Is Exaggerator Ready for the Belmont Stakes?

The Belmont Stakes is the longest leg of the Triple Crown. At 1.5 miles (12 furlongs), this is the farthest that most of these horses will ever race in their entire lives. And because these horses are only three years old, it is extremely difficult to predict the outcome of this race, especially when tired horses that have run in the first two legs of the Triple Crown go up against horses with fresh legs, which is exactly what we are seeing happening with the 2016 Belmont Stakes.

Exaggerator, the Preakness Stakes champ and the Kentucky Derby runner-up, has shown both great speed and endurance. If he were fresh, there’d be no question that he would be the winner here. However, with two mammoth races under him in the last five weeks, he’s likely to be the most tired of any horse in the field. With less than 24 hours before the race, and currently receiving just even odds, it’s hard to see Exaggerator as being a good bet. In a 13 horse field, we’d really like to see him getting at least 2-1 odds before we place a bet on him.

Being at post number 11 isn’t a benefit for Exaggerator, either. He’s not going to be too far outside, but in a long race, that extra distance to the first turn is going to take its toll.

Long story short, we think Exaggerator is the best horse in the field, but maybe not just yet. There’s no way that his training team would enter him in this race if they didn’t feel he was ready, especially with jockey Kent Desormeaux’s health being questionable, but a mile into the race will be too late to make any changes to his entry status. If you’re going to bet on Exaggerator at TwinSpires or another site, keep these things in mind.