Belmont Stakes field speculation: A look into the horses in contention

With three weeks between races, there is likely to be a lot more conversation than commitments over the next several days...

With Rombauer's thrilling victory in the Preakness Stakes, there will be no run for the Triple Crown at next month's Belmont Stakes, but the mile-and-a-half race could provide some fireworks of its own.

A number of quality racehorses who were held out of the first two jewels in horse racing's most popular series, as well as some Kentucky Derby entries who skipped the Preakness, are likely to be in the field on June 5.

With three weeks between races, there is likely to be a lot more conversation than commitments over the next several days.

It won't, however, stop speculation from flying around horse racing circles, including here, about the makeup of the field.

Horses that ran in the Derby but were not entered in the Preakness will have a break of five weeks between starts - a normal gap for three-year-olds and the kind of rhythm they had in the prep series qualifying races.

Weyburn, the winner of the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in New York at 42/1 odds, was pointed to the Belmont shortly after his fourth-place finish in the Wood Memorial, despite his connections paying a late nomination fee for the Kentucky Derby following the Gotham win.

The Wood Memorial winner at 72/1 odds, Bourbonic, finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby, so it will remain to be seen if his handlers feel as if he can be competitive in the Belmont.

Trainer Brad Cox prospects

Trainer Brad Cox had a pair of entries finish in the top four at Churchill Downs and had another one that could have run in the first two races but was left out of both of them.

Mandaloun, who has a good chance of becoming the Derby winner, depending on the outcome of the Medina Spirit betametasone issue, and Essential Quality, the favourite in the Kentucky Derby, could reemerge as top betting choices in the Belmont.

Trainer Brad Cox at the Longines Kentucky Oaks race in 2020
Trainer Brad Cox at the Longines Kentucky Oaks race in 2020

Caddo River, the third Cox hopeful, could also end up in the field, which could become fairly sizable because of the depth and balance of this year's group of three-year-olds.

Third-place Derby finisher Hot Rod Charlie could also make an appearance at the Belmont Stakes, along with Known Agenda and Highly Motivated.

Bob Baffert's choices

Bob Baffert usually takes his time announcing whether his horses will enter a race, and that may be even longer than usual given the extenuating circumstances surrounding Medina Spirit.

In the Preakness, Baffert's Concert Tour never really got going, and eventually, either tired or seasoned jockey Mike Smith decided not to push him on his way to a ninth-place finish.

The Preakness winner

As for Rombauer, trainer Michael McCarthy indicated after the Preakness that the staying power of his horse might make him a good candidate to run at the longer distance of the Belmont.

There is a good chance that we will see at least one horse with a chance to win two of the three Triple Crown races.