June 24, 2024

Get to know the 2024 Belmont Stakes contenders

Belmont Stakes trophy (Photo by Joseph DiOrio/Horsephotos.com)

***Updated after the draw with post positions and morning line odds

With the redevelopment of Belmont Park underway, Saratoga will host the June 8 Belmont S. (G1). The temporary change of venue has prompted a tweaking of the conditions as well: the third jewel of the Triple Crown will be shortened to 1 1/4 miles.

But the “Test of the Champion” will still feature the perennial clash between classic veterans and newcomers, as the battle heats up for divisional leadership.

The Belmont will offer a rematch between the top two from the Preakness (G1), pacesetting upsetter Seize the Grey and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mystik Dan. Initially Mystik Dan’s trainer, Kenny McPeek, was contemplating whether to run his smashing Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine, Thorpedo Anna, instead. But Mystik Dan was still physically thriving through the grind of the trail.

Sierra Leone, who missed by a nose to Mystik Dan in the three-way Derby photo, has been awaiting the Belmont ever since. So are three others eager to turn the page on disappointments at Churchill Downs – sixth-placer Resilience; Honor Marie, a troubled eighth, and Dornoch, the full brother to 2023 Derby hero Mage, who never factored in 10th once shuffled back on the rail early.

Champion Fierceness, a subpar 15th after chasing the Derby pace, has been removed from Belmont consideration. But trainer Todd Pletcher has three other contenders: recent Peter Pan (G3) winner Antiquarian; Mindframe, a perfect 2-for-2 after crushing a Derby Day allowance; and Peter Pan third Protective.

The Peter Pan, traditionally the local prep but staged at Aqueduct this season, could also send runner-up The Wine Steward.

Here’s a look at the Belmont Stakes field following the draw:

Seize the Grey, post 1, 8-1

Seize the Grey wins the 2024 Preakness S. at Pimlico

Controlling speed in the mud on Preakness Day had previously stalked and pounced in the Pat Day Mile (G2).

Owner: MyRacehorse; Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas; Jockey: Jaime Torres

Pedigree: Arrogate-Smart Shopping, by Smart Strike

Mystik Dan, post 3, 5-1

Gutsy Kentucky Derby winner couldn’t catch Seize the Grey when runner-up in the Preakness.

Owners: Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing, Daniel Hamby III & Valley View Farm; Trainer: Ken McPeek; Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Pedigree: Goldencents-Ma’am, by Colonel John

Sierra Leone, post 9, 9-5

Deep-closing hero of the Blue Grass (G1) and Risen Star (G2) came up inches shy in the Kentucky Derby after leaning and lugging in down the stretch.

Owners: Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Westerberg, Brook T. Smith & Peter Brant; Trainer: Chad Brown; Jockey: Flavien Prat

Pedigree: Gun Runner-Heavenly Love, by Malibu Moon

Resilience, post 2, 10-1

Wood Memorial (G2) winner was in contention in the Derby before retreating to sixth.

Owners: Emily Bushnell & Ric Waldman; Trainer: Bill Mott; Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Pedigree: Into Mischief-Meadowsweet, by Smart Strike

Honor Marie, post 8, 12-1

Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) scorer and Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up had insurmountable early trouble in the Kentucky Derby, but did well in the circumstances to rally for eighth.

Owner: Ribble Farms, Michael Eiserman, Earl Silver, Kenneth Fishbein & Dave Fishbein; Trainer: Whit Beckman; Jockey: Florent Geroux

Pedigree: Honor Code-Dame Marie, by Smart Strike

Dornoch, post 6, 15-1

Dornoch wins The Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park

Remsen (G2) and Fountain of Youth (G2) winner couldn’t emulate full brother Mage in the Kentucky Derby, but there figures to be less of an early scrum in the Belmont.

Owners: West Paces Racing, R.A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing & Pine Racing Stables; Trainer: Danny Gargan; Jockey: Luis Saez

Pedigree: Good Magic-Puca, by Big Brown

Antiquarian, post 5, 12-1

Late-developing Peter Pan hero improved from a sixth in the Louisiana Derby.

Owner: Centennial Farms; Trainer: Todd Pletcher; Jockey: John Velazquez

Pedigree: Preservationist-Lifetime Memory, by Istan

The Wine Steward, post 4, 15-1

Case of seconditis has carried over from last fall’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1) to this term’s Lexington (G3) and Peter Pan.

Owners: Paradise Farms Corp. & David Staudacher; Trainer: Mike Maker; Jockey: Manny Franco

Pedigree: Vino Rosso-Call to Service, by To Honor and Serve

Mindframe, post 10, 7-2

Mindframe romps in a Kentucky Derby Day allowance at Churchill Downs

Unbeaten colt has aired in his two starts by a combined total of more than 21 lengths.

Owners: Repole Stable & St. Elias Stables; Trainer: Todd Pletcher; Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Pedigree: Constitution-Walk of Stars, by Street Sense

Protective, post 7, 20-1

Protective and Mindframe work

Still a maiden but third in both the Wood Memorial and Peter Pan.

Owner: Repole Stable; Trainer: Todd Pletcher; Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Pedigree: Medaglia d’Oro-Grace Hall, by Empire Maker