BELMONT FACT BOX


Post Time: Saturday, 6:37 p.m.


TV: NBC


Distance: 1 1/2 miles


Purse: $1.5M


Last Year’s Winner: Creator


Horses


1. Twisted Tom (20-1)


Trainer: Chad Brown


Jockey: Javier Castellano


Last three starts:


4-22 Federico Tesio 1st


3-18 Private Term 1st


9-22 MSW 1st



It’s an underwhelming Belmont field, which suffers from the loss of Classic Empire, who finished 2nd in the Preakness. So that brings us to Twisted Tom, trained by Brown and with Castellano aboard, who won the Preakness with Cloud Computing. He has won his last three starts, most recently in the Federico Tesio. Brown obviously likes his chances, telling the Daily Racing Forum: “We think the horse deserves a chance. … It’s a gamble.” But do we want to gamble on this horse? No sir.


2. Tapwrit (6-1)


Trainer: Todd Pletcher


Jockey: Jose Ortiz


Last three starts:


5-6 Kentucky Derby 6th


4-8 Blue Grass Stakes 5th


3-11 Tampa Bay Derby 1st


You like to bet on pedigree? We may have the horse for you! Tapwrit’s sire is the famed Tapit, who has sired two of the last three Belmont winners in Creator and Tonalist, which tells us he should take to the distance. That we like and he is trained by Pletcher, which we like, too. Last time out, finished a disappointing 6th in the Derby after getting caught up in the traffic early and never contending. Prior to that ran 5th. So not trending up but has makeup to be the winner..


3. Gormley (8-1)


Trainer: John Shirreffs


Jockey: Victor Espinoza


Last three starts:


5-6 Kentucky Derby 9th


4-8 Santa Anita Derby 1st


3-11 San Felipe Stakes 4h


Gormley is back for his second try in the Triple Crown, after finishing an underwhelming ninth in the Run for the Roses. The good news, we suppose, is that his jockey, Victor Espinoza, completed his historic Triple Crown aboard American Pharoah in 2015. Gormley, as you remember, won the equally underwhelming Santa Anita Derby in April. The feeling among the racing cognescenti is that Gormley, trained by Shirreffs, has no chance, citing that he will not take to the distance. We tend to agree.


AP PROVIDES ACCESS TO THIS THIRD PARTY PHOTO SOLELY TO ILLUSTRATE NEWS REPORTING OR COMMENTARY ON FACTS DEPICTED IN IMAGE; MUST BE USED WITHIN 14 DAYS FROM TRANSMISSION; NO ARCHIVING; NO LICENSING; MANDATORY CREDIT

The Belmont Stakes is the third leg of the Triple Crown of horse racing.

(Coglianese Photos/AP)



4. J Boys Echo (15-1)


Trainer: Dale Romans


Jockey: Robby Albarado


Last three starts:


5-6 Kentucky Derby 15th


4-8 Blue Grass Stakes 4th


3-6 Gotham Stakes 1st


If you like celebrity connections, we got one for you. Celebrity chef and New York’s own Bobby Flay is now onboard, having picked up a 25 percent stake Wednesday. Last year, Flay bought an interest in Creator just before the colt won the Belmont. Maybe he can sprinkle some of his famous cilantro on the horse for good luck. After winning the Gotham Stakes, has been trending down in the Blue Grass (4th) and the Derby (15th after terrible start). We are warming to J Boys Echo. Take a good hard look.


5. Hollywood Handsome (30-1)


Trainer: Dallas Stewart


Jockey: Florent Geroux


Last three starts:


3-26 Allow 1st


2-19 Illinois Derby 5th


1-14 Louisiana Derby 4th


Here is your long, long, long shot making his Triple Crown debut. Not much to get excited about. But Stewart certainly is, telling horseracingnation.com: “I’m so excited to get this horse to the Belmont Stakes. We originally toyed with the idea of keeping him at Churchill prior to the Kentucky Derby (but) we eventually decided to run in the Illinois Derby and forego the Kentucky Derby.” Let’s just say we are not quite as excited about Handsome as Stewart is. Skip him.


6. Lookin At Lee (5-1)


Trainer: Steve Asmussen


Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.


