The absence of the Kentucky Derby winner and the presence of the ultra-consistent Preakness winner didn't scare off the competition for the final jewel of the Triple Crown as a field 13 was entered Wednesday for Saturday's 148th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.
Exaggerator, who defeated the previously unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist in the Preakness three weeks ago to spoil any chance of back-to-back Triple Crown tries, was pegged as the 9/5 favorite for the Belmont.
Exaggerator drew post No. 11 during the post draw at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan Wednesday. The son of Curlin seeks his third Grade 1 triumph of 2016. Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother Kent Desormeaux, Exaggerator sports a career record of 5-3-1 from 11 starts.
The next two choices on the early line are both trained by Todd Pletcher - Destin and Stradivari.
Stradivari is the 5-1 second choice off his fourth in the Preakness in his stakes debut. The son of Medaglia d'Oro was a dominating winner of a Keeneland allowance race prior to the Preakness. Destin won the Tampa Bay Derby winner and finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby off nearly a two-month layoff. He's pegged as the 6-1 third choice.
The only remaining member of the field at single digits on the morning line is Cherry Wine, runner-up in the Preakness after a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. He's one of two entrants for trainer Dale Romans, who will also send out Blue Grass winner Brody's Cause.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will also send out two starters in the WinStar Farm duo of Arkansas Derby winner Creator and Gettysburg.
Post time for the Belmont, which goes as the 11th of a star-studded 13-race program Saturday, is set for 6:37 p.m. and the race will be televised during NBC's broadcast starting at 5 p.m.
The Belmont field, with jockey and morning-line odds:
- Governor Malibu, Joel Rosario, 12-1;
- Destin, Javier Castellano, 6-1;
- Cherry Wine, Corey Lanerie, 8-1;
- Suddenbreakingnews, Mike Smith, 10-1;
- Stradivari, John Velazquez, 5-1;
- Gettysburg, Paco Lopez, 30-1;
- Seeking The Soul, Florent Geroux, 30-1;
- Forever d'Oro, Jose Ortiz, 30-1;
- Trojan Nation, Aaron Gryder, 30-1;
- Lani, Yutaka Take, 20-1;
- Exaggerator, Kent Desormeaux, 9/5;
- Brody's Cause, Luis Saez, 20-1;
- Creator, Irad Ortiz Jr., 10-1.