The $1.5 million dollar Belmont Stakes drew a field of eight 3-year-olds who will compete on Saturday in the 1 1/2-mile Test of the Champion, the final leg of the 2022 Triple Crown.
Here is a look at the field for this year’s race with the official Belmont Park Morning Line odds. The final leg of this year’s Triple Crown is slated as race 11 on a card of 13 with a scheduled Post Time of 6:45.
1. WE THE PEOPLE [ML 2-1] Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset. Jockey: Flavien Prat. Won his first two races at Oaklawn Park, which propelled him onto the Derby trail in the Arkansas Derby (G1) where he was a disappointing 7th at odds of 2-1. Trainer Brisset, who learned his craft in New York working for Bill Mott, Won the Peter Pan (G3) where WE THE PEOPLE raced on the lead on a wet track. There is a slight chance of rain on Saturday.
2. SKIPPINGLONGSTOCKING [ML 20-1] Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr. Jockey: Manny Franco. He moved from a 3rd in the Wood Memorial (G2) to the Preakness, where he was 5th. Both of his Victories were at Gulfstream Park, which is the home base for trainer Joseph. In the Wood, he finished behind MO DONEGAL and EARLY VOTING. He needs a big move forward to compete in the Belmont.
3. NEST [ML 8-1] Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Jockey: Jose Ortiz. Only two fillies have ever Won the Belmont Stakes, and the most recent, RAGS TO RICHES in 2007, was trained by Pletcher. Last seen, NEST was 2nd in the Kentucky Oaks after a Victory in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland. NEST, seemingly, is bred to handle the Belmont distance. With CURLIN as her sire and an A. P. INDY dam. She will be running at the end of the race when others will be tiring.
4. RICH STRIKE [ML 7-2] Trainer: Eric Reed. Jockey: Sonny Leon. Questions finally will be answered about the long-shot Winner of the Kentucky Derby. RICH STRIKE got the second Win of his career when the last-minute entry weaved his way through the field to find Derby glory. Many handicappers believe his upset Win was because of a perfect pace-aided trip, but trainer Reed had the Belmont Stakes as a goal even before he Won the Run For The Roses. Skipping the Preakness should help. He will need to stay closer to the pace than in the Derby. Jockey Leon will be riding on the 1 1/2-mile oval for the first time.
5. CREATIVE MINISTER [ML 6-1] Trainer: Kenneth McPeek. Jockey: Brian Hernandez, Jr. CREATIVE MINISTER has accomplished a lot in his short racing career, which began in March. He broke his Maiden in April and then ran in races that followed the Triple Crown schedule. He Won an Allowance on the Kentucky Derby undercard, was 3rd in the Preakness and now moves to the Test of the Champion. The big question for the Minister will be, can he continue to move forward or will five races in three months catch up to him? Trainer McPeek Won the Belmont in 2002 with long shot SARAVA.
6. MO DONEGAL [ML 5-2] Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. He made it to the Kentucky Derby with a pair of Wins at Aqueduct in the Remsen (G2) as a 2-year-old and the Wood Memorial, where he beat the eventual Preakness Winner EARLY VOTING. In the Derby, MO DONEGAL ran 5th, which his critics felt was a disappointing finish. He will get to run out of his own stall in the Belmont and is likely to be much closer to the pace than in the Derby. Hall of Fame trainer Pletcher has three Belmont Stakes Wins to his credit, the most recent being TAPWRIT in 2017.
7. GOLDEN GLIDER [ML 20-1] Trainer: Mark Casse. Jockey: Dylan Davis. He Won the first two races of his career last year in his debut at Woodbine, which is a stronghold for trainer Casse, and then in a Tampa Bay Downs Allowance. Three starts on the Derby trail resulted in a pair of 4ths and a 5th. He became a contender for the Belmont when he was 2nd in the Peter Pan (G3), which is the local prep for the 12-furlong Test of the Champion. Hall of Famer Casse Won the Belmont in 2019 with SIR WINSTON.
8. BARBER ROAD [ML 10-1] Trainer: John Ortiz. Jockey: Joel Rosario. He has put together an impressive record with only two finishes outside of the top three – one in his racing debut and most recently when 6th in the Kentucky Derby (G1). His last four starts were in Graded Stakes, and three of those were in Derby prep races at Oaklawn Park. Blinkers will come off for the first time since he started his career, and Rosario gets the mount. He should be able to handle the Belmont Stakes distance and could get another noteworthy finish.
SUMMARY: When the 2-1 Morning Line favorite WE THE PEOPLE drew the inside post position, any doubt about his racing strategy disappeared. He’ll go to the front as he did when he Won the Peter Pan by more than 10 lengths.
The rest of the field are late runners who would have to risk their chance for success if they decide to challenge WE THE PEOPLE early in the race, and while he might Win, the prospect of betting him as a chalky Post Time favorite is not an attractive play for the Daily Racing Blog.
There are other more Value driven Win contenders such as RICH STRIKE, CREATIVE MINISTER, and it’s worth noting that two-time Belmont Stakes Winning jockey Joel Rosario is aboard BARBER ROAD for the first time.
That said, we will not leave MO DONEGAL or WE THE PEOPLE off of our multiple-race wagers.
Best of luck no matter how you play it.