Belmont Stakes Field Begins to Take Shape

Posted By Christopher Feery on May 26, 2020

We are less than a month away from the Belmont Stakes, which is in the unfamiliar position of kicking off horse racing’s Triple Crown. This year’s running takes place on Saturday, June 20, and the race itself will be different from previous editions.

Instead of the traditional 1 1/2-mile affair, the track has been shortened to 1 1/8 miles. As you would expect, speculation is running rampant on how the field may shake out.

A number of clues are beginning to emerge on that front, including courtesy of this post on
Horse Racing Nation.

Thanks to the condition book, parameters to run in the Belmont Stakes are explained below in the event that more than 16 horses are entered:

• The first eight starters will be given preference based on earnings in graded stakes at a mile or longer.
• The next five starters will line up according to non-restricted stakes earnings regardless of the distance. That essentially excludes state-bred company.
• The book specifically reads, however, that qualifying races under this condition offer no restrictions “other than age or sex.” Would connections of a 3-year-old female be more apt to take on the Belmont in 2020, when it measures 1 1/8 miles around one turn?
• So that accounts for 13 positions. If the race oversubscribes, the final three starters would be determined by the “Belmont Stakes Selection Committee.” That group is undefined but would assuredly be tasked with choosing the trio of horses that make the Belmont the strongest field possible.

It remains unclear exactly how large the field will be for the Belmont. For the Kentucky Derby, the traditional first leg of the Triple Crown, 20 runners is a common occurrence. As of now, the New York Racing Association has pointed to nine probable starters. Here’s a quick look at each.

Owner: Jackpot Farms
Trainer: Steven Asmussen
Earnings: $392,500
Derby Points: 11th, 50
Signature Finish: 2nd, Arkansas Derby

Owner: Several
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Earnings: $300,000
Derby Points: 4th, 100
Signature Finish: 1st, Arkansas Derby

Farmington Road
Owner: Several
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Earnings: $81,000
Derby Points: 27th, 15
Signature Finish: 4th, Arkansas Derby

Gouvernour Morris
Owner: Several
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Earnings: $186,000
Derby Points: 14th, 34
Signature Finish: 2nd, Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity

Max Player
Owner: George E. Hall
Trainer: Linda Rice
Earnings: $137,500
Derby Points: 37th, 10
Signature Finish: 1st, Withers Stakes

Owner: Wygod, Parn, and Martin
Trainer: William Mott
Earnings: $340,000
Derby Points: 7th, 70
Signature Finish: 1st, Risen Star Stakes

Owner: Several
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Earnings: $1,020,000
Derby Points: 1st, 150
Signature Finish: 1st, Arkansas Derby

Sole Volante
Owner: Several
Trainer: Patrick Biancone
Earnings: $173,510
Derby Points: 17th 30
Signature Finish: 1st, Sam F. Davis Stakes

Tiz the Law
Owner: Sackatoga Stable
Trainer: Barclay Tagg
Earnings: $902,400
Derby Points: 2nd, 122
Signature Finish: 1st, Curlin Florida Derby

The NYRA lists the following trio of horses as possible starters for the Belmont.

Owner: Godolphin, LLC
Trainer: Brendan Walsh
Earnings: $388,350
Derby Points: 9th, 60
Signature Finish: 1st, Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity

Ny Traffic
Owner: Several
Trainer: Saffie A. Joseph Jr.
Earnings: $272.820
Derby Points: 8th, 70
Signature Finish: 2nd, Louisiana Derby

Owner: Jacks or Better Farm, Inc.
Trainer: Ralph Nicks
Earnings: $284,505
Derby Points: 13th, 40
Signature Finish: 2nd, Curlin Florida Derby

That’s an even dozen potential runners for the time being, but we can expect more clarity to emerge in the coming days and weeks.

The condensed Belmont Park meet is set to begin on Wednesday, June 3rd and run for 25 racing days through Sunday, July 12. You can take a peek at the scheduled stakes races by clicking here.

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Christopher Feery

Christopher is a freelance writer located in New Jersey. His work has appeared all over the web and has covered numerous industries. In recent years, he has dedicated his focus to sports from an analysis, betting, fantasy, and general news perspective. You can follow and reach him on Twitter @cmfeery

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