The 149th Belmont Stakes will take place Saturday without the winners of the Preakness Stakes (Cloud Computing) or the Kentucky Derby (Always Dreaming). Early Derby favorite Classic Empire will also not be there, making Irish War Cry a +300 favorite (bet $100 to win $300) for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Like Classic Empire, Irish War Cry was also one of the favorites in the Derby, but he ended up finishing 10th and did not race in the Preakness. In fact, Lookin At Lee, the +550 third choice to win the Belmont, is the only horse that will run in all three Triple Crown races after placing second in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness.
The most intriguing horse in the field is Japanese import Epicharis, who is dealing with a right front hoof issue. He has not raced in 11 weeks but won three of his last four starts by a combined 25 lengths. Epicharis is the +350 second choice to win the Belmont and could have run in the Derby but wanted the extra time to rest.
If Epicharis does scratch before the race, two horses that figure to move up the betting board are Senior Investment (+650) and Tapwrit (+750). Senior Investment is trained by Ken McPeek, who last won the Belmont in 2002 with Sarava at record +7000 odds. Tapwrit is one of two horses trained by Todd Pletcher, the second being Patch (+2500).
Other horses in the mix on the 2017 Belmont Stakes odds include Gormley (+1200), Meantime (+1400), Multiplier (+1600) and J Boys Echo (+1600). Two more longshots in addition to Patch are Twisted Tom (+2000) and Hollywood Handsome (+3300).
Gormley won the Sham Stakes and Santa Anita Derby earlier this year before finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby and sitting out the Preakness. Multiplier finished sixth in the Preakness, while J Boys Echo sat out that race after he was 15th in the Derby.
Post position No. 7 has been the lucky number over the past decade, with three horses winning it from that spot. Irish War Cry will start from that position this year.