Belmont Stakes 2017 Contenders: Irish War Cry and More Favorites

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2017

Belmont Stakes hopeful Irish War Cry gallops around the track during a workout at Belmont Park, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Elmont, N.Y. Irish War Cry will be one of 12 horses competing in the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race on Saturday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

The Belmont Stakes, the final and the oldest of the three Triple Crown events, is set to take place on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

In the first two legs of the Triple Crown, horses Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing made headlines when they won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, respectively. 

However, neither of those two horses were entered in the Belmont Stakes, meaning that this year there's no chance of a single horse winning all three Triple Crown races.  

In fact, only one Belmont Stakes contender—Lookin At Lee—will run in all three events. 

Below you'll find the odds as of June 8 for all 12 horses in the Belmont Stakes field, including top favorite Irish War Cry and other highly favored contenders. All odds courtesy of OddsShark.

       

Belmont Stakes Post Positions and Odds

No. 1: Twisted Tom (20-1) 
No. 2: Tapwrit (15-2) 
No. 3: Gormley (12-1) 
No. 4: J Boys Echo (16-1) 
No. 5: Hollywood Handsome (33-1) 
No. 6: Lookin At Lee (5-1)
No. 7: Irish War Cry (3-1) 
No. 8: Senior Investment (12-1)
No. 9: Meantime (14-1)
No. 10: Multiplier (16-1) 
No. 11: Epicharis (7-2)
No. 12: Patch (25-1)

At 3-1, Irish War Cry remains the early favorite to win the race at Belmont Park on Saturday.

The chestnut colt is trained by Graham Motion and is looking to bounce back from a less-than-ideal Derby outing. 

Irish War Cry finished 10th in that race, despite having good position for the first mile of the track. 

But those who favor the colt remember his first-place finishes in the Wood Memorial (G2) and Holy Bull (G2) earlier this year. 

And perhaps Irish War Cry's poor result in the Derby can be attributed to his unfavorable post position. Irish War Cry broke from the No. 17 post, the only position from which no horse has ever won the Run for the Roses. 

Because of his poor performance in the Derby, Motion was not planning to enter Irish War Cry in any other races in the Triple Crown, according to Jerry Izenberg of NJ.com. However, the colt has trained well since and his trainer decided to give him a chance. 

"I don't know how I can sit here with a horse who's in good form and not run him in a classic," Motion said, per Izenberg. 

In addition to Irish War Cry, other favorites heading into the Racing Festival are Epicharis at 7-2 and Lookin At Lee at 5-1.

While Lookin At Lee will have competed in all three jewels of the Triple Crown, this will be the first race in the triad for Epicharis. 

However, now Epicharis' Belmont fortunes have taken a turn for the worse, and the odds might reflect recent developments as of Friday.

According to Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form, Epicharis was treated for "lameness in his right front leg" on Wednesday night. 

However, per Privman, Epicharis' trainer, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, is optimistic about Epicharis' chances to race on Saturday. 

"It looks like it is getting better and I think there is no problem with him running in the race. We still have time, so we will give him the best care we can," Hagiwara said.