Last three starts:


5-20 Preakness Stakes 4th


5-6 Kentucky Derby 2nd


4-15 Arkansas Derby 3rd


A nice second in the Derby after awesome rally from 17th and a disappointing fourth in the Preakness. Well at least for those of us who had him under Classic Empire, anyway. Will be the only horse to run all three legs of the Triple Crown. His connections, according to multiple reports, love the way he has been training. Will he be able to win a stakes race in his ninth straight start? He very well might. And let’s not forget that Asmussen won the Derby last year with Creator.


7. Irish War Cry (7-2)


Trainer: Graham Motion


Jockey: Rajiv Maragh


Last three starts:


5-6 Santa Anita Derby 10th


4-8 San Felipe Stakes 1st


3-5 Robert B. Lewis Stakes 7th


Here is your fave with the unfortunate withdrawal of Classic Empire. Says his trainer, Graham Motion, “It’s just very odd. 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.” After impressive wins in the Holy Bull and the Wood Memorial, finished 10th in the Derby and skipped the Preakness. Probably shows lack of field that he has been installed as fave. Lukewarm, but consider for exotics.

A MAY 21, 2016 FILE PHOTO

The Belmont Stakes takes place in Elmont, New York.

(Garry Jones/AP)



8. Senior Investment (12-1)


Trainer: Ken McPeek


Jockey: Channing Hill


Last three starts:


5-20 Preakness Stakes 3rd


4-15 Lexington 1st


4-1 Louisiana Derby 6th


Last two races basically ran the same race. Won the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes from way off the pace with tremendous close and was a going third in the Preakness after running much the same race: Way off the pace, waiting, making his way through the field and finishing impressively. Some think he just picks up the scraps after others do the hard work, however. Let’s not forget McPeek, who saddled Sarava, a 70-1 longshot, to the biggest upset in Belmont history in 2002. I like this horse in exotics.


9. Meantime (15-1)


Trainer: Brian Lynch


Jockey: Mike Smith


Last three starts:


5-11 Peter Pan 2nd


4-22 MSW 1st


2-18 MSWs 2nd


Lightly raced, but should be one of the fresher horses. Lynch tells DailyRacingForum.com: “I think there’s a lack of speed in the race and maybe he’s a horse that could be prominently placed, and if he was to get left alone, he acts like he could probably get over that sort of ground.” He will have Smith aboard, the veteran jock who has won six Triple Crown races, including the Belmont in 2010 and 2013, so Meantime has that going for him, which is nice. Not nice enough to bet.


10. Multiplayer (15-1)


Trainer: Brendan Walsh


Jockey: Joel Rosario


Last three starts:


5-20 Preakness Stakes 6th


4-22 Illinois Derby 1st


1-21 MSW 3rd


Ran sixth in Preakness after very nice effort in the Illinois Derby where he came off the rail, split between horses at the final turn and outran Hedge Fund for first. Another of the lightly raced horses. Walsh likes where he is, telling NYRA: “He’s doing great. I’m delighted with him. He worked great on Saturday and he’s in really good shape, as good a shape as he can be in, so we’re really looking forward to it.” Perhaps a consideration in exotics and pools.


11. Epicharis (4-1)


Trainer: Kiyoshi Hagiwara


Jockey: Christophe Lemaire


Last three starts:


3-25 UAE Derby 2nd


2-19 Hyacinth Stakes 1st


There was a lot of mystery here and it has only deepened. According to AP: “Epicharis didn’t train on Thursday, hours after the 3-year-old dark brown colt was treated with an anti-inflammatory for lameness in his right front hoof, calling into question whether he will be fit to run.” NYRA is offering a new $1 million (110,289,555 Japanese yen) bonus if he wins as part of an effort to recruit a Japanese horse to the Belmont. Not sure if that is a good thing for the horse’s health. Scared away by his health.


12. Patch (12-1)


Trainer: Todd Pletcher


Jockey: John Velazquez


Last three starts:


5-6 Kentucky Derby 14th


4-1 Louisiana Derby 2nd


2-18 MSW 1st


Ok, we all know the story by now. Patch has just one eye. Great but finished a non-competitive 14th in the Derby. Patch has Belmont pedigree sired by 2012 winner Union Rags and out of dam by AP Indy, the 1992 winner. David Aragona of DRF says: “(Patch) fits the profile of the kind of horse that should take a step forward in this race. … This distance should be right up his alley and his new rider, John Velazquez, knows how to win this race. … He is the selection.” So there you go.

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belmont
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