2015 Belmont Stakes Contenders

The Preakness Stakes is in the books and American Pharoah has a shot at immortality as he tries to become only the twelfth Triple Crown winner in history and the first since Affirmed in 1978. He looked impressive against a small field in the Kentucky Derby but he’ll likely face a bigger field for the mile and a half Belmont. A few horses have already declared for the Belmont with several others very likely to run:

AMERICAN PHAROAH: Won the Kentucky Derby with an impressive stretch run becoming the first horse in history to win from the #17 starting spot. Followed that up with another impressive win in the Preakness. He’s the reason that Belmont reserved seat tickets are already sold out. Bob Baffert has already been in this situation three times during his Hall of Fame career with a horse challenging for the Triple Crown in the Belmont. Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002) won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness but couldn’t win the Belmont. American Pharoah could be the best of the Baffert bunch and has a good chance to make history.

CARPE DIEM: Carpe Diem got a surprising amount of backing for the Kentucky Derby before finishing a disappointing sixth. Trainer Todd Pletcher and horse racing experts have all along speculated that he might be better at longer distances which bodes well for a strong Belmont Stakes run.

CONQUEST CURLINATE: Will be one of the ‘shooters’ for this race having not raced in either previous Triple Crown event. Trained by Mark Casse, Conquest Curlinate finished second in the Peter Pan behind Madefromlucky.

FROSTED: Finished fourth in the Derby after which trainer Kiaran McLaughlin flew him directly to New York. Not officially declared for the Belmont but very likely.

FRAMMENTO: Nick Zito’s Frammento backed into the Kentucky Derby field as an ‘also eligible’ and finished a mediocre 11th. That came on the heels of a 4th place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes and a 3rd place finish in the Holy Bull. Zito has maintained that the horse will be ‘better at longer distances’ but the reality is that he’s a maiden only winner. Mike Smith will ride.

KEEN ICE: Had to deal with a lot of traffic but ran a decent race in the Kentucky Derby. Ownership group Donnegal Racing was very pleased with his effort and has high hopes for the Belmont, likely with jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard.

MADEFROMLUCKY: Was a late scratch from the Kentucky Derby but won the Peter Pan Stakes. Tonalist parlayed a Peter Pan victory into his upset win at the Belmont last year so trainer Todd Pletcher his hoping that history repeats itself.

MATERIALITY: Finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby to end the three race winning streak to start his racing career. Unraced as a two year old, meaning that he was up against the ‘Curse of Apollo’ in the Kentucky Derby. Todd Pletcher won’t enter any of his Derby horses in the Preakness due to the brutal two week turnaround. A couple of horses from his stable including Materiality and Carpe Diem are already being pointed to the Belmont.

Mubtaahij: Finished a respectable 8th in the Kentucky Derby. Dubai shippers don’t have a great record in the Triple Crown races but Mubtaahij looks to be a cut above the usual class from the region.

TALE OF VERVE: Surprised everyone with a second place run in the Preakness but trainer Dallas Stewart had targeted the Belmont all long. No longer under the radar but could still be a challenger.