With heavily favored Classic Empire out of 2017 Belmont Stakes, the competition is as wide open as ever.
Classic Empire began last month as one of the favorites to hoist this year's Triple Crown, but a disappointing fourth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby put a damper on those dreams.
But after finishing second in the Preakness Stakes last month, despite leading the way throughout the majority of the race up until the final turn, Classic Empire was the favorite to take home a victory at Preakness Stakes this year.
Unfortunately, he will not be racing due to a foot abscess.
Although Classic Empire is out of action this weekend, the show must go on. Below is the field of horses that will be racing this Saturday with the latest odds, per the Belmont Stakes' official website:
- Twisted Tom (20-1)
- Tapwrit (6-1)
- Gormley (8-1)
- J Boys Echo (15-1)
- Hollywood Handsome (30-1)
- Lookin At Lee (5-1)
- Irish War Cry (7-2)
- Senior Investment (12-1)
- Meantime (15-1)
- Multiplier (15-1)
- Epicharis (4-1)
- Patch (12-1)
Classic Empire's absence isn't the only big name missing from the field, as Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing have also elected to skip the Belmont Stakes.
Without a clear favorite, here are my predictions heading into Saturday's race:
1) Irish War Cry
2) Lookin At Lee
7) Senior Investment
8) J Boys Echo
9) Hollywood Handsome
10) Twisted Tom
After such an exciting finish at the Preakness Stakes a few weeks ago, a rematch between Classic Empire and Cloud Computing had horse racing fans as excited as ever to see two horses go down to the wire in back-to-back races.
Sadly, there will be no rematch. But here's a reminder of just how good that race was:
Among the 12 horses remaining in the field, Irish War Cry appears to be the name that has begun generating the most buzz since Classic Empire withdrew from competition early Wednesday morning.
Despite a disappointing 10th place finish at the Kentucky Derby last month, Irish War Cry is back on the track and is now the odds-on favorite for to finish first in the Belmont Stakes after skipping the Preakness Stakes.
Coming into Wednesday, the colt was flying under the radar up until Classic Empire withdrew. Being labeled as the favorite at Belmont Stakes was a surprise to many, especially his trainer Graham Motion.
"It's just very odd," said the horse's trainer, Graham Motion, shortly after Irish War Cry was named the favorite, per the Associated Press (via USA Today). "This goes to show how quickly things can go wrong. It just takes a little thing like a foot abscess. They're animals, and things can go wrong at any time."
He may be the apple of every bettors eye, but that doesn't mean Irish War Cry enjoys the spotlight, per Belmont Stakes' official Twitter account:
As camera shy as he may be, all eyes will be on Irish War Cry to win the third jewel of this year's Triple Crown.