Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Belmont Picks

Same drill as before.

10. Miner's Escape PP9, 99-1, 15-1
I don't know how you make this horse 15-1. Never has run in a graded stakes. I can only assume that the morning handicapper was getting confused with Mine That Bird or something. I think it's interesting that this horse made its debut at Saratoga Springs last August with Charitable Man (more on him in a moment). Miner's Escape finished 28 lengths behind Charitable Man and took until this past March to win his first race. Yeah, 15-1. Please.

9. Mr. Hot Stuff PP3, 27-1, 15-1
I commented before the Derby how I wish Corey Nakatani was taking the mount on Mr. Hot Stuff. Edgar Prado rode him instead. Prado is riding him again. Had a couple nice workouts recently but I think he's overmatched.

8. Summer Bird PP4, 18-1, 12-1
Kent Desormeaux will get the ride for the first time. Summer Bird is a nice horse. This is a field full of horses who like to come from behind and I don't think Summer Bird is up to par.

7. Luv Gov PP5, 16-1, 20-1
I mocked Luv Gov's appearance in the Preakness but he ran a good race. Finished 8th and a good way back but with Miguel Mena, the only jockey to win a race (out of 11 tries) on this horse, I'd be putting Luv Gov in the bottom of trifectas.

6. Dunkirk PP2, 12-1, 4-1
My favorite in the Derby and now I have him all the way back here? Prado and Gomez, both of whom have won on him, are riding other horses. Never a good sign. Ugly workout on Sunday. Too few performances to outright get rid of the awful Derby performance, even with the weather conditions. Not going to get paid for the unknowns so why risk it?

5. Chocolate Candy PP1, 11-1, 10-1
I have him 5th but I'll be betting him. I like the whole setup. I think this distance and pace will be comfortable for him and you can't say that for many horses. I like Garrett Gomez being his jockey. I like the post position. I like the time off and the workout structure during that time. Only thing I don't like is the lack of a breakout performance indicating Triple Crown ability. I think this could be that race.

4. Flying Private PP8, 10-1, 12-1
Everything I said above, reverse for Flying Private. You know from the previous races how little I think of this horse. He had a strong run in the Preakness but still fell way short. He and Mine That Bird are the only ones running all three Triple Crown Races. That's tough. Being a poor field, I think you have to have him in the exotics but there's no way I'm betting him to win.

3. Brave Victory, PP10, 10-1, 15-1
Nick Zito has trained 20 horses that have run in the Belmont Stakes. 11 of them have finished in the money. Consistent performer but hasn't raced in higher stakes (not that many of these horses qualify). If you're a believer in Nick Zito (I am), you should take a flyer on Brave Victory. Probably the best return/risk ratio you'll get.

2. Mine That Bird, PP7, 7-2, 2-1
This race is really interesting. My math models do not agree with my personal analysis. It has to do with the fact the Belmont is so freaking long. It takes a special horse to be able to run a mile and a half. It takes an even more special horse to do it after having run the Derby and Preakness not too long before. Then to ask the same horse to try and win the Belmont? Is Mine That Bird a special horse? I don't think so. My models do. He's not 2-1 in my mind. He's due for a regressive performance.

1. Charitable Man, PP6, 5-2, 3-1
This is the race his connections have had on their minds since April. He'll set the pace and I don't think any horse other than Chocolate Candy will be happy with it over this distance.

If I play the exotics it will be Chocolate Candy to win, Charitable Man and Dunkirk to place, those two, Luv Gov, Mine That Bird, Brave Victory and Flying Private to show. That's a $20 trifecta bet if you want to bet them all equally. I could put Brave Victory in the second slot as well, maybe.

Charitable Man is the horse to beat, though. So if you want the high probability bet, take him.

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