Stacked field for Belmont Stakes

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Field of 10 entered for Saturday’s $2 million Belmont Stakes, which will be run at Saratoga Race Course for the first time. NYRA Photo.

Saratoga Race Course’s first of two scheduled editions of the Belmont Stakes attracted a talent-rich field that includes the first two finishers from the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and several promising late-developers.

A field of 10 entered the 156th Belmont Stakes, which will be run at Saratoga in 2024 and 2025 because of the ongoing development project at Belmont Park.

Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan and Preakness winner Seize The Grey are in the field, the first time different winners of the first two jewels of the Triple Crown were in the Belmont since 2013. They’re joined by Derby runner-up Sierra Leone, the unbeaten 7-2 second choice Mindframe, Wood Memorial winner Resilience and Peter Pann winner Antiquarian.

Sierra Leone, beaten a nose by Mystik Dan five weeks ago in the Derby, was pegged as the 9-5 morning-line favorite from post 9. The son of Gun Runner, who topped the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale on a bid of $2.3 million from representatives of Coolmore and others in 2022, is trained by Chad Brown and will be ridden for the first time by Flavien Prat.

“Obviously, we have half as many horses to run down so that should hopefully be a little easier on him,” Brown said during Monday’s post-position draw the Universal Preservation Hall in downtown Saratoga Springs. “I just hope he runs the same race as in the Derby.”

Mindframe comes into the $2 million Belmont, which will be run at the shortened distance of 10 furlongs instead of 12 because of the layout of Saratoga’s main track, off back-to-back victories by a combined 21 1/4 lengths. The Maryland-bred son of Constitution is one of three runners trained by four-time Belmont winner Todd Pletcher, who also sends out Antiquarian and Protective.

Mystik Dan, also runner-up in the Preakness three weeks ago for trainer Kenny McPeek, is the 5-1 third choice. The son of Goldencents defeated Sierra Leone and Japanese invader Forever Young in the Derby then finished 2 ¼ lengths behind front-running Seize The Grey in the Preakness. Brian Hernandez Jr. takes the return call.

“He is a very consistent horse,” McPeek said. “That is the biggest deal. We’ve kind of been a little careful with the spacing of these races nowadays. And I have been worried about it, you know making sure he’s right, but he’s been very consistent all the way from the Arkansas Derby through today. We are hopeful that he runs a big race and you’ve got to compete in these kind of races to prove yourself. There are some great horses in here and it is going to be interesting.”

Seize The Grey, the 8-1 fourth choice for four-time Belmont-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas, also comes into the Belmont with races on the first Saturday in May and two weeks later in the Preakness. The son of Arrogate won the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile on Derby Day and came back two weeks later to score in the Preakness under Jaime Torres.

The Belmont goes as the 12th on Saturday’s 14-race card at Saratoga, with post time set for 6:41 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast on Fox from 4-7 p.m. with the undercard also shown on FS1 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7-8:10 p.m. on FS2.