Home » Blog » Classic Empire to Miss Belmont

Classic Empire to Miss Belmont

Classic Empire will sit out the Belmont Stakes due to a foot injury. Trainer Mark Casse broke the news Wednesday at Belmont Park. Classic Empire would have been the odds-on favorites. But that distinction will now likely fall to Epicharis or Irish War Cry. Lookin At Lee will be the lone horse to run the Triple Crown and will get plenty of respect at the window.

Classic Empire was flown to New York on Tuesday from Kentucky. On Wednesday morning, “he wouldn’t put the foot down,” Casse said. “He’ll be better as soon as it busts open,” Casse said. “He’ll have instant relief, but he can’t run. He’s been too good to us.”

The right front hoof bothered Classic Empire after the Holy Bull Stakes earlier this year. The injury will not affect his career and brings the field down to 12 entries.

The injury will affect how the race plays out.

Irish War Cry Trainer Graham Motion said things will be different.

“There’s not a horse that would have had more of an impact on the race,” he said. “But it’s still a mile and a half and there is plenty of unknown territory. We’re all really just hoping.”

But the injury will also give ammunition to those who argue the Triple Crown needs to be spaced out. Three races in five weeks is tough for any horse. But it’s even harder on three year olds. Many people would like to see three weeks between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and three to four before the Belmont. But it’s hard to get the horse industry to break with tradition. The complaint is not a new one and there have been more in recent years with horses jumping into the mix for either the Preakness or the Belmont and coming away with a victory because of a fresh horse.

  • 100%