- The 2022 Belmont Stakes will be held on June 11, 2022 at New York’s Belmont Park.
- There is currently a projected field of 10 for this year’s Belmont. A maximum of 16 horses can be entered.
- Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting will not enter the Belmont as his connections are targeting the Travers Stakes on August 27 at Saratoga.
One thing is certain about the field for the June 11, 2022 Belmont Stakes. It won’t be oversubscribed. The race has a limit of 16 horses in the field and in the previous 153 runnings of the Belmont Stakes they’ve never hit the maximum field size. The 154th running of the Belmont Stakes will be unique in other ways. Since Preakness winner Early Voting is passing on the Belmont it’ll be the first time since 1954 that the Kentucky Derby winner skipped the Preakness and the Preakness winner skipped the Belmont. The Daily Racing Form recounts the situation that took place in ’54:
In 1954, Determine won the Derby, then returned to California, missing both the Preakness and the Belmont. Hasty Road won the Preakness after finishing third to Determine in the Derby, but then Hasty Road was taken off the Triple Crown trail, too. That left the Belmont to High Gun, who had not competed in the Derby nor the Preakness, but more than made up for it the second half of the year, as he went on to be named the champion 3-year-old male of 1954.
Interestingly, in 1954 the Preakness was run three weeks after the Kentucky Derby instead of the usual two. More unusual circumstances–Rich Strike was the first Kentucky Derby winner since Gato Del Sol (1982) who was a ‘healthy scratch’ from the Preakness. There is a bit of an ‘asterisk’ since the disqualification of Medina Spirit and subsequent installation of Mandaloun as Kentucky Derby champion means that he skipped both the Preakness and the Belmont. Of course, he wasn’t the Kentucky Derby champion at the time so that doesn’t count.
Depending on how you count, the projected field for the 2022 Belmont Stakes is somewhere between 6 and 10. The Paulick Report counts six: Rich Strike, Creative Minister, Mo Donegal, Barber Road, We The People and Golden Glider. There’s also four more horses that are being considered for the Belmont which is how the Daily Racing Form comes up with 10: Ethereal Road–forever known as the horse that withdrew from the Kentucky Derby and put Rich Strike in the field as an ‘also eligible’–Nest, Skippylongstocking and Western River.
In addition to Rich Strike, Barber Road and Mo Donegal ran the Derby and skipped the Preakness in order to have five weeks rest into the Belmont. Barber Road finished sixth in the Derby and Wood Memorial winner Mo Donegal finished fifth at Churchill Downs. Mark Casse trained Golden Glider finished second in the Peter Pan. Creative Minister finished third in the Preakness and Skippylongstocking finished fifth after skipping the Kentucky Derby. Ethereal Road is off a win in the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico on Saturday–D. Wayne Lukas says he’s ‘possible’ for the Belmont. We the People won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont and is trained by Rodophle Brisset. There’s also talk that he could run Kuchar–second in the April 23 Oaklawn Stakes–which makes him a potential 11th Belmont runner.
Kentucky Oaks runner up Nest–trained by Todd Pletcher– is being considered for the Belmont. Pletcher won the race in 2007 with Rags to Riches, the last female horse to win the Belmont Stakes. You have to go back over 100 years to find the other two fillies that won the race–Tanya (1905) and Ruthless (1867). Only 23 fillies have won the Belmont while three have won the Kentucky Derby and six have won the Preakness. Western River finished fourth in the Peter Pan.
The full Belmont Stakes race card is arguably the best of all three Triple Crown races. There are nine graded stakes races on the June 11 card including the $1 million Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap, the Grade 2 $300,000 True North, the $750,000 Grade 1 Resorts World Casino Manhattan, the $500,000 Grade 1 Ogden Phipps, the $500,000 Grade 1 Acorn, the $500,000 Grade 1 The Longines Just A Game, the Grade 1 $400,000 Woody Stephens and the $400,000 Grade 1 Jaipur.