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There will be no rubber match between Exaggerator and Nyquist as the Kentucky Derby winner was withdrawn from the race after struggling with illness following his third-place finish at the Preakness.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

Baffert hoping Arrogate gives him third Dubai World Cup win

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Having taken over the mantle as the world’s best racehorse from California Chrome, Arrogate will attempt on Saturday to wear another crown that last fitted his illustrious American compatriot, the Dubai World Cup.

All eyes are on the 4-year-old Arrogate, who lost on debut 11 months ago but hasn’t lost since.

He’s won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup this year to stretch his unbeaten streak to six. In both races, Arrogate defeated Chrome, who won the Dubai World Cup last year at Meydan Racecourse by five lengths despite jockey Victor Espinoza hanging on to a loose saddle for most of it.

Under jockey Mike Smith, Arrogate has forged a winning combination in his last three Group 1 races: Travers Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup.

In Dubai, they have drawn stall nine among 14 contenders, a position which fails to douse the confidence of his trainer Bob Baffert.

“Nine is fine,” said Baffert, who also trained 2015 U.S. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“He’s settled in pretty well. As long as he shows up, that’s the key. If he runs his race, we know what he can do.”

Smith was all praise for his mount, ranked the No. 1 racehorse in the world.

“I have been blessed with some really, really good horses, but I am not sure I have ever sit on one like this,” Smith said.

“Everything about him, his disposition, his mechanics, the way he gets over the ground … at times you feel as if you are running downhill instead of a level ground. What amazes me most is when the race is over, it looks as if he did not put much effort into it. His recovery time is so quick.”

Arrogate’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup wins came over 2,000 meters on dirt, the same distance and conditions as the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Baffert hopes Arrogate can give him a third Dubai World Cup victory after Silver Charm (1998) and Captain Steve (2001).

He suffered a heart attack during his last visit to Dubai in 2012, and watched the World Cup five nights later with stents in two of his blocked arteries. He also watched from even farther afield last year as his other horse, Hoppertunity, finished third behind Chrome and Mike de Kock’s Mubtaahij.

He’s giving Hoppertunity another chance.

“Both my horses are happy and healthy,” Baffert said. “He (Hoppertunity) should be collecting a check again. That is what he does, picks up the pieces in these big races. He reminds me of Pac-Man, he just keeps going. A Dubai World Cup 1-2, that would be something.”

Mubtaahij is also back, although he will start under Christophe Soumillon from the widest of stalls.

“Like everyone, we wanted low,” the Belgian jockey said. “I will have to … hope for some luck.”

The Dubai World Cup features a nine-race card offering $30 million across six Group 1 and three Group 2 races on turf and dirt.

Six three-year-olds nominated late to Triple Crown series

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thunder Snow, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas, is among six 3-year-olds made eligible to compete in the Triple Crown series during the late nomination period.

The late nominees, which required a payment of $6,000 each, raise the total nominations to 425 for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The late nomination period closed Monday. The early nomination window closed in January and required a payment of $600.

Ireland-bred Thunder Snow, owned by Godolphin Racing, is set to run Saturday in the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai. The colt has three wins in seven career starts for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The other late nominees are Hollywood Handsome, trained by Dallas Stewart; More Than Words, trained by Charlie LoPresti; Parlor, trained by Eddie Kenneally; Rapid Dial, trained by Ingrid Mason; and Stretch’s Stone, trained by Bruce Levine.

Thoroughbreds that weren’t nominated to the Triple Crown have one final chance by paying a supplemental fee. The fee for the Derby is $200,000; $150,000 for the Preakness; and $75,000 for the Belmont.