An FAQ to the 2016 Belmont Stakes
It's up to you, New York, New York....to give us one heck of a show in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Yes, there's no Triple Crown title on the line like there was last year, but the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes promises to have no limit of excitement, as the longest race of the Triple Crown commences today, with a post time of 6:32 PM EST. Here's what you need to know before the horses take the gates...
Wait....no Triple Crown winner?!?! Why bother?!?!
The Belmont Stakes still has plenty of...well stakes! First off, the winner of today's event will earn a prize of $800,000. With nothing to lose, anything can happen in today's race....well except a Triple Crown but you get the idea. Secondly, we could see something from Preakness winner Exaggerator. After a late rising effort ran out of track in Louisville, peaking in a runner up finish, he took home the Preakness in convincing fashion. Finally, you'll need something to watch before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final....so why not the race?
Why is this race so hard to win?
Prior to American Pharaoh earning the Infinity Gauntlet of horse racing last year, six horses in the new century had an opportunity to capture the prize over in Elmont, but fell short. While some have cited the conditions of the track as the culprit behind the near miss, the biggest reason we see so many horses fall out is mainly due to the distance. At 1.5 miles....12 furloughs, if you want to sound smart to your horse racing friends...this is the closest thing the sprints that are the Triple Crown races have to a marathon. The winners of this prestigious event, without a doubt, earn it.
Ok, you know why I'm here. Who should I bet on?
Currently, Exaggerator is the obvious favorite, entering today at 9-5 odds. Jockey Kent Desormeaux rode Summer Bird (who was sired by 2004 winner Birdstone) to victory, coming 3 seconds short of the all time track record time of 2:24, set by Secretariat in 1973. Others favorites include...
Suddenbreakingnews (5-1)-An appropriate name for this horse, as he suddenly became a popular bet as the weekend has progressed. Suddenbreakingnews will be ridden by jockey Mike Smith, who owns a pair of Belmont Stakes victories. The first came at age 44 in 2010, with Drosselmeyer, and the other in 2013 with Palace Malice.
Cherry Wine (8-1)-The runner up of the Preakness, Cherry Wine is trained by Dale Romans, who owns over 1,800 career victories, including a Triple Crown win in 2011, when Shackleford won the Preakness. Last year, Romans trained Keen Ice to an outstanding and shocking victory in the famed Travers Stakes at Saratoga last summer, defeating the Triple Crown honoree American Pharaoh.
Stradivari (9-1)-Coming from the famed Todd Pletcher stables, Stradivari came in fourth in the 2016 Preakness. Pletcher has two Belmont titles under his belt, and is one of the most well known names in New York racing, having captured hundreds of victories in Elmont.
Hey, where's Nyquist, the Derby Winner?
Sadly, Nyquist was diagnosed with a high white blood cell count, developing a fever the day after his 3rd place finish at Preakness. While Nyquist has remained in Maryland, his team is planning for a return later this summer, at the 139th Travers Stakes this August.
Where Can I Watch/Live Stream?
Currently, the Belmont festivities are airing on NBCSN, and will switch over to NBC at 5:30 PM EST. If you can't get to the TV, all events will be available to streak on the NBC Sports Live Extra app.
Hey, speaking of American Pharaoh, what's he up to these days?
Well....see for yourself.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490
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