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Exaggerator Clear Betting Favorite on Odds to Win Belmont Stakes

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After ending Nyquist’s chances of a Triple Crown triumph with his victory at the Preakness Stakes, Exaggerator is poised to leave the No. 11 post at Saturday’s Belmont Stakes as the race favorite at short +125 odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Keith Desormeaux-trained colt showed his dominance in sloppy conditions three weeks ago at the Preakness, storming past a late-fading Nyquist for his fifth win in 11 career races ahead of the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park.

There will be no rubber match between Exaggerator and Nyquist as the Kentucky Derby winner was withdrawn from the race after struggling with illness following his third-place finish at the Preakness.

However, Exaggerator faces no shortage of quality challengers, who have created a logjam behind him on the Belmont Stakes odds.

Stradivari finished fourth in his stakes racing debut at the Preakness but leads the best of the rest in Belmont Stakes betting, joined by Suddenbreakingnews at +700.

Starting from a more familiar No. 5 post on Saturday after starting further outside at No. 13 at the Preakness, a winning run for Stradivari would mean a third career victory at the Belmont Stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher, who previously reached the winner’s circle in 2007 and 2013.

There have been seven horses since 2000 that have won the Belmont Stakes after running in the Kentucky Derby but skipping the Preakness. This year, five horses meet that criteria, including Suddenbreakingnews, who finished fifth at Churchill Downs and will start from the No. 4 post on Saturday.

Another Pletcher-trained horse, Destin, ran to a sixth-place finish at the Derby and starts from the No. 2 post with +900 odds. Brody’s Cause is listed at +1400 following a seventh-place finish in the Run for the Roses, while Creator is a +1600 bet on Saturday after finishing a disappointing 13th in Louisville.

Cherry Wine will be looking to become the 16th horse to win the Belmont when starting from the No. 3 post, and sports +800 odds following a strong second-place run at the Preakness Stakes.

Governor Malibu starts on the rail, joining Brody’s Cause at +1400, while Lani, who joins Exaggerator as the only horses to participate in all three Triple Crown races this year, is deadlocked with Creator at +1600.

Four horses sit well off the pace on the Belmont Stakes odds, with Gettysburg, Seeking the Soul, Forever d’Oro, and Trojan Nation all pegged as +4000 longshots.

Lady Eli ends skid with win in Grade 1 Gamely at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Lady Eli won the $300,000 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares by a half-length at Santa Anita, ending a two-race skid as the heavy 3-5 favorite.

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Lady Eli ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:45.29 on Saturday.

Goodyearforroses was second, followed by Avenge, Mokat and Pretty Girl.

Lady Eli paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10. All but $18,388 of the total show pool of $315,505 was wagered on her in the Grade 1 race.

The 5-year-old dark brown mare has eight wins in 11 career starts and has never finished worse than second for New York-based trainer Chad Brown, who won the Preakness with Cloud Computing last weekend.

Lady Eli was coming off two close losses: by a nose in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland in April and by a head in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf last November.

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming to skip Belmont Stakes

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NEW YORK — Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will skip the Belmont Stakes next month after finishing eighth in the Preakness.

Trainer Todd Pletcher says the 3-year-old colt will be pointed toward either the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 29 or the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 30, according to the Daily Racing Form.

Trainer Chad Brown says he will wait until after the Memorial Day weekend to announce where Preakness winner Cloud Computing will run next. However, it appears unlikely he will run in the Belmont.

The Belmont field is limited to 16 starters. Besides Classic Empire, who came in second at the Preakness Stakes, other horses expected to run are Conquest Mo Money, Japan-based Epicharis, Gormley, Irap, J Boys Echo, Lookin At Lee, Meantime, Multiple, Patch, Senior Investment, Tapwrit, True Timber and Twisted Tom. Other possibilities are Irish War Cry and Hollywood Handsome.