There's no Triple Crown on the line this year, but there are still plenty of reasons to be excited for the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday from Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
If you're looking for an excuse to party on Saturday, the Belmont is as good as it gets. Coverage of the race of the 1.5-miler begins 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports, and then switches over to NBC at 5 p.m. ET. You can also watch all afternoon online at NBC Sports Live, and on mobile with the NBC Sports Live app. Post time for the Stakes itself should take place at 6:47 ET. That's a full afternoon of race action to enjoy.
The Belmont is known for its hard-partying spectators, both in New York and viewing around the world. Like the Kentucky Derby and its Mint Julep or the Preakness and its Black-Eyed Susan, the Belmont has an official drink: the Belmont Jewel. It's a simple mixture of bourbon, pomegranate juice and lemonade. So even if you're in the infield, you can drink like the folks there without much hassle.
The Belmont also has superior music to its Triple Crown brethren. Compared to the laid back tunes of "My Old Kentucky Home" and "Maryland, My Maryland" for the Derby and Preakness, the Belmont's anthem, "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra, swings hard. Put it on repeat with a few more songs about the Empire State and you'll have your soundtrack for the afternoon.
Then there's the race itself. Known as "The Test of Champions," the Belmont is the longest leg of the Triple Crown at 1.5 miles. That's a length many thoroughbreds have never run in their lives. The monstrous track has been the undoing of many Triple Crown hopefuls throughout the years.
For those looking to lay some money down on the Belmont, you won't be able to wager on the two horses most familiar to you from this Triple Crown cycle. Neither Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming nor Preakness winner Cloud Computing are in the field. But there are still many horses you should recognize from those two races.
The favorite as of Saturday morning is Irish War Cry at 4-to-1. He was among the favorites in the Kentucky Derby, but faded in the final furlongs to cede his position to Always Dreaming.
Lookin At Lee is the only one in the Belmont field who will race in all three Triple Crown legs; he finished second in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness. Once again, he's among the favorites at 5-to-1 odds.
One longshot to keep an eye on is Japanese-trained Epicharis, who sits at 12-to-1 odds on Saturday morning, but opened at 4-to-1 on Wednesday. Epicharis hasn't run a race since finishing second on March 25 at the UAE Derby. Before that, he won his previous three races and could get back to those winning ways at the Belmont.
Then, of course, there's everyone's favorite one-eyed horse, Patch. He's another longshot at 14-to-1, and although he may not have much of a chance to win the Run for the Carnations, he has a 100 percent of being the fan favorite.
Here's the complete field with their Saturday morning odds:
1. Twisted Tom, 9-1
2. Tapwrit, 6-1
3. Gormley, 7-1
4. J Boys Echo, 12-1
5. Hollywood Handsome, 20-1
6. Lookin at Lee, 5-1
7. Irish War Cry, 4-1
8. Senior Investment, 6-1
9. Meantime, 16-1
10. Multiplier, 15-1
11. Epicharis, 12-1
12. Patch, 14-1
Cy Brown writes about soccer and other stuff for Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @CEPBrown.