On Saturday, June 6th, the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes for 3YOs will be taking place at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY, out on Long Island. The distance is the grueling 1 1/2 miles, which gives the race the nickname, ” the Test of a Champion.” It is the only 1 1/2 mile race for 3YOs, and the winner get a blanket of white carnations across his/her withers.
The Belmont Stakes is also the last leg of the Triple Crown, which is the toughest accomplishment in all of sports to achieve.
Before I get to all of that, I want to start by saying that as a racing fan, I want to see American Pharoah pull it off. I have been a racing fan since 1977. I have been very blessed to have three horses win the Triple Crown in my lifetime. I was about 5 1/2 when Secretariat won, so I don’t remember him. I had to learn about him later. The twoTriple Crown winners that I actually saw win were Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978. The Slew became the first hero that I ever had, and Alydar, who finished 2nd to Affirmed in all 3 Triple Crown races, made me fall in love with the sport. Alydar is my all-time favorite racehorse.
Anyway, I have since followed the sport seriously, and through all the near misses (Spectacular Bid, Alysheba, California Chrome, etc.) I hope that today’s generation gets to see a Triple Crown. I am not saying this because I think a Triple Crown will save the sport, because it won’t save it, but that’s another story. Seeing a Triple Crown happen is thrilling. It is so awesome seeing a 3YO horse win three races at three different tracks with different surfaces, at different distances in 5 weeks. I remember when I was 9 and 10 years old, when Seattle Slew and Affirmed accomplished the feat. Thirty-seven years later, we have fans in their 20s who have never seen a Triple Crown happen in their lifetime.
Now, I will get down to business, and analyze this field. As one who is a blogger, I have to discuss these horses seriously. I also have to give my opinion on trying to beat American Pharoah. We are dealing with an 8 horse field. Several of these horses faced American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby, but have skipped the Preakness. Since there are only 8 horses, I think I am going to analyze one horse at a time. I will then give my prediction for the Belmont Stakes.
EVENT: BELMONT STAKES 147
WHERE: Belmont Park
TIME: 4:30PM-7:00PM, EST
POST TIME: 6:50PM
Link to the field: Field set for 147th Belmont Stakes http://thisishorseracing.com/news/index.php/racing-news/3166-field-set-for-147th-belmont-stakes
ANALYSIS OF THE FIELD:
Mubtaahij ran a rather disappointing 8th in the Kentucky Derby, considering his fantastic run in the UAE Derby in Dubai. However, he’s been training at Belmont Park, and his times have looked pretty good. He has been working quite frequently at the track, which is not abnormal for him. Like usual, Mubtaahij runs without Lasix, and will have a new rider, Irad Ortiz, Jr. The horse’s regular jockey had a prior commitment. Ortiz also rides at Belmont Park, so that should boost Mubtaahij’s chances. I would use in exotic betting at the very least.
2. Tale of Verve
Preakness Stakes runner up Tale of Verve is still a question mark to me. I don’t know if the sloppy track at Pimlico Racecourse, which caused problems for Firing Line and Dortmund, helped Tale of Verve do better than he would have or not. Before the Preakness , he was eligible for Maiden Special Weights. Trainer Dallas Stewart and jockey Gary Stevens must think this horse belongs. Tale of Verve has the pedigree to go 1 1/2 miles. I’m not sure that he’s got the talent.
Here’s the winner of the 61st running of the Peter Pan Stakes, trained by Todd Pletcher. This horse, sired by Looking at Lucky, has the pedigree to win the Belmont Stakes. It will be interesting to see if MadefromLucky can do what Tonalist did, and be the second Peter Pan winner in a row to spoil a Triple Crown bid.
I also would watch out for the Pletcher horses in this race. Pletcher won the Belmont Stakes in 2007 with Rags to Riches and in 2013 with Palice Malice. Pletcher horses have been second in a few other editions. I would consider this in your handicapping. Personally, I am not sure about this particular horse. His Peter Pan race was good. I don’t see a Tonalist type of a horse, though.
Frammento is trained by Nicholas P. Zito. Frammento’s morning line odds are 30-1. I am guessing that they’re going to be huge at post time, even with jockey legend Mike Smith aboard. Frammento’s been training at Saratoga Springs for the Belmont. His past performances don’t suggest that he’s going to be much of a threat to beat American Pharoah, or even hit the board. However, if you pay attention to past history, Nicholas P. Zito has been known to upset a Crown attempt, or two. He upset Big Brown with Da’Tara in 2008 and Smarty Jones in 2004 with Birdstone. Both horses were over 30-1. If you like longshots, this is your horse.
5. American Pharoah
Well, here we have the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner. Will he make history? He has never raced at Belmont Park, before. Much has been made about that, and the fact that the horse is not training there. I think that Bob Baffert knows what is best for the horse, and that’s that. The horse is either going to like the track, or he won’t. California Chrome trained at Belmont Park, and that didn’t work out so well (save the excuses.). American Pharoah has looked phenomenal at his workouts, and has looked great at Belmont. I do worry about his jockey, Victor Espinoza, who also rode California Chrome. Espinoza has a terrible record at Belmont. I hope that Espinoza doesn’t get into a duel, or go too soon. Concerning American Pharoah’s pedigree, which on his dam’s side, it is a bit sprinty, I have concerns as to whether horse can get the distance . He just might be a freak. You must use him.
Frosted has gotten a lot of attention from people to play the role of spoiler. Some of the same people said this horse was going to win the Kentucky Derby also. In that race, he was a fast closing 4th, off of dawdling fractions. Frosted been training great at Belmont Park, and has the pedigree to go the distance. I am not sure though. Frosted comes across to me as a “wiseguy” horse, and I get a feeling of “Fool me once..” sort of vibe. I would use him in exotic betting based upon his performance in the Derby, but I am not sure he wins.
7. Keen Ice
Materiality is one of the horses that will be providing the speed in the race, besides American Pharoah. I’m guessing that this horse will try to get pressure on American Pharoah. Materiality did finish 6th in the Kentucky Derby. If Materiality runs back to his Florida Derby race, he could be trouble for American Pharoah.
While the horses in the Florida Derby weren’t the greatest, and there was the non-call by the stewards at Gulfstream Park , I saw a Materiality that was tenacious. He could wear down American Pharoah, and set it up for a horse like Frosted. Do I think he’s that talented, or that much of a threat? I know he’s trained by Todd Pletcher, but I don’t think so.
This is a solid field of horses. American Pharoah is facing horses that he’s already beaten, but they are rested. If there’s going to be an upset, I am sure that it will be one of them. Yes, it is fair, because a Triple Crown winner must overcome everything thrown at him/her. From my analysis, and study, as much as I have been trying to beat American Pharoah in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, I fell flat on my face both times. There are horses that have a shot, but I think that if American Pharoah is on his game, he’s going to be the next Triple Crown winner. He’s the best horse in the race.
The horse that I predict will win the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes is American Pharoah.
Upset Possibles: Mubtaahij, Frosted, Materiality
Longshot Recommendation: Frammento
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