The 2017 Belmont Stakes is the true test of a horse's talent and determination because of the grueling 1.5-mile long track.
Saturday's race, the final Triple Crown event of the year, features 12 horses looking to achieve immortality with a victory in New York. The event has lost some steam when Classic Empire was scratched from the field with an abscess in his right front hoof, according to Alicia Wincze Hughes of BloodHorse.
Preakness Stakes champion Cloud Computing's team announced he wouldn't run this week, and Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming is also skipping out on the Belmont Stakes, so this will be the second straight year with three different winners in the three Triple Crown races.
2017 Belmont Stakes Post-Time Info
Date: Saturday, June 10
Post Time: 6:37 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports
2017 Belmont Stakes Post Positions
1. Twisted Tom (20-1)
2. Tapwrit (6-1)
3. Gormley (8-1)
4. J Boys Echo (15-1)
5. Hollywood Handsome (30-1)
6. Lookin At Lee (5-1)
7. Irish War Cry (7-2)
8. Senior Investment (12-1)
9. Meantime (15-1)
10. Multiplier (15-1)
11. Epicharis (4-1)
12. Patch (12-1)
With Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing sitting out of the Belmont, the door is open for Irish War Cry to get a marquee win in one of the year's three biggest races.
Irish War Cry enters the Belmont as the betting favorite, currently getting 3-1 odds from OddsShark.com. He disappointed at the Kentucky Derby with a 10th-place finish and skipped the Preakness, but he appeared to have momentum in April with a victory at the Wood Memorial.
As Jerry Izenberg of the Star-Ledger noted, the decision to put Irish War Cry in the Belmont didn't even come until trainer Graham Motion saw the horse at the Fair Hill Traning Center in Maryland:
"Last Saturday, he turned in the kind of morning work that made Motion change his mind, and then Isabelle de Tomaso changed hers. Nobody asked Irish War Cry because he ran in that decisive morning work as though he already knew.
"This is a colt who has won four of his six starts. He recovered enough after his 'traffic violation' at the start of Derby to run reasonably well. Motion is not about to punish him for one lousy left turn."
The Belmont Stakes is a different beast, boasting the intimidating nickname of "The Test of the Champion" because it's longer than the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
But having five weeks of rest between races instead of three if Irish War Cry had run in the Preakness Stakes makes a world of difference. His legs will be fresh and ready to handle the rigors of the Belmont.
His biggest challenge figures to come from Lookin At Lee, who has had a meteoric rise this Triple Crown season. Despite not winning at Churchill Downs or Pimlico, the Steven Asmussen-trained horse has defied the odds.
Lookin At Lee finished second at the Kentucky Derby after starting the race with 33-1 odds, per KentuckyDerby.com. Only seven runners in the 20-horse field had worse odds to win the race than Lookin At Lee.
Proving that run at Churchill Downs wasn't a fluke, Lookin At Lee finished a respectable fourth at the Preakness Stakes.
Even in a year without one dominant horse on the track, this year's Belmont Stakes is offering plenty of drama for the competitors ready to tackle the greatest test in horse racing.