However, this year is going to be one of the most eagerly awaited Belmont's for many years.
Fate robbed us of the chalk Forte taking part in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness due to injury, and then a mandatory 14-day layoff.
We also have the horse Lord Miles who was scratched from the Kentucky Derby at the last minute after two of his barn buddies sustained injuries and trainer Saffie Joseph Jr's horses were suspended from racing temporarily.
Although some of this cast a shadow over the Derby, it has construed to give us what is likely to be one of the most competitive Belmont's in recent years and I for one am like a kid in a candy shop waiting for Saturday, June 10, to come around.
So let's take a look at some of the top contenders for the 2023 Belmont Stakes.
Belmont Stakes Horse Contenders
First off, the aforementioned triple crown favorite, Forte.
Of course, Forte missed both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes due to a minor foot injury but he is now back in training and looks like taking a spot in the Belmont field.
Many judges would not have had this horse down as a horse that wanted to stretch out to a mile and a half, and it remains to be seen if the Pletcher barn star can mix it over this distance with others that look sure to stay the distance well.
Forte breezed recently at Belmont and Pletcher was quoted as saying
“It looked super. I’m really pleased with the way he went. He was well in hand throughout and galloped out nicely,” Pletcher said. “We were playing it by ear with the weather, but the training track dried out nicely.”
It remains to be seen if he takes his spot in the field but if he does then he is the likely chalk just based on his unbeaten run this season.
Forte's barn buddy ran a shocker in the Kentucky Derby. He was once again away slowly and considering that is his run style, you would have expected much more with the fast pace setup playing to his strengths as a deep closer.
However, not much came from the son of Tapit and it was a very disappointing effort. It could possibly be put down to a lack of experience, or it may be that he is just not at this top level against more proven Grade 1 foes. We'll be keeping an eye on his morning workouts in the run-up to the Belmont.
We put this one up as our across-the-board bet for the Preakness and he ran an absolute stormer to hold off Blazing Sevens in a pulsating stretch-run duel that had the crowd going crazy at Pimlico.
They went head-to-head for two furlongs and the fact that the Baffert horse edged ahead under the wire shows that he may well have the stamina for this final leg of the Triple Crown.
He gets a three-week break and Baffert will surely be looking to win another Triple Crown race with this son of X.
ANGEL OF EMPIRE
Here we have a horse that has all the attributes of a Belmont winner. He beat the Kentucky Derby runner-up Two Phils in the Risen Star Stakes before running a fantastic race in the Kentucky Derby to finish third behind Mage and Two Phils.
He had a troubled run that day but closed strongly all the way to the wire and in another few strides would have won.
Brad Cox has nurtured this horse in his early career, running him first over sprint distances over one turn before stretching him out to a mile for subsequent runs. He clearly loved the stretch-out in the Derby and is an exciting horse, and Cox's patience could possibly be rewarded.
Belmont Stakes Probables
Of course, these are not the only horses in contention for the Belmont Stakes, and the other probables at the moment include:
Belmont Stakes – Outsiders to Watch
We have no early betting on the Belmont Stakes as of yet but we'll be posting our Belmont Stakes Odds piece the week of the race, so make sure to watch out for that.
As for current probables that could make the field and will be likely longshots, then the three on our radar are Red Route One, Sun Thunder, and Lord Miles and we'll be looking at those three in more detail in our Belmont Stakes Sleepers piece, another post to watch for during Belmont week.