On May 18, Seize the Grey ended Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan’s bid for the Triple Crown when he pulled away on a sloppy Pimlico track to win the 2024 Preakness. The two are scheduled to face off again in the Belmont Stakes this Saturday, but neither runner is favored to win the historic event.

With Belmont Park closed due to renovations until at least 2025, the New York Racing Association will run the 2024 Belmont Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse for the first time. This historic context surrounding the event is a focal point in itself, as Saratoga typically only holds race for 40 days later in the summer. This inflates the race’s importance this year, despite the fact that there is no Triple Crown title on the line.

Mystik Dan and Seize the Grey may have captured the first two legs of this year’s Triple Crown, but oddsmakers for the Belmont have given them the cold shoulder. Mystik Dan is currently 5-1, marking him as nothing more than a contender, while Seize the Grey is 8-1, roughly the same odds he received before he won the Preakness.

Instead of those two runners, the betting public is expected to rally around a pair of horses trained by Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher, respectively. The two trainers have vied with one another in New York for decades and will enter the top two horses in this year’s Belmont: morning line favorite Sierra Leone and precocious up-and-comer Mindframe.

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The two horses have had vastly different careers to this point. Sierra Leone, the 9-5 favorite trained by Brown, picked up several solid wins on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, only to fall short in a photo finish to Mystik Dan in Louisville. After the loss, Brown chose to skip the Preakness and prepare Sierra Leone for this race, where he seems well-poised to get revenge on his Derby rival.

Sierra Leone boasts a glowing three-year-old resume, but Pletcher’s best hope, Mindframe, has just two race under his belt and no stakes experience. He won both starts in commanding fashion, but Pletcher’s confidence to enter him in this race is just as responsible for his 7-2 odds on the morning line. Pletcher finished 1-2 in the 2022 Belmont and is sending out a trio of horses in this field

“He’s been super-impressive in his two races and the way he’s done that and how easily he’s won those races, how fast those races have been – it gives you the confidence he has the talent,” Pletcher said, according to The Racing Biz.

Between the wide open field and once-in-a-lifetime feel to the Saratoga setting, this year’s Belmont Stakes is sure to be remembered as unique. With some luck, it could come to mean even more.

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