The Triple Crown concludes this weekend on NBC Sports with the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN with a 6:37 p.m. post time from Belmont Park.
Watch: 2017 Belmont Stakes (Saturday at 3 p.m. ET)
For the second straight year, a different horse will win each leg of the Triple Crown, after Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness winner Cloud Computing were held out of this weekend’s festivities in Elmont, NY. A host of contenders will look to seize glory in their absence, including the Japanese import Epicharis, who opened at 4-1 odds in his first race on American soil.
The air of mystery surrounding the three-year old colt has only increased this week after trainers kept Epicharis in his barn on Thursday and Friday morning with a right hoof issue. His connections insist that Epicharis is still ready to take on the Belmont, but he’s been bumped down to 12-1 odds ahead of the Triple Crown’s longest and most demanding race.
Another horse to watch will be Lookin at Lee, who is holding steady at 5-1 odds after notching top-five finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The only horse in the field to run the first two legs of the Triple Crown (after Classic Empire was scratched earlier this week), Lookin at Lee just missed a historic win at Churchill Downs, nearly overcoming 20-1 odds and finishing second behind Always Dreaming.
The Friday evening favorite is Irish War Cry at 4-1 odds and the one-eyed Patch will once again be the among the underdog at 12-1 odds.
When: 3 p.m. ET (Post Time – 6:37 p.m. ET)
Where: NBCSN, NBC, NBC Sports app
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live and the NBC Sports app
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) Until Jerry Bozzo, no trainer had ever won a thoroughbred race at the age of 96.
And now, make it 97.
Bozzo bettered his own mark Saturday, when Gusty Wind prevailed in the fifth race at Gulfstream Park by nearly four lengths in a mild upset. Gusty Wind, with Luca Panici aboard, returned $14.80 for the win.
“It’s very gratifying. I wish I could have been there in the winner’s circle,” Bozzo, who watched the race on his computer at home, told Gulfstream Park officials afterward. “That would have pumped me up even more.”
Bozzo became the oldest trainer to win a race on June 3, 2017, when Cotton Tooyah won at Gulfstream for the then-96-year-old. Before that, the oldest trainer to win a race was Noble Threewitt, who was 95 when Threeatonce won a maiden race at Santa Anita in 2006.
Bozzo, born Oct. 25, 1920, is a retired aeronautical engineer, industrialist and World War II veteran. He graduated from Carnegie Tech, which is now called Carnegie Mellon, and MIT. He has been training and breeding thoroughbreds in South Florida for nearly 50 years, and talked to Panici on Friday night to discuss strategy for Saturday.
“Good for him,” Panici said. “He is a man with an amazing history.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Triple Crown winner Justify won’t be running during the 150th meet at Saratoga Race Course, but many of the best thoroughbreds will be at the historic track for the 40-day season.
The meet features 69 stakes races worth $18.8 million in purses and opens Friday. Among those running this season will be Good Magic, Hofburg, Gronkowski, Vino Rosso, and Bravazo.
Todd Pletcher is eyeing his 13th training title in 16 years. He won last year with 40 winners, one more than Chad Brown.
Justify has returned to Del Mar in California after swelling in his left front ankle emerged two weeks ago. Trainer Bob Baffert says Justify probably will walk around the stable area the next two weeks.
The colt likely will return in the fall, the ultimate goal being the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.