The buzz had already begun. Nyquist comfortably won the Kentucky Derby, keeping his record untarnished, a big 0 filling the loss column. His impressive credentials were stronger than American Pharoah’s last year. Everyone had started to ask the question – could we back to back triple crown winners just a year after Pharoah had broken the 37 year drought?
It wouldn’t be unheard of. In fact, Seattle Slew and Affirmed went back to back in 1977 and 1978, the last two to take the crown before American Pharoah.
And for a minute there was hope. Nyquist got out to the front, but the red hot pace was too hard to sustain around the sloppy track at Pimlico and Exaggerator ruined the day for everyone but his connections.
These 5 weeks are the heart of horse racing. These races feature an old sport that has lost its footing in mainstream culture. For the sport of kings, this is the time to shine. And that’s why despite the fact that there is not a Triple Crown on the line, you should still tune in to the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes.
For starters, it’s a true test of determination for these majestic creatures. It’s a mile and half which is a grind compared to the one and a quarter for the Derby and the one and 3/16 miles for the Preakness. Once they round the far turn, the horses still have a half mile to go – a seemingly endless distance that has ruined the dreams of many.
Also, some of the most famous races have occurred here. Remember Secretariat? He beat his opponent by 31 lengths (!) in 1973, cementing his place in history.
Oh yeah and he not only set the Belmont Stakes record – he also holds the track’s fastest fractions.
But taking a look at this year’s group of horses – there are enough story lines there to convince you to tune in.
Can Exaggerator become the 19th horse to take home both the Preakness and the Belmont? He’d be the first since Afleet Alex in 2005. Will the off the track problems for his jockey Kent Desormeaux cause issues on the track?
If someone is going to upset Exaggerator who might it be? This field is relatively stacked, with a few horses who you might have seen in Derby and a few newcomers.
Governor Malibu takes the 1 post and his connections have provided an upset here before. Trainer Christophe Clement and jockey Joel Rosario road Tonalist to victory and took down California Chrome’s shot at the Triple Crown just two years ago.
Trainer Todd Pletcher who’s taken the Belmont before and is one of the most successful trainers out there, has two shots at the race with Destin (2) and Stradivari (5).
Cherry Wine finished second in the Preskness – could he take the next step and finish it out here?
The long distance helps closers like suddenbreakingnews because often times the pace tires out those at the front of the pack.
And even if all of these horse storylines and history aren’t for you, there’s one more reason you should take a look at the Belmont – you could bet on the race and win some money. Exaggerator is the heavy morning line favorite with odds of 9-5. If he doesn’t win, every other horse has decent odds. If he finishes off the board – forget it you could have a pretty priced exacta, trifecta, etc.
There’s no American Pharoah this year.
There’s no 37 year drought begging for someone to break it. The hype won’t be the same, but you know what – tune in anyways. Besides, the race itself will be over in less than 3 minutes.
Ps. If you need help getting excited for the race, here’s American Pharoah killing it last year because it still gives me chills.