- The 2022 Belmont Stakes will be held on June 11, 2022 at New York’s Belmont Park.
- There is currently a projected field of 11 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.
Still a couple of weeks out from the 2022 Belmont Stakes and there really isn’t any more clarity about the field than in our previous update on May 23. At that time, there were 10 potential runners and they’re all still in the list below.
Added to the list is Howling Time, trained by Dale Romans. Howling Time won a 1 1/16 mile allowance race at Churchill Downs on May 21 by an impressive five lengths and turned in a 90 Beyer in the process. Finishing second was one time Kentucky Derby contender Rattle n Roll. Rattle n Roll won the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last October and was expected to be among the cream of the 2022 crop of three year olds. Instead, he disappointed with a sixth place finish in the Fountain of Youth, a fourth place finish in the Louisiana Derby and a sixth place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes. Given his once high expectations, it’s tough to consider a second place in an allowance race with a field of five a sign of a turnaround.
Howling Time didn’t win a huge two year old event like the Breeders’ Futurity but he did open his racing career with two wins but starting with the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club last November he didn’t hit the board in his next three races. He finished fifth in the Kentucky Jockey Club, 9th in the G2 Fountain of Youth and 8th in the G3 Lexington. That was all she wrote for any hopes of a Kentucky Derby berth but a win–even against second rate competition–is at least something positive. Trainer Dale Romans kept his cards close to the vest when asked about the plan for Howling Time:
“We’re going to talk about it further over the weekend. We haven’t decided one way or another. All options are open.”
One open option is an attempt to reprise the success of Howling Time’s previous race at the same track going the same distance. That race would be the June 12 $250,000 USD G3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs over 1 1/6 miles. Last year’s running had a field of 7 meaning that the race could likely have a similar field size to Howling Time’s recent allowance win. With so many big stakes races on the Belmont card on Saturday this might be a good ‘next step’ for Howling Time and low key a way to get him a solid stakes race performance against what would likely be a small and less than formidable field.
Howling Time did run with Lasix for the first time in his May 21 win. Lasix isn’t permitted in graded stakes races meaning that he’ll be back running without it in his next race. Romans is hoping that the Lasix wasn’t the reason for his strong performance last time out:
“You never know if the Lasix may’ve had something to do with how big he ran but he’d never shown any signs of bleeding before. Hopefully it’s more a matter of him starting to mature and come around than anything else. He came out of the race in great shape.”
Some other prospective Belmont runners of note:
Rich Strike’s connections say that he’ll be leaving for New York on Tuesday after a training session at Churchill Downs on Monday.
Todd Pletcher is now leaning toward entering Kentucky Oaks runner up Nest after a nice display of stamina in a training session with stablemate Mo Donegal. Unless there’s some major shake up in the entry board you can expect Mo Donegal to be the morning line favorite for the Belmont.
The likely second choice should be We The People, a Rodolphe Brisset trained horse that has been somewhat under the radar. We The People won his first two races of the year before laying a massive egg in the April 2 Arkansas Derby where he finished 7th. He bounced back in his next race, winning the G3 Peter Pan at Belmont ahead of another ‘probable’, Golden Glider. So was the Arkansas Derby just an inevitable bad race or was it a sign that We The People isn’t a serious Grade 1 contender? He got a less than impressive wide trip from Flavian Prat but reading the chart it looked like a strange pace overall:
More impressive than the win in the Peter Pan was his poise and a 103 Beyer. If Prat can give him an efficient ride in the Belmont he could have a shot. Here’s the Peter Pan chart:
BELMONT STAKES FIELD PROJECTION AS OF MAY 27, 2022
|Brian Hernandez, Jr.
|D. Wayne Lucas
|Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|Saffie Joseph, Jr.
|We the People