5 Horses To Look Out For During Belmont Stakes
It has been a thrilling Triple Crown series in the United States this season, but it will finally come to a close with the final leg of the series at Belmont Park in June.
The Belmont Stakes will be the final opportunity for three-year-olds to claim a leg of the Triple Crown, while one of the horses involved will be looking for a remarkable second success. But, which five horses should fans look out for in the Belmont Stakes in June?
It would be hard to start anywhere else except for the horse that defied expectations to win the Preakness Stakes in the middle of May.
All the talk in the build-up to the race centered around the Bob Baffert controversy, as officials at the track allowed the Hall of Famer to enter two of his horses. Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit had failed a drug test after winning the first Triple Crown race, but was still able to run.
However, the Preakness produced the feel-good story that racing needed at the end of a tough week, as Michael McCarthy claimed a first Triple Crown success. It was certainly an emotional moment for him, as it was for winning owners John & Diane Fradkin.
It was immediately muted after the victory that the Belmont Stakes would be the next target, and if he takes to the track at Belmont as he did at Pimlico, then there is no denying he is a serious contender.
Check out a complete list of contenders here: https://www.twinspires.com/belmont-stakes/contenders
Brad Cox looks set to send Essential Quality to Belmont Park for the final leg of the Triple Crown. The three-year-old had been considered the horse to beat in the Kentucky Derby, as he went into the race with a perfect record, which included victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Blue Grass Stakes.
However, he came undone at Churchill Downs, as he could only respond to finish fourth. It’s fair to say that he had a bit of bad luck in the way that the race started, as he was bumped on two occasions as he left the stalls.
However, his position on the side never looked to be ideal, and it turned out that he just didn’t have the pace to lay down a serious challenge for the front three. Still, some confidence would have been taken from the fact that he finished just a length and a quarter behind Medina Spirit, despite everything that could have gone wrong happened. His return has already seen him shoot to the top of the market, and it will be compelling to see what the response will be after missing the Preakness Stakes.
Hot Rod Charlie
Another horse that opted to miss the Preakness Stakes was Hot Rod Charlie for trainer Doug O’Neill. The three-year-old finally got the better of Essential Quality in the Kentucky Derby, but was still beaten by Medina Spirit and Mandaloun. He eventually finished a length behind the winner, which was a bigger distance than the losing margin that he suffered against the same horse in the Robert B Lewis Stakes at the end of January.
There is no denying that this three-year-old is more than capable of winning a Triple Crown race, as he has performed well in a host of Graded contests throughout his career to this point.
He came up short against Essential Quality in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, as well as the defeats to Medina Spirit. However, he is a Grade 2 winner this season, as he won the Louisiana Derby by two lengths from heavily fancied Midnight Bourbon, who ran well in the Preakness Stakes.
Mandaloun also finished further back in the field in the Louisiana Derby, which is further evidence that Hot Rod Charlie could progress further this season.
Rock Your World
Rock Your World could be one of the most interesting contenders this weekend, as it potentially comes at a crossroads for connections, as they will likely decide on whether the three-year-old remains on dirt or reverts back to the turf at some point soon.
After early success on the turf, connections decided to travel down the Kentucky Derby route, and he found immediate success. Rock Your World’s form heading into the opening Triple Crown was very strong, as he had won the Santa Anita Derby just a month earlier. On that occasion, he managed to claim a four and a half-length victory over Medina Spirit in a Grade 1.
Things didn’t go right for the John Sadler-trained horse at Churchill Downs, as he never looked comfortable from the start of the race. He dropped to the back of the field in the early exchanges, which left him far too much to do as the race reached its closing stages.
Once again, he was bumped when he left the stalls, and that could have played a role. However, there will likely be a response from the horse, and he could be an outstanding chance if at his best.
Rebel’s Romance could be one of the horses involved at a bigger price that could be well worth a bet in the Belmont Stakes. The three-year-old has settled in well at Belmont after being shipped over from the Middle East.
The Charlie Appleby-trained horse could be set for a big showing if he can back up the form that he has shown at Meydan this term. His most recent success came in the UAE Derby, as he won the Group 2 by a commanding five and a half lengths from Panadol.
He traveled extremely strongly down the final stretch of that contest at Meydan, and if in the same form, could be one that is criminally underrated for the Belmont Stakes in June.
His three runs this year have come in the UAE, which came after a perfect 2-0 record in the United Kingdom on the all-weather. Rebel’s Romance will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Gallant Man, Cavan, and Go And Go, who are all previous Irish-bred winners of the Belmont Stakes.