Dust those May Belmont boxes out from the corner of your bedroom! Horse racing trails into June and the Stakes have never been…lower?
The Triple Crown’s oldest (1867) and longest (1.5 miles) race will stagger itself through Belmont Park in Elmont, New York this upcoming Saturday. Despite the absence of our Kentucky Derby champion (Always Dreaming), Preakness surprise winner (Cloud Computing) and our favorite frontrunner turned Mister Ed (late dropout Classic Empire), the party won’t stop until the rest of the field gallops in.
Showcases of elegance proceed and clip-ons shall be steam-pressed. Bourbon whiskey renews its guest-star status in jeweled alignment with pomegranate juice. Quilts of carnation and pine offer hardly any discomfort. No one is answering my texts so I’ll be creeping atop my North Jersey apartment building with theatre binoculars. Sounds like a prime party to me!
Of course, geldings and fillies and other learned horse terms will all be metaphorically gathered to witness who breaks free from the mounted police and apprehends the silver bowl. The Belmont Stakes features a wide-open crop mixing familiar redemption faces with newcomer ringers, and they all will have had at least three weeks to plan their outfits so ultimately there are zero excuses.
10) Hollywood Handsome (+3300)
The longest shot of the race is indeed networking the smolder all equestrians melt for, so hopefully that is enough to deter a few challengers.
9) Tapwrit (+750)
One of the widely forgotten names coming out of the layover from the Kentucky Derby, Tapwrit’s trainer Todd Pletcher still has to share attention amongst both the gorgeously speckled fifth-best odds and a more mainstream story…
8) Patch (+1200)
Keeping in mind the sad saga of Patch’s eye removal that Tobey Maguire is assuredly adapting into a screenplay, Pletcher’s career Belmont victories came in 2007 and 2013 respectively, so he still has another two years.
7) Twisted Tom (+2000)
The Belmont Stakes aspires to classically pin endurance against speed, but ol’ Tom here is more tortoise than hare; replace yellow-green jockey Javiar Castellano’s saddle with a turtle shell out of the No. 1 post position and they’ll Mario-Kart their way into the middle of the pack.
6) Lookin at Lee (+550)
Award the Derby’s runner-up with a legit participation trophy as he’s the lone stallion to expectedly complete the trifecta, though fatigue should ultimately prevail over Lee’s lack of rust.
5) Meantime (+1400)
A true dark horse with accentuating golden locks, Meantime possesses the burst to wow race-goers, but in the end this meat is too raw to be crowned.
4) Epicharis (+350)
International star-power lengthens the appeal of these Stakes, but no matter how Bill Belichick-ian this injury report proves to be, Japan’s leading mare barely misses out on placing.
3) Gormley (+1200)
Making a late yet fashionable entrance, you can see from his bangs to his chin hair how Gormley is laser-focused upon avenging a 9th-place Derby finish, and the combination of unharnessed talent and comfortable double-digit odds might just make him the wager of the weekend.
2) J Boys Echo (+1600)
J Boys Echo profiles as the optimal horse who withstands distance before a second-half surge; original jockey Robby Albarado returns from a broken leg, and the chestnut is spiced with Bobby Flay’s endorsement…what’s preventing me from taking the flyer?!
1) Irish War Cry (+300)
For the first and last time this abridged gambling season, I’m rolling with the sausage-and-gravy frontrunner. Accept this gracious kiss of death as your reward for being braver than me. I’ll be at the Yanks-Os game instead.
Mike L. // The Guide