Classic Empire won’t run in the 2017 Belmont Stakes. Because Classic Empire is out, Irish War Cry inherits the favorites mantle. It’s not always good to be the Belmont favorite. In fact, it can be a downright bad thing.
2017 Belmont Stakes Morning Line Odds
|Irish War Cry||7||3-1|
|Lookin at Lee||6||9-2|
|J Boys Echo||4||15-1|
Is Irish War Cry the horse to win on June 10? Who do I like to place and finish third? Keep reading for my win, place, and show picks!
2017 Belmont Stakes Win-Place-Show Picks
What: 2017 Belmont Stakes
When: June 10, 2017
Post Time: 6:48 PM ET
Where: Elmont, New York
Track: Belmont Park
Stream: NBC Sports Live
2017 Belmont Stakes Win Pick: Irish War Cry 7/2
The Graham Motion trainee can do so many things from post position 7. He can get right to the rail and wait for the other frontrunners. He can take the lead and try to go for it. Or, he can take back and get into a stalking position before the first turn.
Jockey Rajiv Maragh has a lot more choices breaking from post position 7 than he had breaking from post position 17 in the Kentucky Derby. Irish War Cry has no excuses this time. He’s had enough rest after the Derby. His sire is the great Curlin, who lost the Belmont Stakes by a nose. His main rival, Classic Empire, is out.
If he’s at his best, Irish War Cry will win the Belmont Stakes.
2017 Belmont Stakes Place Pick: Epicharis 4/1
I think his Japanese connections were smart by holding him out of the Kentucky Derby. Epicharis is no ordinary horse from Japan. He’s only raced on dirt, meaning that he won’t have a problem with the surface. Not only that, but his ability to grab the lead or stay close gives his jockey, Christophe Lemarie, plenty of options in this race.
I think Lemaire puts Epicharis right on Meantime’s flank before the first turn. If that happens, Maragh aboard Irish War Cry must decide to engage or not.
2017 Belmont Stakes Show Pick: Meantime 15/1
What happens if both Maragh and Lemaire lay off the pace? Mike Smith, Arrogate’s regular rider, could slow things down on the front end. No matter what, Smith’s going to the lead with Meantime. That puts the other two jockeys, Maragh and Lemaire, in a tough position. Do they go after Smith and Meantime? Or, do they lay off and hope Smith doesn’t muscle Meantime to the wire first?
Meantime could pull off the upset. Even if he doesn’t, he’s a great horse to pick to finish third. There’s not as much speed in this race as there was before Classic Empire scratched. Horses like Irish War Cry, Epicharis, and Meantime have the advantage.