The 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes is Saturday in Elmont, New York, and while the big story may be who isn’t there, we’re still hoping to have some fun.
The field took some hits recently when tough luck and hard times hit trainer Bob Baffert’s dominant Arkansas Derby-winning 3-year-olds.
On June 6, it was reported that the undefeated Charlatan would miss the Belmont and the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 because of an ankle injury that is considered minor. Charlatan, the Division One winner at Arkansas, also tested positive for a banned substance, but because this is horse racing, things are still being sorted out.
Nadal, Baffert’s impressive Division Two winner at Arkansas, retired because of an injury to his left front leg on May 28.
So what we’ll have Saturday is a 10-horse Baffert-less field with Tiz The Law (7-to-5) as the favorite in the first leg of a reshuffled Triple Crown schedule, with the Preakness Stakes bringing up the rear on Oct. 3.
Look, Tiz The Law is the horse to beat in the shortened 1 ⅛-mile race. He is the best horse, is in great position, sitting on the outside, and he should roll. But there is a reason they still run the races, so if you are looking to make a splash, there are a few other horses to consider.
Dr Post (5-to-1), trained by veteran Todd Pletcher, is coming off a win, and might have what it takes to stun the field.
Tap It To Win (4-to-1) is the rabbit and should pace the field, but will he have enough to finish?
Sole Volante (19-to-1) is primed to run and is a popular choice to be a threat if things break right.
Modernist (35-to-1) is consistent and might be worth a ticket to show or spot in some exotic wagers, along with the Steve Asmussen-trained Pneumatic (28-to-1).
In a small field, the variance is normally limited, but with the coronavirus pandemic shaking up the sport, the schedule, the length of races and overall preparation, the variables might pave the way for a long-shot win.
Still, this one looks like it’s Tiz The Law’s race.
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