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Fast facts before you pick a horse in the 2017 Belmont Stakes

When the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes goes down Saturday (6:47 p.m. ET post time, NBC), the field for the final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown will have neither the winner of the Kentucky Derby nor the Preakness Stakes winner.

Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing will not be contenders for a second jewel. Classic Empire, who finished fourth behind Always Dreaming in the Derby and second to Cloud Computing in the Preakness, had been the favorite before being scratched from the field because of a bad hoof.

That leaves Lookin at Lee, a surprise second at Churchill Downs and fourth at Pimlico, as the only horse to run in all three Triple Crown races in 2017. There are plenty of other familiar names to watch at Belmont Park, though. Here's all the information you need to know before picking a horse in the 2017 Belmont Stakes:

Post positions, morning line odds for 2017 Belmont Stakes
Post – Horse – Odds
1. Twisted Tom 20/1
2. Tapwrit 6/1
3. Gormley 8/1
4. J Boys Echo 13/1
5. Hollywood Handsome 30/1
6. Lookin at Lee 5/1
7. Irish War Cry 7/2
8. Senior Investment 13/2
9. Meantime 15/1
10. Multiplier 10/1
11. Epicharis 4/1
12. Patch 12/1
(As of June 9.)

Why is Irish War Cry the new Belmont Stakes favorite?

The Belmont Stakes is the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1 1/2 miles. Irish War Cry was a big disappointment in his first Group 1 test at the Kentucky Derby, fading to a 10th-place finish. But how he stayed with Always Dreaming up until the final two of 10 furlongs has encouraged trainer Graham Motion that his horse will be more relaxed to go the distance on Saturday.

Given he won four of his first lesser-grade races, Irish War Cry, the favorite to win the Belmont, is leaning toward more boom than bust after the pressure of the Derby experience.

Why is Epicharis the Belmont Stakes newcomer to watch?

The Japanese-trained horse hasn't run since March 25 at the UAE Derby, where he finished second. Before then, he won three consecutive races in his native country.

He's handled himself well in the jump from Group 3 to Group 2, making many in the sport believe he has a chance to make a huge leap at Belmont. Well-rested with plenty of speed, Epicharis is the biggest beneficiary of Classic Empire's absence.



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