Irish War Cry is the morning-line favorite for the June 10 Belmont Stakes

Irish War Cry is the morning-line favorite for the June 10 Belmont Stakes

Rick Samuels

Strong Card Awaits Fans at Belmont Park

Epicharis among horses scratched from today's Belmont Park stakes races.

With the first two classic winners of 2017 skipping the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1) and a pair of hopefuls not making the race, the big-event approach to the day by the New York Racing Association could prove key June 10.

Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Cloud Computing passed on the 1 1/2-mile classic, which also was impacted by the departure of 2-year-old champion Classic Empire  earlier in the week and the Saturday morning scratch of Japan-based Epicharis.

While the on-track crowd could be hampered, fans were lining up at Belmont entrances at about 9 a.m. ET Saturday on a day expected to feature spectacular weather with temperatures around 80 degrees.

In terms of wagering, Belmont will serve up an full day of stakes racing. Saturday's card at features 13 races, including six grade 1 stakes. More than $7.5 million in purses are up for grabs Saturday. 

There already has been strong interest in the first two days of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, which has seen on-track handle and total handle increase significantly over 2016's festival. On-track handle for June 8 and June 9 was a combined $4.13 million, a more than 18% increase. Total handle for the two days was $31.07 million, an increase of more than 32% over the same period last year.

Other scratches from Saturday's Belmont stakes races include:
•    Perro Rojo from race 2, the Easy Goer Stakes.
•    Idolo Porteno and Send It In from race 3, the Brooklyn Invitational Stakes (G2).
•    Tequilita from race 4, the Acorn Stakes (G1).

Race #
Purse Race Type Distance Surface Est. Post
$90,000 Allowance 1 1/16 Miles Dirt 11:35 AM
$150,000 Easy Goer S. 1 1/16 Miles Dirt 12:07 PM
$400,000 Brooklyn Invitational S. 1 1/2 Miles Dirt 12:39 PM
$700,000 Acorn S. 1 Mile Dirt 1:11 PM
$750,000 Ogden Phipps S. 1 1/16 Miles Dirt 1:52 PM
$300,000 Jaipur Invitational S. 6 Furlongs Turf 2:34 PM
$500,000 Woody Stephens S. 7 Furlongs Dirt 3:15 PM
$700,000 Longines Just a Game S. 1 Mile Turf 3:58 PM
$1,200,000 Mohegan Sun Metropolitan H. 1 Mile Dirt 4:41 PM
$1,000,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan S. 1 1/4 Miles Turf 5:37 PM
$1,500,000 Belmont S. presented by NYRABets 1 1/2 Miles Dirt 6:37 PM
$96,000 Allowance Optional Claiming 1 1/8 Miles Turf 7:20 PM
$96,000 Allowance Optional Claiming 7 Furlongs Dirt 7:50 PM