This really is a bit of a silly name for this article, because if we have learned anything over the last two decades it's that any horse can win the Belmont Stakes. Horses like Sarava and Da'Tara have been total stunners that never would have found their way onto this list, and fully seven of the last 20 winners have paid 25/1 or better - compared to just three favorites over that time. Still, if we are ignoring that and just looking at the quality of this prospective field - there are now as many as 14 horses being pointed at the race - there are eight horses that stand out from the rest. These are the horses that can win the Belmont Stakes in 2017 (odds to win the Belmont are from MyBookie ):
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Classic Empire (+140): This one is a given. He's the defending two year old champion and has had strong efforts in both Triple Crown races so far - particularly the Derby, in which he got up for fourth after an absolutely brutal collision that would have effectively ended the race for most horses. He's had a bumpy spring but has shown that he has class to burn. He's bred well for this test, and trainer Mark Casse is among the very best. The price is likely to be too low, but he is a very deserving favorite and sits as the horse to beat.
Lookin at Lee (+380): Like Classic Empire, he has a second and a fourth in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. He benefitted from an absolute dream trip in the Derby but still showed up in tougher circumstances in the Preakness. He has made a habit of being competitive without being the best in most of his races so far, so I am concerned about his ability to climb the ladder to the top here. Still, with his heart and some racing luck he could easily come out on top.
Gormley (+1000): This horse won the Santa Anita Derby, and that means something lately - in the last five years alone, I'll Have Another, California Chrome and Exaggerator have all won that race and at least one Triple Crown race. This is not a one-trick pony, either. He has multiple graded victories to his credit. Now, I absolutely hated the way the Santa Anita Derby was run this year - incredibly slow and about as tactical as a toddler is - and I really didn't like his run in the Derby, either. Still, he's a better horse than he has shown, and if he runs his best he can be a factor in this group.
Epicharis (+380): This horse has four nice wins and an impressive second in five starts. He has raced in Japan and Dubai, though, so we don't know what to expect from him. He looks good, though, and having the great Sunday Silence in his bloodlines - he won the Derby, Preakness and Breeders' Cup Classic in 1989 and then went to Japan for his stud career, so we never see his offspring here - has a lot of people, including me, very excited. He'll almost certainly be overbet, but he seems like he'll be a factor.
Tapwrit (+800): Tapwrit was truly awful in the Blue Grass Stakes and truly forgettable in the Derby. He was a real star on the prep trail before that, though, with a big win in the Tampa Bay Derby. I fear that his best days may be behind him, but his sire Tapit has sired two of the last three Belmont winners, so we can't overlook him.
Twisted Tom (+2500): Chad Brown is red hot, shines in New York, and just won a Triple Crown race with a lightly-raced horse. So when he says that he really likes this colt, and that he wants to run all day, you can be sure I'm going to pay attention.
Conquest Mo Money (+1500): This colt's sire sired a Derby winner, and his damsire sired a Belmont winner. That's pretty solid blood. He gets a mulligan for his Derby effort because he had a lousy start, got a lousy ride, and never recovered from either. I look for him to be much closer to the front this time, and that could be a good place to be against this group. He needs to have the race of a lifetime, but I can't rule him out.
Irish War Cry (+900): Trainer Graham Motion has made hints as the race as neared that he might point this horse to the Belmont. I hope he does because I want another shot at him. He was my top pick in the Derby, and he just ran a lousy race, fading down the stretch when he had every chance to move forward. I've watched the replay countless times, and I can't figure out why. He's better than that, and Motion will have him ready to prove it. He's a son of Curlin, and has Northern Dancer prominent on his dam side, so there is no shortage of class here. If he runs he'll do so with some of my money on his back.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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