All three Triple Crown races will have different winners this year, this being a guarantee after Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing—winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, respectively—were not entered into the 149th Belmont Stakes.
The race lost additional intrigue when Belmont favorite, Classic Empire, was pulled out of the Belmont Stakes on Wednesday due to an abscess, per Alicia Wincze Hughes of BloodHorse.
Nonetheless, the final leg of the Triple Crown will be run on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The post time will be 6:37 p.m. ET, with NBC broadcasting the race. Saturday's coverage will begin on NBCSN at 3 p.m. before it shifts to NBC at 5 p.m.
Below, you'll find the post positions for the field and early odds for the race below, per the NYRA's post-draw live stream:
- Twisted Tom (20-1)
- Tapwrit (6-1)
- Gormley (8-1)
- J Boys Echo (15-1)
- Hollywood Handsome (30-1)
- Lookin At Lee (5-1)
- Irish War Cry (7-2)
- Senior Investment (12-1)
- Meantime (15-1)
- Multiplier (15-1)
- Epicharis (4-1)
- Patch (12-1)
Irish War Cry, who finished 10th in the Derby and didn't run in the Preakness, became the favorite with Classic Empire out of the mix.
"It's just very odd," said the horse's trainer, Graham Motion, after his horse was labeled the favorite, per the Associated Press (via USA Today). "This goes to show how quickly things can go wrong. It just takes a little thing like a foot abscess. They're animals, and things can go wrong at any time."
Classic Empire's trainer, Mark Casse, didn't find the abscess until Wednesday.
"He's such a tough horse, he doesn't really let you know until it's really painful to him," he noted. "If he hadn't, he would have run in the race and probably not run as well, and then have it flare up. I'm looking toward it as a bright spot, that he showed it three days out and not the day after."
Without Classic Empire, there's no obvious favorite, even if Irish War Cry is the listed choice. Epicharis has strong odds after narrowly finishing in second at the UAE Derby. And based on recent results alone, Lookin At Lee is probably the safest choice. The horse finished second at the Derby and fourth at the Preakness and, in a weaker field, has all the makings of a potential winner.
"He's a unique horse in how strong he is, how he takes things, how he comes out of his races, how gritty he is, how durable he is," trainer Steve Asmussen said of Lookin At Lee, per Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form (via ESPN.com). "We realize how fortunate we are."
The question will be whether Saturday ends up being a fortunate day for his connections. In a wide open field, Lookin at Lee is as good a pick as any. Certainly his strong performances in the first two Triple Crown races have created a pretty good expectation he'll show up once again on Saturday.