2015 Belmont Stakes Contenders

As the final leg of horse racing’s ‘Triple Crown’ the 2015 Belmont Stakes is technically open to any of the 400 or so three year old horses that ‘declared’ for the series at the beginning of the year.  Realistically, the potential entry list is much smaller and usually includes horses that ran well in the Kentucky Derby and/or the Preakness with a few other promising three year olds that skipped the first two Triple Crown races for whatever reason.  In most years there are a few ‘newcomers’ in the field that weren’t ready for the Triple Crown trail and it’s unwise to dismiss them simply due to a lack of ‘name value’.

For an updated list of 2015 Belmont Stakes contenders, please stay tuned and we’ll update the site as they get released.

ENDURANCE AND STAMINA ARE ESSENTIAL

The 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes has a field limit of 16 horses and is open to three year old colts, fillies and geldings.  The most important consideration a horseman has before entering one of his animals in the field is his endurance and stamina.  At age three, the overwhelming majority of horses have never competed at a mile and a half.  A horseman must assess a horse’s pedigree—the thinking is that if a horse’s sire had an ability to compete at long distances so will his offspring—and evaluate how he trains at longer distance.  For that reason many ‘pure speed’ horses skip the Belmont entirely and look for other lucrative challenges at shorter distances where they can set the pace and win.

KENTUCKY DERBY VETERANS IN THE FIELD

Barring injury, the Kentucky Derby winner of the Kentucky Derby almost always goes on to start in the Preakness in hopes of competing for horse racing’s elusive ‘Triple Crown’.  What happens in the Preakness usually determines whether or not they’ll continue to the Belmont.  Obviously if a horse wins the Kentucky Derby and Preakness they’ll go to Belmont hoping to win the Triple Crown.   If the Derby winner doesn’t emerge victorious from the Preakness his connections have a number of options—too many, in fact, to even generalize about. Typically other horses that performed well in the Kentucky Derby will find their way into the Belmont field.  Some horsemen will skip the Preakness due to the short 2 week turnaround after the Kentucky Derby while others may think that their horse will perform better at the longer distance and slower pace of the Belmont Stakes.

THE REST OF THE FIELD

The rest of the field will be comprised of horses that didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby for whatever reason.  Under the new qualification system for the Kentucky Derby there’s quite a few good three year old prospects that weren’t able to accumulate enough points to make the race.  Some of these horses could make the start in the Preakness while others might be ‘held out’ until the Belmont.  Other entries could be horses that have started to blossom off the Triple Crown trail as well as those who have shown some acumen for longer distances.   Finally, there may be some horses with extensive experience on the Belmont track that might also make the start.  It’s worth paying attention to these horses because they may be underbet due to less name recognition and won’t have the fatigue issues of many of their counterparts.

THE FINAL LEG OF THE TRIPLE CROWN

Once the field is assembled you can expect an exciting, competitive race.  If a horse manages to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness—and only 21 horses have won both races—there will be an electric atmosphere at Belmont Stakes.  With only 11 Triple Crown winners in the history of the sport and none since Affirmed in 1978 the anticipation would be high at the prospect of a horse joining such an elite group.