Unlike last year, no Triple Crown is on the line but favored Exaggerator does have a shot at history when he enters the starting gate for the 148th Belmont Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
The Kentucky Derby runner-up and Preakness Stakes victor has the chance to be the first thoroughbred to secure the final two jewels of the Triple Crown after barely missing out on the first since Afleet Alex in 2005.
No one's likened or confused Exaggerator with last year's Triple Crown winner Americah Pharoah, but as the early evening post time draws closer the betting public is leaning heavily on trainer Keith Desormeaux’s contender. According to live odds and wagers from Belmont’s official site, Exaggerator’s climbed from a 9/5 morning line favorite out of the No. 11 gate to 1/1 and more than $87,401 of the $223,307 wagered has been placed on the 3-year-old Curlin colt.
The odds will shift around and and the total wagered for the $1.5 million stakes race will increase as the day wears on, but there appears to be little doubt in Exaggerator.
Bettors clearly remain confident in Exaggerator and are undeterred by the Belmont’s 1 1/2-mile track, almost a quarter-mile longer than the Preakness, as total wagers on the 12 other contenders pale in comparison.
After Exaggerator, trainer Donnie Von Hemel’s Suddenbreakingnews, coming out of the No. 4 gate, has received $33,649 worth of bets at 9/2 odds while Cherry Wine is next up at $20,851 with 8/1 odds out of gate No. 3.
That appears to be the top tier of this year’s Belmont field, with the odds suggesting two lesser tiers as no other contender currently has better than 10/1 odds, trainer Mikio Matsunaga’s Lani out of No. 10.
The betting public clearly has no confidence in any contender riding out of gates No. 6 through No. 9, likely due to the fact that Exaggerator and jockey Kent Desormeaux are expected to burst out and push them to the middle of the pack almost immediately.
The biggest longshots in the field are No. 8 Forever d’Oro at 90/1, No. 7. Seeking the Soul at 75/1, No. 9 Trojan Nation at 70/1, and No. 6 Gettysburg at 59/1.
No. 1 Governor Malibu 15/1
No. 2 Destin 14/1
No. 3 Cherry Wine 8/1
No. 4 Suddenbreakingnews 9/1
No. 5 Stradivari 11/1
No. 6 Gettysburg 59/1
No. 7 Seeking the Soul 75/1
No. 8 Forever d’Oro 90/1
No. 9 Trojan Nation 70/1
No. 10 Lani 10/1
No. 11 Exaggerator 1/1
No. 12 Brody’s Cause 22/1
No. 13 Creator 19/1
Post Time: 6:32 p.m. ET
Race Time: Assuming the 13 contenders and their jockeys make their way to the starting gate in an orderly and timely fashion, the race should start between 6:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Live Stream: NBC Live Extra