With neither Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming nor Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing in the field for the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown is ripe for the taking.
In a race as long as the Belmont, track positioning is of the utmost importance, and Wednesday's post draw could go a long way toward determining which horses have a legitimate shot.
Here is everything you need to know about when and how to watch the Belmont Stakes post draw, as well as a closer look at some of the top horses set to compete in the Run for the Carnations.
Where: Rockefeller Center in New York City
When: Wednesday, June 7 at 12 p.m. ET
Horses to Watch in Belmont Stakes
After finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby and skipping the Preakness, Tapwrit is a well-rested horse with the tools needed to compete for a victory at Belmont Park.
The Todd Pletcher-trained colt won the Tampa Bay Derby in March, and he is a three-time winner overall.
Although he never posed a true threat during a Run for the Roses, Pletcher believes a nightmarish start was the main culprit, according to the NYRA:
"I thought Tapwrit ran great in the Derby. Everyone talked about the trouble at the start for Classic Empire, but he [Tapwrit] was the one that got clobbered first and it was a chain reaction from there. But I thought he closed pretty well and made a good account of himself. I think with a cleaner start, he would've hit the board."
The fact that Tapwrit came on late in the Derby should help him in a race as long as the Belmont, as should the fact that he is relatively fresh.
Provided he can stay out of trouble in the early going, Tapwrit is a solid value and a definitive threat to net Pletcher his second Triple Crown race win of the year.
Little was expected of Senior Investment in the Preakness Stakes, but he made a late run to finish third and established himself as a Belmont Stakes contender.
Senior Investment has been somewhat inconsistent during his young career, as he went from finishing a disappointing sixth in the Louisiana Derby to winning the Lexington Stakes in April.
He has now turned in consecutive strong performances, however, and trainer Kenny McPeek joked that the Preakness was a prep race for the Belmont, per Claire Novak of Blood-Horse Daily.
While Senior Investment doesn't have the benefit of extra rest, he didn't run the Kentucky Derby, so fatigue doesn't figure to be a major factor.
Momentum is on his side, and his recent form suggests he will at least be in the mix during the latter stages of the Belmont Stakes.
The biggest wild card in the 2017 Belmont Stakes is undoubtedly Japan-bred Epicharis, who skipped the first two legs of the Triple Crown in preparation for Saturday's race.
As the winner of the Hyacinth Stakes and second-place finisher in the UAE Derby, Epicharis has an impressive, albeit light resume at his disposal.
According to NYRA's Heather Pettinger (h/t PaulickReport.com), trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara feels Epicharis is well equipped for the Belmont:
"When he arrived in Japan from Dubai, he was bit tired from traveling and we wanted to give him enough time, thus we had to pass on Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, though he was awarded [a spot in the] starting gate in Kentucky Derby as the winner of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. Now, he is completely recovered and he is doing well, so we decided to try the Belmont Stakes. He is bred to stay and, the way he races, I believe 1.5 miles at Belmont suits him."
It is often difficult to predict how a foreign horse will transition on to the American Triple Crown scene, but the wide-open nature of the Belmont makes Epicharis a threat.
Provided the travel doesn't take too much of a toll on him, Epicharis could conceivably pull off a shocker at Belmont Park.