Between the Kentucky Derby favorite that was scratched (Forte), the eventual winner that will not be racing (Mage), and the Preakness winner (National Treasure), this year’s Belmont Stakes is sure to be an exciting one. Catch up on what happened in the first two legs of the infamous Triple Crown races and what you can look forward to on Saturday.

The Kentucky Derby

In the early morning of the first Saturday in May, the dark bay son of Violence – Forte – stood as the crowd favorite to win the race. He was coming in off a five-race winning streak. However, a foot bruise forced the owners of the colt to scratch. This opened the door for the also Todd Pletcher-trained Tapit Trice to take over as the favorite to wear the roses that evening. But the gray colt finished a disappointing seventh place. Mage was the winner, followed by Two Phils and Angel of Empire.

The Preakness

With Forte still out recovering from his foot bruise, Mage entered the Preakness as the default favorite to win. With him followed a crowd of fans hopeful of extending a chance at the Triple Crown. But after battling through traffic, the colt finished a respectable third. It was National Treasure who took the win in a close finish with Blazing Sevens. The win with National Treasure gave trainer Bob Baffert the title of winningest trainer in Preakness History and a lot to look forward to in the upcoming Belmont.

Still to Come: The Belmont Stakes

Now, the Pletcher duo of Forte and Tapit Trice lead the field as the favorites to win this coming Saturday. The Belmont is the longest of the three races, and to win or even place at this race is no easy feat. Angel of Empire will also be back, hoping to improve on his decent showing in the Derby.

Some may say National Treasure is flying under the radar this race, overshadowed by the return of Forte and his stable mate Tapit Trice (whose sire has produced two Belmont winners and is a proven long-distance pedigree). But the Baffert-trained colt certainly can’t be counted out this race, as his pedigree also boasts distance winners. And perhaps even more importantly, his jockey, John Velazquez, boasts two Belmont Stakes wins himself.

Despite no Triple Crown hopeful this year, the Belmont Stakes of 2023 will be action-packed. Post time is 7:02pm EST on Saturday, June 10th of 2023. Who will you be rooting for?

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Though often not serious, hoof bruises such as that of Forte’s can cause a great deal of discomfort and will occasionally form an abscess. Learn how to treat them here.