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Belmont Stakes Handicapping

Justify has answered all of the questions after five career starts, and the 2018 Belmont Stakes figures to be his toughest test to date. Can he complete an improbable Triple Crown sweep, or will he be another in a long line of Belmont Park close calls and near misses?

BELMONT STAKES 2018 FIELD (in post position order, with comments)

Belmont Park Race 11 (6-9-18) - Post Time - 6:46pm ET

#1 - Justify (4-5) - The unbeaten Triple Crown hopeful owns descending numbers and might be over the top. Jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert know how to win the Belmont Stakes. His best chance is to control proceedings throughout, just like American Pharoah did in 2015.

#2 - Free Drop Billy (30-1) - Son of 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags is firing bullets for this and might show more speed than expected.

#3 - Bravazo (8-1) - Preakness runner-up is rounding back into form and is capable of turning the tables on Justify. His trainer D. Wayne Lukas has saddled four Belmont Stakes winners. 

 #4 - Hofburg (9-2) - Florida Derby runner-up found trouble in the 20-horse Derby stampede. He is lightly raced and appears to be sitting on a top effort.  He has the best long distance pedigree, and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and trainer Bill Mott have both won the Belmont Stakes before.

#5 - Restoring Hope (30-1) - Wood Memorial show finisher disliked the sloppy track in the Pat Day Mile. He is the other Baffert runner. 

#6 - Gronkowski (12-1) - Got sick and missed the Kentucky Derby, and his new trainer Chad Brown chose this ambitious spot for his US bow. He is training well, and jockey Jose Ortiz guided home Tapwrit in the 2017 Belmont Stakes. 

#7  - Tenfold (12-1) - Preakness show finisher is lightly raced and on the upswing. He tries to give trainer Steve Asmussen his second Belmont Stakes winner (saddled 2016 Belmont hero Creator).

tenfold belmont stakes horse racing handicapping 
#8 - Vino Rosso (8-1) - Wood Memorial winner raced wide from post 18 in the Kentucky Derby, and the wet track did not help either. He can bounce back for John Velazquez (2 Belmont wins) and Todd Pletcher (3 Belmont Stakes wins).

#9 - Noble Indy (30-1) - He is the second entrant for Pletcher. He failed to show his customary early speed from post 19 in the Kentucky Derby. He was all over the pace in his game G2 LA Derby win, and he should be close up from the outset under Javier Castellano.

noble indy belmont stakes horse racing handicapping 
#10 - Blended Citizen (15-1) - G3 Peter Pan winner is the only entrant with Belmont Park experience, and two of his wins were at 9f. He he seems to be improving at the right time and will try to get involved late.    
 

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