Belmont Stakes Horses 2015

The August Belmont Trophy
The August Belmont Trophy | Source

Let me just start with this - I hope American Pharaoh wins. I really do. I don't usually look to the favorites, but after 37 years, it would be thrilling to finally have a Triple Crown winner. Of the three Triple Crown races, the Belmont is the most grueling. It is the longest of the three races at 1.5 miles. And after two previous races held close together, the Belmont has proved to be the undoing of many Triple Crown hopefuls. So which of the nine contenders will win? History has shown us that anything is possible in this race.

American Pharoah

Winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, American Pharoah is the obvious favorite to win the Belmont Stakes. Can he do it? He's had two hard races in the last five weeks. American Pharoah is the grandson of Empire Maker, winner of the 2003 Belmont Stakes who ended Funnycide's Triple Crown bid. This colt was 2014's Two Year Old of the Year for his two strong wins in stakes races, and aside from his loss in his debut, he is undefeated. However, he is also only one of two contenders to run in all three races. The other contenders, except Tale of Verve, skipped the Preakness so come into the Belmont off a five week rest. Regardless of this rest, American Pharoah tends to win his races handily, all but the Kentucky Derby by three or more lengths. And he has already beaten all of his competitors. The deciding factor will be how fatigued he is.

American Pharoah's Preakness Stakes Win

Frosted

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I have to admit, I'm a sucker for grays. My own horse was a spirited gray Thoroughbred who won a lot in the jumper ring. I have to root for the gray, and if a Triple Crown weren't on the line, I would in this race. Frosted is the current 5-1 second favorite and is considered by many the best contender to win the 2015 Belmont. He skipped the Preakness and has had some good workouts since the Derby. He's also been in New York for a month so he should be settled in to the track and a routine. He has good breeder, a son of Pulpit and a grandson of Deputy Minister and AP Indy. However, he only has two wins in eight starts, his strongest win in the Wood Memorial a month before the Kentucky Derby.

Frosted's Wood Memorial Win

Materiality

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Three of the nine Belmont entries come from trainer Todd Pletcher's stable. Materiality is one of them. The Kentucky Derby was this colt's first loss of his career though it should be noted he didn't race as a two year old. He has started four times with three wins and the 6th place finish in the Derby. That being said, the Derby was the longest of his races. The Belmont at a full quarter mile longer than the Derby may prove too long for Materiality. On the other hand, his best Beyers is an impressive 110 in the Florida Derby on March 28 where he held off Upstart. Another tick in Materiality's favor - his sire is Afleet Alex, winner of the 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes. With such a short career, its difficult to tell whether he carries his sire's stamina for a Belmont win. His current odds are 15-2.

Materiality's Florida Derby Win

Mubtaahij

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Of the Belmont Stakes entries, Mubtaahij is probably the best bred for the 1.5 mile distance. Despite his 8th place finish in the Kentucky Derby, he has breezed well in New York and has posted four wins in eight starts, including an impressive win in the UAE Derby. Like the rest of the field, he has not raced at 1.5 miles and many of the others the Kentucky Derby was his longest race to date. Another factor in his performance in the Derby - he had a long way to travel, coming from Dubai. As he's been here for many weeks now, perhaps he's acclimated to our Eastern time. His odds at the moment are 14-1.

Mubtaahij's UAE Derby Win

Carpe Diem

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Coming into the Kentucky Derby, Carpe Diem had a lovely record - 4 wins and a 2nd in 5 starts, including a win in the Blue Grass and the 2nd in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Then he finished 10th in the Derby. The second of Todd Pletcher's entries, Carpe Diem shows impressive breeding on both sides of his pedigree as a son of Giant's Causeway and grandson of both Storm Cat and Unbridled's Song. His odds right now are 16-1, likely a reflection of his potential from his pedigree and of his slow performances - his best Beyers is 98. It isn't likely he'll be a factor in the longer distance of the Belmont Stakes.

Carpe Diem's Blue Grass Stakes Win

Tale of Verve

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If you want a long shot, perhaps Tale of Verve is your horse. Despite not breaking his maiden until late April, he came back three weeks and posted an impressive second place - though 7 lengths back - in the Preakness Stakes. Is this colt finding his running groove? Like American Pharoah, he's had a busy few weeks behind him and won't be as fresh as the rest of the field.

Other Contenders

The rest of the field is made up of longshots including:

Todd Pletcher's third entry, Madefromlucky, with odds of 22-1. His only stakes win came in the Peter Pan the week after the Kentucky Derby.

Keen Ice with current odds of 25-1. This colt has not won a race in five starts. His best finishes were a pair of thirds in the Risen Star and the Remsen.

The longest shot in the field at 50-1 is Frammento. He has not won a race since breaking his maiden last October and has been beaten easily in his previous three starts, an 11th place finish in the Kentucky Derby, a 4th in the Blue Grass, and a 3rd in the Fountain of Youth.


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