2023 Belmont Stakes Contenders: Official Entries & Top Horses to Watch in 2023

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Last updated: May 22nd, 2023

The Belmont Stakes is the third and final jewel of U.S. Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. Also the oldest of the three, dating back to 1867, and the longest at 1 1/2 miles, the “Test of the Champion” has tremendous buzz when the Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner seeks an historic Triple Crown sweep. Below is a sneak preview of the contenders for the 2022 Belmont Stakes from TwinSpires, as well as info from previous runnings.

The 2023 Belmont Stakes Contenders


Past Contenders

2022 | 2021

Kentucky Derby Alumni

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables

Angel of Empire

Arkansas Derby (G1) and Risen Star (G2) hero was a hard-charging third as the post-time favorite in the Kentucky Derby.

Pedigree: Classic Empire-Armony’s Angel, by To Honor and Serve

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Owner: Gary & Mary West

Hit Show

Withers (G3) romper and Wood Memorial (G2) near-misser was a solid fifth in the Derby.

Pedigree: Candy Ride-Actress, by Tapit

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: TBD

Owner: Whisper Hill Farm & Gainesway Stable

Tapit Trice

Blue Grass (G1) and Tampa Bay Derby (G3) winner churned on for seventh after a typically sluggish start in the Derby.

PedigreeTapit-Danzatrice, by Dunkirk

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Luis Saez

Owner: Andrew & Rania Warren

Raise Cain

Gotham Stakes (G3) star has yet to win around two turns, and his closing fifth in the Blue Grass and troubled eighth in the Derby are inconclusive.

Pedigree: Violence-Lemon Belle, by Lemon Drop Kid

Trainer: Ben Colebrook

Jockey: TBD

Owner: R. T Racing Stable & Cypress Creek Equine

Sun Thunder

Risen Star runner-up didn’t get that close in his ensuing preps and checked in a non-threatening 11th in the Derby.

Pedigree: Into Mischief-Greenfield d’Oro, by Medaglia d’Oro

Trainer: Ken McPeek

Jockey: TBD

Owner: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables et al.


Sham (G3) winner and Arkansas Derby third chased the hot pace in the Kentucky Derby and tired to 13th.

Pedigree: Good Magic-Allanah, by Scat Daddy

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: TBD

Owner: Spendthrift Farm


Louisiana Derby (G2) victor got embroiled in the pace war at Churchill Downs and sustained his first loss in 14th.

Pedigree: Uncle Mo-Lady Tapit, by Tapit

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: TBD

Preakness graduates

Owner: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables et al

National Treasure

Blinkers back on did the trick in his stakes breakthrough in the Preakness, where he controlled the pace and battled gamely.

Pedigree: Quality Road-Treasure, by Medaglia d’Oro

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey:  John Velazquez

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds

Red Route One

Bath House Row S. winner, previously a bridesmaid on the Derby trail, wound up fourth in a Preakness that did not set up for his late kick.

Pedigree: Gun Runner-Red House, by Tapit

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey:  Joel Rosario


Owner: Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable


Champion juvenile extended his winning streak in the Florida Derby, but fitness could be a question since his scratch from the Kentucky Derby.

Pedigree: Violence-Queen Caroline, by Blame

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Owner: Blue Rose Farm


Late bloomer stepped up from his maiden win to take the Peter Pan (G3).

Pedigree: Arrogate-Modeling, by Tapit

Trainer:  Jena Antonucci

Jockey: TBD

Owner: Zedan Racing Stables

Arabian Lion

Speedy colt answered the two-turn skeptics in his stakes-record Sir Barton, but the Belmont distance is another question.

Pedigree: Justify-Unbound, by Distorted Humor

Trainer:  Bob Baffert

Jockey: TBD

Owner: Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable

Prove Worthy

Thrice-raced colt dominated a 1 1/4-mile maiden at Churchill Downs.

