With the hopes of a Triple Crown winner vanishing in the Preakness when Always Dreaming failed to duplicate his strong performance in the Kentucky Derby, Saturday's Belmont became a horseplayer’s dream.

We have a large field with with a plethora of price horses.

CLASSIC EMPIRE was going to be the favorite, but he scratched earlier this week due to a foot abscess. That’s disappointing for horseplayers, because many of us were going to play against him. LOOKIN AT LEE is now the lone entrant who has participated in the first two legs of the big three races. I think the exhausting past five weeks catches up to him, making him a easy toss for me.

Meaning, we have fresh legs coming in, and some are going to be appealing prices.

The average $2 exacta payout for the last 10 years is $286. The $1 Trifecta, $1,217. And that’s where I’ll be putting my betting tickets today. 

Main Contenders

IRISH WAR CRY gives a solid performance every other race, so he’s due to run well after running a clunker in the Derby. Expect the colt to be involved from the bell and stay within striking range when things start to get interesting. Jockey Rajiv Maragh might decide to take the lead if no one else is interested, and see if he can run out the clock to the finish. I think he has a lot of things going for him, and trainer Graham Motion has been extremely happy with the morning works leading up.

TAPWRIT had a rough journey in the Derby but showed some fight to get up for the sixth spot when things were all said and done. Tapwrit has tactical speed to sit mid pack, and under jockey Jose Ortiz, will be doing his better running late. Trainer Todd Pletcher excels with his runners coming into the Belmont off the layoffs. This horse will be bet heavily at the window and probably lower than his M/L odds.

J BOYS ECHO didn’t fare well in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 15th after a contaminated start. Trainer Dale Romans loves his pupil and has a lot of confidence in him for the Belmont. I think he deserves another shot. Passing on the Preakness was a great idea, giving him fresh legs for the marathon distance. Big threat rolling late at a huge price.

TWISTED TOM enters with three consecutive wins and appears to keep improving each race. Might be peaking at the right time for trainer Chad Brown, who won the Preakness with jockey Javier Castellano, piloting Cloud Computing to the finish line first. The gelding will be on or near the lead, where he is most comfortable and relaxed. Brown thought the Belmont distance was better suited for him than his Preakness winner. Bombsaway at a big price if you like him.

SENIOR INVESTMENT finished third in the Preakness, but trainer Kenny McPeek said the Belmont was his true target. If ready to fire, expect a late rally on the expected honest pace scenario to swoop on. He’s going to have to keep improving to beat this field, but is a major contender for the minor awards at double digit odds.

Belmont Stakes post positions and odds

Wagering Menu

$1 Trifecta Box Irish War Cry, Tapwrit,Twisted Tom, J Boys Echo, Senior Investment $60

$3 Exacta Box Irish War Cry, Tapwrit,Twisted Tom, J Boys Echo $36

Total $96