It all the time occurs with the Belmont Stakes, particularly when the Triple Crown is a goner.
Right after the Preakness, there’s speak of a full area, of even utilizing the auxiliary gate for the second time ever. Then a few defections come earlier than Memorial Day weekend. No downside. There will nonetheless be loads of pleasure.
Finally comes the day of the draw, and the race fizzles just like the Comet Kohoutek, the astronomical dud of 1973 that was supposed to make us neglect about Secretariat. How did that work out?
The Kentucky Derby winner won’t be right here, whoever it’s. Medina Spirit is equina non grata, thanks to the New York Racing Association’s padlock, to which Bob Baffert will not be being given the important thing. Heir obvious Mandaloun is getting ready for the little Pegasus subsequent month at Monmouth Park, the higher to match his distance limitations.
The higher, too, not to present up Essential Quality. Mandaloun’s stablemate from the Brad Cox barn would be the favourite Saturday within the Belmont. The morning line written by David Aragona of TimeformUS says 2-1. One international bookmaker made him 11-4 after the draw that put Essential Quality into the two gap towards seven rivals.
That’s proper. Seven. There have not been so few horses within the Belmont since American Pharoah scared off all however seven overmatched opponents in 2015. Who is scaring everybody off this yr? Maybe it’s simply the cartoon character carrying the shovel on the quarter pole to smash within the face of anybody or something daring to go 1 ¹/₂ miles.
It’s a wasteland for worth hunters. That is except a horseplayer dares to have a look at a protracted shot that’s in over his head. Bourbonic (15-1 morning line) bought his quarter-hour of fame down the street at Aqueduct, successful the Wood Memorial. Also from the Todd Pletcher secure, Overtook (20-1) has a maiden win in 5 begins. The two of them mix to appear to be area fillers.
Bless the center of France Go De Ina (30-1), however right here he appears to be like like a vacationer in Times Square getting sucked right into a recreation of Three-card Monte.
That leaves 5 horses for which a legitimate case could also be made for successful the Belmont.
No. 2 Essential Quality (2-1): He is by Tapit, the sire answerable for three of the final six winners of the 1 ¹/₂-mile Belmont. He additionally has the right type for successful this race. Sit simply off the lead, then pounce on the far flip earlier than the quarter pole. Maybe Bruno De Julio, the clocker for whom I do podcast work, was proper. Maybe the 2 hours between waterings of the principle observe at Churchill Downs saved any horse from closing within the Kentucky Derby. On one other observe possibly Essential Quality will get the job finished. Maybe a observe like “Big Sandy” at Belmont Park.
No. 3 Rombauer (3-1): Closers don’t normally do effectively on the Belmont, nor do Preakness horses getting back from the three weeks since Baltimore. Being by Twirling Candy out of Cowboy Cal mare would possibly imply that he’s bred to go 1½ miles. But the aforementioned De Julio warns there are holes in Rombauer’s pedigree, as a result of his grandsire Candy Ride is from South America, the place information will not be co-mingled with these from North America. All that makes him really feel like an underlay, which might occur with Preakness winners.
No. 4 Hot Rod Charlie (7/2): With two Derby and two Preakness wins, coach Doug O’Neill wants solely to take the Belmont to full his profession Triple Crown. There is a case to be made with a proficient jockey like Flavien Prat, who leaves Rombauer to reclaim the journey he had ending third at Churchill Downs. There can be his pace-chasing type. There is that indefatigable query about fatigue, although. Can he get the 1½ miles? That is the large query for the entire area. It appears significantly so on this case.
No. 7 Rock Your World (9/2): The outdated dirt-in-the-face rap won’t go away for John Sadler’s would-be pacesetter within the Derby. He beat solely two horses in Louisville, however getting pinballed at the beginning left him consuming dust for the primary time in a profession spent totally on turf. He is ideally drawn for Sadler and jockey Joel Rosario. If he leads the entire means, he would be part of American Pharoah, Justify and Da’ Tara, the 38-1 spoiler of Big Brown’s 2008 social gathering, as the one gate-to-wire winners this century.
No. 6 Known Agenda (6-1): As extra of a mid-pack horse, he isn’t the deep nearer Rombauer is, so the very best of Pletcher’s Belmont trio would appear to have each probability to replicate his Florida Derby victory. The downside is he’s in the identical area as Essential Quality. Like Rombauer, he might have a torrid tempo forward of him. Being by Curlin out of a Byron mare, he could have the genes to run all day, or not less than for 12 furlongs. This is the one that appears, sounds and smells like worth.