The 2022 Belmont Stakes takes place on Saturday 11th June at Belmont Park in New York and is the third and final leg of America's Triple Crown.
The Belmont, run over the mile-and-a-half trip, is the acid test of stamina for America's Classic generation and is dubbed 'The Test of Champions'.
Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike is confirmed as a runner in the Belmont having skipped the Preakness Stakes, though Pimlico winner Early Voting does not head to New York.
The 154th running of the Belmont Stakes is set to go to post at 23:44 UK on Saturday evening and here is our preview of the big stateside contest this weekend.
What: Belmont Stakes
Where: Belmont Park, New York
When: Saturday 11th June, 2022
How to watch: bet365's Sports Live Streaming
Connections of the Eric Reed-trained Rich Strike caused quite the stir in opting to skip last month's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
After winning the Kentucky Derby, they felt the second leg of Triple Crown was 'too soon' three weeks later and so Rich Strike became the first winner of the 'Run for the Roses' since 1954 to miss the second leg of the Triple Crown. A remarkable move.
It wasn't the first remarkable thing about Rich Strike, of course. He'd managed just one win from seven starts heading to Louisville last month - a mile maiden at Churchill Downs last September - and was trying the Derby trip for the first time as he went off a 40/1 chance under Sonny Leon.
His run in the Derby needs to be seen to be believed, as he staged a daring last-to-first swoop to overcome the much-fancied pair Epicenter and Zandon late in piece. It really is worth looking up the overhead coverage.
Having missed the Preakness, Rich Strike is 4/1 for Belmont glory and has drawn stall four of eight – he broke from gate 20 in the Kentucky Derby.
He's a player once more but a repeat of those waiting tactics will be hard to execute, as the Belmont does not historically lend itself to horses coming from a long way off the pace. With only eight runners, compared to 20 in the Derby, that might not be a massive concern this year.
Rain is forecast for the New York area on Saturday evening and that will be music to the ears of connections of We The People, currently priced at 5/2 to win the Belmont Stakes for trainer Rodolphe Brisset.
Last spotted winning the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes at this circuit last month, We The People does have a slight stamina-query against his name given the faded to be seventh previously in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park after having made the running.
That's his run-style and having drawn stall one, he's unlikely to defer from those tactics now, though rider Flavien Prat will surely be keen to save some energy in the early parts of the race. With just six rivals tracking him, and the likelihood they allow him do it on his own, We The People could be vulnerable late on.
The John Ortiz-trained Barber Road was ahead of him (second) in that Arkansas Derby, but could only manage sixth afterwards in Kentucky Derby and is 12/1 here.
The Peter Pan form may need some improving up, too, with the Oak Lawn runner-up Golden Glider viewed as a 33/1 outsider in this field for trainer Mark Casse.
Only fifth in last month's Kentucky Derby after a slow start from a handy position on the rail, better is anticipated this time around from 5/2 chance Mo Donegal for Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz Jr.
The son of Uncle Mo had earlier won the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in April, running on strongly in the home stretch to deny no less than next-time-out Preakness winner Early Voting.
His slow start didn't help his cause in the Derby and having drawn stall five of eight here, it's very likely this race will be run much more to his benefit. The long home stretch at Belmont Park should also allow him ample time to rise his challenge if Ortiz can keep him just off the speed.
Mo Donegal's trainer Todd Pletcher is bidding to win his fourth Belmont Stakes since 2007 and he's got a strong second-string to his bow in the form of 8/1 chance Nest – the only filly left in the mix.
She's drawn in stall three and will become only the 24th filly to run in the race as she bids to become the fourth female Belmont winner – Pletcher's Rags To Riches in 2007 was the third.
Nest was most recently sighted finishing second-best behind Secret Oath in the Kentucky Oaks and given her trainer knows what it takes to prepare a filly to win this race, her presence in New York is very much to be noted as Pletcher looks to play a strong hand in the final Triple Crown event of the season.
Though the Preakness winner has opted to swerve Saturday's race – ensuring no runner will have contested all three Triple Crown races this year – the Pimlico form does come to the table in the shape of the final two contenders.
They are 13/2 chance Creative Minister for Kenny McPeek – drawn in stall five – and 25/1 chance Skippylongstocking – housed in stall two at Belmont having finished fifth in the Preakness. Prior to that, Saffie Joseph Jr's charge was third behind Mo Donegal in the Wood Memorial.