Early 2017 Belmont Stakes Betting Preview & Picks

Posted by Kenny Bell on Thursday,June 1, 2017 10:15, EDT in

The Belmont Stakes can be one of the greatest sporting events of the year or it can be mostly meaningless. It depends if a 3-year-old thoroughbred is going for a Triple Crown. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at Belmont Park on June 10. In fact, neither the Kentucky Derby winner nor the Preakness winner is in the field. Either way, it’s still one of the important horse racing events of the year. So, let’s take a look at these early horse racing betting picks for the race.

Early 2017 Belmont Stakes Betting Preview & Picks

The Belmont field is limited to 16 starters. Besides Classic Empire, other horses expected to run are Conquest Mo Money, Japan-based Epicharis, Gormley, Irap, J Boys Echo, Lookin At Lee, Meantime, Multiple, Patch, Senior Investment, Tapwrit, True Timber and Twisted Tom. Other possibilities are Irish War Cry and Hollywood Handsome.

Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby but won’t go to New York. The horse looked spent in finishing eighth at the Preakness. Trainer Todd Pletcher said the 3-year- old colt will be pointed toward either the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 29 or the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 30.

Cloud Computing didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby but won the Preakness. He’s not in the Belmont, either, and will target later races this summer, trainer Chad Brown said. The 3-year- old son of Maclean’s Music won the Preakness in just his fourth career start, and will instead be pointed to the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga on July 29. Brown will send Cobra Farm’s Federico Tesio Stakes winner Twisted Tom to the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

The betting favorite is Classic Empire at +300. Heading into 2017, Classic Empire was tabbed as an early Kentucky Derby favorite, but finished fourth to Always Dreaming. All that Classic Empire overcame in the race showed his true talent. Classic Empire broke from post 14, moved a bit out at the start, and then was crunched by horses scrambling for the rail. Classic Empire’s streak of bad luck continued at the Preakness as Cloud Computing, a new shooter on the Triple Crown trail, nabbed him at the wire to win the middle jewel.

Classic Empire has now lost 3-of- 4 starts this year and needs the Belmont Stakes to restore his reputation after coughing up a clear lead in the Pimlico stretch. It’s fair to wonder if the third race in five weeks was catching up to him in the latter stages of the Preakness.

Epicharis is the +400 second favorite with Irish War Cry. Multiple stakes winner Epicharis, one of the top 3-year-olds in Japan earned a spot in the Kentucky Derby with a three-quarter- length victory in the Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse and a strong runner-up effort to Derby-bound Thunder Snow in the UAE Derby. The syndicate elected to bypass to Kentucky Derby for an opportunity to run in the Belmont Stakes. The Japanese-bred colt by Gold Allure, a son of the legendary 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Sunday Silence, was undefeated as a 2-year- old in his homeland.

It won’t be determined is Irish War Cry will race the Belmont until this weekend. The colt is scheduled to breeze at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., on Saturday. A solid performance in the work will earn Irish War Cry a trip to Long Island and a spot in the starting gate for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, according to trainer Graham Motion. The top two finishers in the Preakness — Cloud Computing and Classic Empire — were horses that Irish War Cry beat earlier in the year. Irish War Cry won the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 4.

2017 Belmont Stakes Betting Pick: Classic Empire

The colt has had some bad luck and the extra week off will help him.