Horse racing fans love wide-open races that present the opportunity for a huge payoff. They should have their wish in Saturday's running of the Belmont Stakes, where Irish War Cry is the favorite in the field of 12.
This race could belong to at least 10 of the horses in the field, as neither Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming nor Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing is competing in the 1 ½-mile Test of Champions.
Classic Empire was the favorite in the race through midweek, but trainer Mark Casse had to scratch his runner as a result of an abscess in his hoof.
Irish War Cry comes into the race with odds of 3-1, slightly better than Epicharis at odds of 7-2, according to OddsShark.
The third jewel of the Triple Crown comes with a purse of $1.5 million, with $800,000 going to the winner, $200,000 to the second-place finisher and $100,000 to the third-place horse, according to TripleCrown.com's 2016 breakdown (which was gleaned from the same $1.5 million purse).
NBC will televise the race, with post time scheduled for 6:37 p.m. ET.
Belmont Stakes Post Position, Horses, Odds (Per OddsShark)
1. Twisted Tom, 20-1
2. Tapwrit, 15-2
3. Gormley, 12-1
4. J Boys Echo, 16-1
5. Hollywood Handsome, 33-1
6. Lookin At Lee, 11-2
7. Irish War Cry, 3-1
8. Senior Investment, 13-2
9. Meantime, 14-1
10. Multiplier, 16-1
11. Epicharis, 7-2
12. Patch, 25-1
Irish War Cry did not run in the Preakness, but he looked good in the early stages of the Kentucky Derby before he faded badly. Trainer Graham Motion said Irish War Cry has looked good in training in recent weeks, and that's why decided to run in the Belmont after the poor finish in the Derby.
"He's had a good couple of weeks," Motion said, per BelmontStakes.com. "I can honestly say this was not my original plan. After the Derby, when he ran so disappointingly, I wanted to go home and just forget about the Triple Crown, which is what the Derby does to you when you don't run well.
"He breezed well last weekend [six furlongs in 1:14 on June 3], and I felt he needed to be here."
Japanese import Epicharis ran five furlongs in 1:06 Tuesday, which was his last workout before the race. Trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara revealed that his horse may try to stalk the leaders in the race while assessing the workout.
"He went good early," Hagiwara said through interpreters, per BelmontStakes.com. "He was good down the backstretch. I think it might be better to get some position behind some horses. He's recovered from the long flight well, better than Dubai. So, he's in good form."
Since no horse is likely to go off in the race with odds lower than Irish War Cry's current 3-1 odds, this race should present excellent opportunities for those looking for longshot exotic bets that offer huge payoffs.