The end to another captivating Triple Crown series comes to a close in New York in June, as the 2022 Belmont Stakes will be completed. As is the case every year, the race will be an unmissable event for racing fans across the world, but neutrals may need reasons to tune in to watch the event.
So, what are the four biggest reasons why this year’s Belmont Stakes is a must-see moment of the racing year?
Rich Strike Returns
The big story in horse racing this calendar year has been the emergence of Eric Reed’s Rich Strike. The 81/1 shot famously won the Kentucky Derby at the start of May, despite only getting into the race 24 hours earlier following the scratching of Ethereal Road.
There was disappointment when it was announced that the three-year-old would bypass the Preakness Stakes, but connections have made that decision to freshen up the Derby winner with the Belmont Stakes in mind. Rich Strike will be a hugely followed horse wherever he goes next, and he won’t be short of fans when running at Belmont Park next month, as fans wait to see if the unlikely Derby winner will become a two-time Triple Crown winner.
You can find the detailed Belmont Stakes betting guide by TwinSpires here.
Intrigue Surrounding Returning Contenders
The field for the Belmont Stakes is yet to be finalized, but it has been widely rumored that Epicenter could be missing from the field this year. That will make the Belmont Stakes a very interesting contest, as a number of horses that may have disappointed in the Kentucky Derby look set to have a clear path.
Tim Yakteen’s pair of Messier and Taiba will both be heading to Belmont after sub-par runs at Churchill Downs, while Smile Happy will be looking to rediscover his form as a two-year-old at Belmont Park. Mo Donegal is the early favourite for the Belmont Stakes this year after running well from the rail to finish fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
What Does We The People Bring To The Party?
One of the most interesting horses set to line up in the Belmont Stakes this year is We The People for trainer Rodolphe Brisset. He is likely to be the ride of red-hot jockey Flavien Prat at Belmont Park, and there is an expectancy that this three-year-old looks to be moving in the right direction. He has won three from four starts, with his only defeat coming in the G1 Arkansas Derby back in April, where he finished back in seventh.
However, he produced a stunning display at Belmont on his return to the track in the middle of May, as he hit a speed figure of 101 when winning the G3 Peter Pan Stakes. We don’t yet know where his glass ceiling could be, but a run in the Belmont Stakes could go a long way to helping us determine how good he is.
Could A Filly Win The Belmont Stakes?
At present, superstar filly Secret Oath is set to bypass the Belmont Stakes and return to competition against the girls after her run in the Preakness. However, as anyone in racing would tell you, plans are always subject to change. Victory for the three-year-old at Pimlico could potentially open the door for a run over the extended distance at Belmont Park, and she is one that would certainly get the trip.
Secret Oath was excellent when winning the G1 Kentucky Oaks at the start of May, and success in the Preakness may see plans change for the D. Wayne Lukas-trained horse. However, fillies don’t have the best record in the race, as only three of the 23 fillies that have lined up at Belmont Park have claimed victory. The most recent female winner was Rags to Riches in 2007.