Saturday, June 6, 2015

Belmont Stakes - Triple Crown Edition

Belmont Park – June 6, 2015
Race 11 - 6:50 PM
Belmont Stakes (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And One Half Miles
Surface – Dirt

1 – Mubtaahij
2 – Tale of the Verve
3 – Made from Lucky
4 – Frammento
5 – American Pharoah
6 – Frosted
7 – Keen Ice
8 – Materiality

When I first began writing about horse racing my goals were to learn about horse racing and share what I was learning with other casual fans who may not know much about the sport – another goal of mine was to continue writing until I had followed a Triple Crown winner……and over the past years, accomplishing the latter goal has felt like this:

In 2008 I really thought Big Brown was a lock to win the Triple Crown, but due to equipment failure he was unable to complete the race.

2012 brought the rise of I’ll Have Another  – however an injury before the Belmont prevented him from even entering the race.

And finally last year came the California favorite – California Chrome, who sustained an injury at the beginning of the race and finished 4th in the Belmont, likely due to the discomfort of the injury.

The Belmont has been a lot of Badluck the past few years --- however #5 American Pharoah will suit up today and hopefully bring home the first Triple Crown in almost 40 years.

American Pharoah has only lost one race – and it was the first race of his career. Since then he has been magnificent – twice he has defeated opponents on a sloppy track in pouring rain.

He’s shown a fighters quality down the stretch when rivals were looking to steal away his victory and he runs with a maturity that is uncommon for his age.

In other words – if you’re looking for a Triple Crown contender who’s got it all – look no further than American Pharoah.

His biggest challengers today are fatigue and the daunting distance of this race.

For those who don’t follow horse racing – these horses have never run a mile and ½ before – it is likely the longest distance they’ll ever run in their careers.

Also  – out of this group of horses, only American Pharoah has raced three times (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and The Belmont) in 5 weeks -- most of the time these horse will run once a month at most!

Looking at his competition –

#1 Mubtaahij – concerns me the most – he had a terrible Kentucky Derby, but this horse may have the best breeding and training for the Belmont Distance. This horse closes  swiftly like he’s got warp speed – so he could be the real heartbreaker in this one......he's also an Irish horse -- and for some reason the Irish horses are always trouble.

#2 Tale of the Verve – finished a distant 2nd in the Preakness Stakes behind American Pharoah – Tale of the Verve only has 1 victory in 7 attempts – maybe the ownership thinks he’s got the distance in this one?

#3 Madefromlucky – won the Peter Pan Stakes here at Belmont a month ago – he’s been defeated twice by American Pharoah already (finishing 2nd in the Rebel, and 4th in the Arkansas Derby) – I think Madefromlucky could be a real contender to finish in the top three.

#4 Frammento – 30/1 longshot, who finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby – and he has 1 career victory.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
would like to order a
 Frosted, Keen Iced
#6 Frosted – finished 4th in the Kentucky Derby  but was closing in on the top three at the wire. If American Pharoah is fatigued, I agree with the general consensus (Frosted is the second favorite) that  Frosted certainly could be one of the horses to contend for a victory – however this horse only has 2 victories in 8 attempts.

#7 Keen Ice finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby and has 1 victory in 8 attempts.

#8 Materiality – finished 6th in the Kentucky Derby – however the Kentucky Derby was this horse’s only loss in 4 attempts. I don’t know if this horse has the distance in him, but I think Materiality could be the horse that pushes American Pharoah today.

The Belmont is Coming........
As a horse racing enthusiast and American Pharoah fan – I’m hoping for a Triple Crown victory today…..the smart handicapper would likely tell you that the Belmont Stakes will once again crush my hopes ----like George R.R. Martin was writing it’s outcome –

But this blog was designed for a Triple Crown victory… ---

Closing Speed likes:  American Pharoah,  Mubtaahij, Frosted

If I'm betting $26 today --

$6 Exacta Box - Frosted, Keen Ice and Frammento (because fate would just love to kick me in the shins and have my imaginary Cheetah make the right call on this one).

$5 to win on numbers #1, #2, #3 and #8.