Pedigree: Curlin-Endless Chatter, by First Samurai

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: TBD

The 2022 Belmont Stakes Contenders

Mo Donegal

  • Trainer:  Todd Pletcher
  • Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
  • Owner: Donegal Racing and Repole Stable
  • Odds: +225

We the People

  • Trainer:  Rodolphe Brisset
  • Jockey: Flavien Prat
  • Owner: Bobby Flay, WinStar Farm, CMNWLTH, Siena Farm
  • Odds: +350

Rich Strike

  • Trainer:  Eric Reed
  • Jockey: Sonny Leon
  • Owner: RED TR-Racing
  • Odds: +450

Creative Minister

  • Trainer:  Kenny McPeek
  • Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.
  • Owner: Fern Circle Stables, Back Racing, LLC & Magdalena Racing
  • Odds: +650


  • Trainer:  Todd Pletcher
  • Jockey: Jose Ortiz
  • Owner: Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House
  • Odds: +650

Ethereal Road

  • Trainer:  D. Wayne Lukas
  • Jockey: Luis Saez
  • Owner: Aaron Sones
  • Odds: 10-1

Barber Road

  • Trainer:  Johnny Ortiz
  • Jockey: Rey Gutierrez
  • Owner: WSS Racing, LLC
  • Odds: 14-1


  • Trainer:  Saffie Joseph Jr.
  • Jockey: Júnior Alvarado
  • Owner: Daniel Alonso
  • Odds: 14-1

Golden Glider

  • Trainer:  Mark Casse
  • Jockey: Dylan Davis
  • Owner: Gary Barber, Manfred Conrad, and Penny Conrad
  • Odds: 22-1


  • Trainer:  Rodolphe Brisset
  • Jockey: Florent Géeroux
  • Owner: WinStar Farm LLC and Siena Farm LLC 
  • Odds: 22-1

Howling Time

  • Trainer:  Dale Romans
  • Jockey: Joe Talamo
  • Owner: Albaugh Family Stables LLC 
  • Odds: 25-1

The 2021 Belmont Stakes Contenders

PRO: Derby didn’t set up well for Wood Memorial hero; both wins have come in New York
CON: Late runner faces tactical disadvantage in Belmont; owns lower Brisnet Speed ratings

PRO: Rough break, wide trip cost him in Derby; once-beaten colt can make amends Saturday
CON: Grinder must establish trip from inside post; Brisnet numbers on-par with other rivals

PRO: Became more effective racing closer to pace in last two; stylishly rallied to win Preakness
CON: His races have been well-spaced, must avoid regression on three-week turnaround

PRO: Missed by only a length in Derby; Louisiana Derby winner may have more to offer for O’Neill
CON: Lone stakes win came wire-to-wire; thrice stakes-placed colt often grabs a minor award

PRO: Japanese-based colt showed tactical speed in Preakness, needed race from fitness perspective
CON: Weakening seventh at Pimlico does not inspir e confidence; unplaced in both stakes attempts

PRO: Compromised by innermost post in Derby; 1 1/2-mile distance appears optimal for promising colt
CON: Beat suspect field in Florida Derby; is he fast enough yet to de feat this level of competition?

PRO: Missed break, draw a line through Derby; serious wire-to-wire threat as possible lone speed
CON: Had everything own way in Santa Anita Derby; questions surround him at 1 1/2-mile trip

PRO: $1 million Curlin colt needed last race after layoff; sneaky vertical exotics contender for Pletcher
CON: Late-running style doesn’t appear favorable; his Brisnet Speed ratings must improve to challenge

Below are the official Belmont Stakes contenders for 2021:

(1) We the PeopleRodolphe Brisset / Flavien Prat2-1
(2) Skippylongstocking Saffie Joseph Jr. / Manny Franko20-1
(3) NestTodd Pletcher / Jose Ortiz8-1
(4) Rich Strike Eric Reed / Sonny Leon7-2
(5) Creative MinisterKen McPeek / Brian Hernandez Jr.6-1
(6) Mo DonegalTodd Pletcher / Irad Ortiz, Jr.5-12
(7)  Golden GliderMark Casse / Dylan Davis20-1
(8) Barber RoadJohn Ortiz / Joel Rosario10-1

Most of the Belmont contenders have competed in at least one, or sometimes both, of the prior Triple Crown races. Fans who have been watching the three-year-olds progress throughout the early-season preps — such as the Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby, Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass, and Arkansas Derby — will know the major players very well.

But even fans who just tuned in for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness will recognize familiar names. If the Derby winner has gone on to glory in the Preakness, that two-time classic winner heads to Belmont Park on the cusp of immortality, with a Triple Crown on the line. If he was beaten in the Preakness, the Belmont Stakes could serve as a decisive showdown between the Derby and Preakness winners.

With trainers preferring to give their horses more time between races, some who ran in the Derby opt to skip the Preakness and go straight to the Belmont. Such a five-week break can give them a freshness advantage over those enduring the entire Triple Crown grind.