Saturday, June 6, 2009

Belmont Stakes Preview

I'm not too jazzed about this year's Belmont Stakes so I won't go into too much detail. Rachel Alexandra showed in the Preakness she is a really special filly, or that this year's crop of 3yo colts isn't that special. Probably a little of both.

A lot of people think because the Belmont is 12 furlongs that closers have an advantage passing tiring front runners. But I don't think that is the case, unless there is a heated pace duel in the front (See Smarty Jones). Closers aren't used to running 12F anymore than front runners, and often they don't have their usual late kick, which was used up after about a mile. The track often plays well to front runners too (see Da'Tara), but usually the best horse wins this race.

Mine That Bird returns for the Meatloaf Triple Crown (2 outta 3 ain't bad) and he gets Calvin Borel back and he is the deserving M/L favorite. He's one of two in here who'll have run all three Triple Crown races, the other being Flying Private, so there are alot of fresher horses in here. Talent is there, but i'm not sure the pace is. But if Borel can find the conveyor belt on the rail he has a legit chance to win this one.

Charitable Man is a logical contender being 2 for 2 at Belmont and having won the Peter Pan (gr. II) here a week after the Derby. There is little to no pace in here, and he may be the leader after a half mile. I think that will be his best chance to win, get in front and make em catch you. Sire Lemon Drop Kid won this event so the distance should be manageable so long as Alan Garcia can control his pace.

Dunkirk has the talent but ran poorly in the Kentucky Derby which will give his backers better odds today. Unfortunately for him, he has a similar style as Mine That Bird, who has proved himself the past two races. Dunkirk will be fresher having skipped the Preakness and does get the services of Pletcher's regular jockey John Velazquez. He'll need to be in front of Mine That Bird close to the leaders (if not leading) for a chance to win. This analysis is similar for the 1 Chocolate Candy, but he'll need to take a step forward to win this, while Dunkirk will need to repeat his race in the Florida Derby.

If any horse is gonna steal this one it could be Miner's Escape who won the Federico Tesio at Pimlico on Derby Day by 4 1/2. Trainer Nick Zito knows more than anyone the New York track, and upset the field in the Belmont with Da'Tara last year going wire-to-wire with a less than stellar looking colt. He'll have to take a huge leap forward and get a perfect ride, but at 15-1 he's a good longshot pick.

The Pick: It'll probably be a popular pick but I think Charitable Man is a better bet than Mine That Bird who'll go off near even money. I like Mine That Bird second and Miner's Escape 3rd. Click Here to Read More..