John R. Velazquez

Irish War Cry returns to Triple Crown as 7-2 Belmont fave

Irish War Cry is back on the Triple Crown trail as the 7-2 favorite for the Belmont Stakes.

The colt claimed that status after expected favorite Classic Empire was forced out Wednesday because of an abscess in his right front hoof.

No one was more surprised at the turn of events than trainer Graham Motion. He left his base in Fair Hill, Maryland, early in the day and by the time he arrived in New York, his colt was the favorite in the 12-horse field for Saturday's race.

"It's just very odd," he said after the draw at Rockefeller Plaza. "This goes to show how quickly things can go wrong. It just takes a little thing like a foot abscess. They're...