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Belmont Stakes Picks 2016: Predictions and Odds for All Horses in the Lineup

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2016

Jun 7, 2016; Elmont, NY, USA; Exaggerator trains on the main track in preparation for the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While there is no chance at a Triple Crown this season, there is a much more balanced field at the Belmont Stakes and the potential for a memorable finish Saturday. 

American Pharoah spoiled us last year as the first thoroughbred since Affirmed in 1978 to win all three of the American classics. With Nyquist winning the Kentucky Derby and Exaggerator taking home the Preakness Stakes, this feat won't be replicated. Of course, there is still a $1.5 million purse and plenty of bragging rights in winning one of the biggest races of the calendar year.

Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form also noted the size of the field is bigger than usual:

Jay Privman @DRFPrivman

If all 13 run in the Belmont it will be the second-largest Belmont field in the last 20 years, topped only by 14 runners in 2013. #belmont

All of this could equal an exciting battle to the finish at Belmont Park with a lot of qualified contenders. Anything can happen, but here are the latest predictions along with a full look at the field for Saturday's race in Elmont, New York.

Belmont Stakes Post Positions and Odds
PostHorseJockeyOdds
1Governor MalibuJoel Rosario12-1
2DestinJavier Castellano6-1
3Cherry WineCorey Lanerie8-1
4SuddenbreakingnewsMike Smith10-1
5StradivariJohn Velazquez5-1
6GettysburgPaco Lopez30-1
7Seeking The SoulFlorent Geroux30-1
8Forever d'OroJose Ortiz30-1
9Trojan NationAaron Gryder30-1
10LaniYutaka Take20-1
11ExaggeratorKent Desormeaux9-5
12Brody's CauseLuis Saez20-1
13CreatorIrad Ortiz Jr.10-1
Source: Courier-Journal

Prediction

Show: Cherry Wine

Jun 8, 2016; Elmont, NY, USA; Cherry Wine ridden by Faustino Aguilar trains on the main track in preparation for the 148th running of the  Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Not only does trainer Dale Romans have two horses in the 13-entry field, but both of them have a good chance of contending for a win. Steve Sherack of Thoroughbred Daily News was impressed by both horses on Wednesday morning:

Steve Sherack @SteveSherackTDN

Dale Romans #BelmontStakes one-two punch of Brody's Cause & Cherry Wine both looking very good in the a.m. here https://t.co/DXK7yyUper

Between the two, however, Cherry Wine has been the more consistent. Brody's Cause does have wins at two Grade 1 races, including the Blue Grass Stakes in April. However, he finished in just seventh place at the Kentucky Derby, which matched his finish in the Tampa Bay Derby earlier this year.

On the other hand, Cherry Wine has finished no worse than fourth in 2016, including a second-place finish at the Preakness Stakes over previously undefeated Nyquist. While Exaggerator got the majority of the press for his win—and deservedly so—Cherry Wine also had an impressive showing on the muddy track.

Now he has the chance to finish in the money once again in another competitive field. Jockey Corey Lanerie has done a good job with Cherry Wine to this point and should be a serious threat once again.

Place: Suddenbreakingnews

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 4: Kentucky Derby contender Suddenbreakingnews gallops at Churchill Downs Race Track on May 4, 2016 at Churchill Downs, Louisville. (Photo by Horsephotos/Getty Images)
Horsephotos/Getty Images

While Suddenbreakingnews only has a single win in his last five starts, this course might give him the best chance for a successful showing.

As trainer Donnie Von Hemel noted, the longer track will give his contender an advantage over the field, per the Lexington Herald-Leader:

It looks like, with the way he ran in the Derby and with his pedigree, the mile-and-a-half distance should suit him well. It’s one of the few mile-and-a-half races we have left in America so I think we need to go run in it. Pace is always an issue and we’ll have to see how that shapes up, but he can go a mile-and-a-half so we’ll do what we can do.

The pedigree he discussed includes Mineshaft, who won a handful of Grade 1 events on the Belmont track throughout his career, as well as Afleet Alex, the 2005 winner of the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. He is even a decedent of Seattle Slew, who is famous for winning the 1977 Triple Crown.

Success on the New York track is in his blood.

After a respectable fifth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby and some valuable rest while others were competing in the Preakness, Suddenbreakingnews could be a top contender at Belmont.

Win: Exaggerator

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 21:  Jockey Kent Desormeaux rides Exaggerator #5 to win the 141st Running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 21, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It's true that Exaggerator's two biggest wins came in sloppy conditions. Both the Santa Anita Derby and the Preakness Stakes were muddy tracks, opening up the opportunity for the experienced horse to earn the victories.

Of course, this horse has proved itself as an elite runner no matter what the conditions. Exaggerator has finished in the money in nine of 11 career starts. He has been even better with Nyquist not in the field, winning four of six such races.

Even after beating Nyquist in the Preakness, the path to victory is much easier without the talented opponent.

While jockey Kent Desormeaux had some off-track trouble with a rehab visit, he is apparently ready to compete Saturday. This is big news, as the veteran has seven career wins at Triple Crown races, including the 2009 Belmont Stakes.

With a talented, experienced horse and a quality team around him, there is no reason to doubt Exaggerator regardless of the weather.

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