For the first time in five tries, Exaggerator finally vanquished rival Nyquist to hand the Kentucky Derby winner the initial loss of his career in the Preakness Stakes. Together with Nyquist’s trainers deciding to keep the horse from this Belmont, Exaggerator will go into the final Triple Crown race as the favorite to win.
Exaggerator is going off at +125 to win the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, N.Y., in sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com. As a closer which is accustomed to conserving energy until the close of the race to make a late kick, Exaggerator’s racing style needs to match up well with the daunting 1.5-mile length of the Belmont Stakes.
Early reports indicate that there could be rain as well, which might also work to Exaggerator’s favor as the horse has run three of his best career races, including his win at the Preakness, on wet or sloppy tracks.
A pair of Todd Pletcher horses will be expected to be contenders in the Belmont Stakes as Stradivari (+700 to triumph ) and Destin (+900) will attempt to hunt down the preferred.
Stradivari was a favorite upset choice in the Preakness, but ended up finishing fourth in that race. Destin ended in sixth place in the Kentucky Derby, but that has been on the heels of a rough trip that included multiple bumps from a crowded area. Using a cleaner excursion on Saturday, Destin could see a much better result.
The principal issue for Exaggerator heading into the Belmont Stakes is if the betting favorite can handle the excess distance. If the Preakness winner fades down the stretch, two strong closers that may hunt down him are Suddenbreakingnews (+700) and Cherry Wine (+800).
Suddenbreakingnews had a strong late kick at the Kentucky Derby to make a fifth-place complete, and Cherry Wine came in the rear of the bunch to pass Nyquist for second place in the Preakness Stakes. With extra track to work together, these horses may figure into the exotic bets if not pull off an outright mad.
Rounding out the Belmont Stakes field are Brody’s Cause (+1400), Governor Malibu (+1400), Lani (+1600), Creator (+1600), Gettysburg (+4000), Hunting the Spirit (+4000), Forever d’Oro (+4000), and Trojan Nation (+4000).
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