario won in 2014, was runner-up last year and finished third in 2013 and 2011. He knows how to run this race for success and will have Multiplier turning heads on Saturday.