June 10, 2017 / 12:14 AM / 2 years ago

Irish War Cry top choice in depleted Belmont Stakes horse race

Jun 8, 2017; Elmont, NY, USA; Irish War Cry trains on the main track in preparation for the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The glamor of past years will be missing when the 149th Belmont Stakes is run on Saturday with neither the Kentucky Derby nor Preakness winner in the 12-horse field.

Irish War Cry, 10th in the Derby, will likely go off as the favorite at Elmont, New York, but the race, the longest in the Triple Crown series, could be wide open.

Japanese import Epicharis would win a $1 million bonus from the New York Racing Association if he triumphs. But the second choice is dealing with a front hoof issue and has not trained for three days.

That leaves Lookin At Lee, the only entry in all three Triple Crown races this year, as the third choice. He came closest in the Derby, finishing second, and took fourth in the Preakness.

Tapwrit and Senior Investment also could figure.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Tapwrit had early trouble at the Derby before finishing sixth.

Pletcher also will saddle the one-eyed Patch, who placed 14th in Kentucky.

Senior Investment has speed but the one-and-a-half mile distance may be too long for the thoroughbred, who took third in the Preakness last month.

Hopes for a Triple Crown ended when Derby winner Always Dreaming finished eighth in the Preakness, which Cloud Computing won.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris

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