Top 5 Greatest Belmont Stakes Upsets

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D.S. Williamson

May 30th, 2017

Belmont Stakes upsets have often happened. The favorite doesn't win the Belmont Stakes. The second choice doesn't even win the Belmont Stakes. Just think about last year when Exaggerator, the Preakness Stakes winner over Derby Champion Nyquist, went off a big favorite to win the Test of Champions.

Exaggerator finished 11th as the $1.45 to 1 chalk. Several longshots appear set to upset things in the 2017 Belmont Stakes just like Cloud Computing upset the Preakness a couple of weeks ago. Before writing about those underdogs, I thought it might be cool to go down memory lane. Check out my Top 5 Belmont Stakes Upset Winners!

1. Sarava, 2002

When you pay $70 to 1, is there a better upset winner of all time? I don't think so!  I had money on Sarava in 2002. The Wild Again runner had no shot..until he did. Not only did Sarava prevent War Emblem from the Triple Crown, but he also beat a great horse like Medaglia D'Oro.

2. Da' Tara, 2008

Before he got sidelined for a decade, Richard Dutrow owned New York Racing. Everything Dutrow sent to the track won. In 2008, he sat on the doorstep of immortality with a horse named Big Brown. Named after UPS trucks, Big Brown dominated his competition in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

But, the Triple Crown wasn't meant to be. Nick Zito, another New York trainer, saddled Da' Tara. Da' Tara took advantage of Big Brown's issues at the start of the race. Alan Garcia aboard Da' Tara took the lead and cruised to an unfathomable win.

3. Birdstone, 2004

Did Stewart Elliott aboard Smarty Jones move to soon? Maybe. Or, maybe, the Zito trained Birdstone was better that day. Going off at 36 to 1, Birdstone, by Grindstone from Dear Birdie, was bred to get the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes distance. I'm not so sure if Smarty Jones, by Elusive Quality, was. I think that had more to do with Smarty's loss than anything else.

4. Lemon Drop Kid, 1999

Charismatic looked like a winner at the top of the stretch. He broke down, which is why the memory that most have of the 1999 Belmont Stakes is jockey Chris Antley holding Charismatic's leg. Lemon Drop Kid went off at over 29 to 1. He had finished 9th in the Derby. He had finished 3rd int he Peter Pan Stakes, the prep for the Test of Champions. Since Kingmambo sired him, 1 1/2 miles was no problem. All of us should have been on this guy, right?

5. Ruler On Ice, 2011

Ruler On Ice paid $51.50 for a $2 bet when he won the Belmont Stakes in 2011. Animal Kingdom, who had won the Kentucky Derby, and Shackleford, who had won the Preakness, both ran in the Belmont. Other contenders included Nehro and Mucho Macho Man. Ruler On Ice tracked Shackleford about a length off before running right by the Black-eyed Susan's winner.

Think that Classic Empire is a lock? Think again! Sarava, Da 'Tara, Birdstone, Lemon Drop Kid, and Ruler On Ice, all proved that upsets reign in the Test of Champions.

The next blog I publish digs deep into the underdogs with a shot to win the 2017 Belmont Stakes!