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There will be no rubber match between Exaggerator and Nyquist as the Kentucky Derby winner was withdrawn from the race after struggling with illness following his third-place finish at the Preakness.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

Irish War Cry is 5-2 favorite in $1M Haskell Invitational

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OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) Irish War Cry, the runner up in the Belmont Stakes, is the 5-2 favorite in the $1 million Haskell Invitational for 3-year-olds.

The richest race of the season at Monmouth Park drew a field of seven for the 50th edition on Sunday.

With a victory, Irish War Cry would join Thanks To Tony (1980) as the only New Jersey-bred winners of the state’s biggest thoroughbred stakes.

The Garden State connection runs even deeper. The race is named for Amory Haskell, the first chairman and president of Monmouth Park, whose daughter Isabelle de Tomaso bred and owns Irish War Cry.

The morning-line choice breaks from the rail with Rajiv Maragh aboard for trainer Graham Motion.

Irish War Cry was a top contender heading into the Kentucky Derby after winning the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. After chasing the early pacesetter, he faded to 10th.

Motion initially planned to give the horse time to regroup after the Derby and await the Haskell. The colt was training so well that Motion sent the horse to the 1+ mile Belmont.

It was a good decision. Irish War Cry led most of the way but was beaten two lengths by Tapwrit.

“At the end of the day, we are all very excited that we got to this point,” Motion said. “This was certainly our goal of the summer.”

Trainer Chad Brown sends out the second and third choices in the Haskell: the undefeated Timeline, 3-1, and Practical Joke, 4-1.

Timeline, winner of Monmouth’s Pegasus Stakes last month, is 4 for 4 coming into the biggest test of his career.

“He’s a horse that’s always shown a lot of natural ability,” Brown said. “I’ve had my eye on the Haskell for this horse for a long time. I felt this race would suit him.”

Javier Castellano will ride Timeline from post 3.

Practical Joke is alongside in post 4 with Joel Rosario in the saddle.

The full Haskell field, in post-position order with jockeys and odds: Irish War Cry, Maragh, 5-2; Battle of Midway, Flavien Prat, 5-1; Timeline, Castellano, 3-1; Practical Joke, Rosario, 4-1; McCraken, Brian Hernandez, Jr. 9-2; Hence, Paco Lopez, 12-1 and Girvin, Robby Albarado, 6-1.

The 1 1/8 miles Haskell is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. The winner earns a qualifying berth in the $6 million Classic on Nov. 4 at Del Mar.

Arrogate remains on course for Pacific Classic at Del Mar

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DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) Bob Baffert wasn’t beating himself up a day after Arrogate’s upset loss in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar that snapped the seven-race winning streak of the world’s top-ranked horse.

The Hall of Fame trainer said Sunday that other than getting a lot of dirt in his eyes and mouth the 4-year-old colt emerged in good physical condition after finishing fourth, beaten by 15 \ lengths as the 1-20 favorite.

Baffert says that as long as Arrogate continues working out well and nothing comes up, the colt will run in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 19 at Del Mar. Baffert says Arrogate “will be ready next time.”

Arrogate was never better than fourth among the five-horse field during the race. Accelerate led all the way and won by 8 + lengths.