Liking Your Chances
Have you ever wondered why horseracing rarely makes it on the highlight reels of your nightly sports show? It really does make for amazing television, especially when you consider the length of the action. You could easily hold anyone’s attention if you were to show Secretariat’s 1973 Belmont Stakes victory in its entirety, which lasted a whole two minutes and twenty four seconds. Even today’s attention deficit disorder generation can have their eyes peeled from start to swift finish. Is that not enough of a reason to brush up on today’s Belmont Stakes race betting odds?
While horse racing involves literally running around in circles, finding the latest Belmont Stakes race betting odds doesn’t have to be difficult. Making your picks might be a little more complicated, but you can up your game by paying attention to what happens earlier in the racing season. At least pay attention to the famous Kentucky Derby and Baltimore’s Preakness Stakes. You can’t expect to win by embracing a losing strategy, which is why information happens to be king. It won’t take you long to learn the ropes. You can take the reins before you know what that even means.
Belmont Stakes race betting odds can be volatile but they tend to stabilize the closer you get to the big day. If you are the kind of sports fan who loves facts then you probably know that last year was a completely different kind of nail biter. While many racing fans were counting on greeting I’ll Have Another in the winner’s circle to celebrate triple crown history, the horse suffered an injury the day before the race. I suppose being scratched is better than a catastrophe during the race, even if epic proportions are all the rage these days.
Where It Happens
You’ve probably heard that real estate witticism that the three most important things about a prospective property are location, location, and location. While that is obviously an exaggeration, especially when the reality of things like financial constraints comes into play, the repetition is still more than justified. You always need to know where you want to be. Otherwise you could easily end up on some sort of road to nowhere, which is likely less charming than the path less travelled. Still, it’s worth realizing that the end of the road doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Take the triple crown of thoroughbred horseracing as an example. The winding road that gets you to the culmination is always worth the ride, and more so when you know the Belmont Stakes location like the back of your hand.
If your calendar reads Saturday June 8, 2013, then you’ll want to direct your eyes to the actual Belmont Stakes location in scenic Belmont Park. Whether you prefer to turn on the National Broadcasting Company’s feed of the race or would rather visit 2150 Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont, New York, you can count on your eyeballs being fixated on the one and a half mile track. It’s almost hard to believe that the pinnacle racing event takes place just twenty miles from Wall Street. It turns out there’s more than one way to make ends meet in the Empire State.
The Belmont Stakes location has remained the same since 1905, although there was a hiatus due to anti-gambling laws in the State of New York. It’s also worth noting that the horses used to run around the track in a clockwise fashion, which is common across the pond. These days anything other than counter-clockwise just looks absurd. I guess it just depends what you are used to.
Triple Crown Hopeful, I’ll Have Another, Out Of Belmont Stakes
Earlier Friday, a spokesman for trainer Doug O’Neill told the “Dan Patrick Show” that I’ll Have Another was out, citing swelling in one of the horse’s legs.
“I’ll Have Another is officially out of the Belmont,” O’Neill told the radio show. “He galloped great yesterday, and in the afternoon he had a little bit of swelling in his left front leg.
“This morning, he looked perfect. I took him out and I just did a little something with him. After training, that swelling came back.
“I had the vet come over. He scanned his left front leg. He’s got the start of tendinitis going on in that front leg, so he’s not 100%. And we ain’t taking any chances.”
O’Neill told the show that he didn’t know how the horse became injured.
“Pulling him out, it’s not tragic, but it’s a huge disappointment. (I’m) just so disappointed for the horse, obviously, and … the whole team.
The 144th Belmont Stakes: Pretenders, Maybes and Contenders
I’ll Have Another undoubtedly will be heavily favored in the 144th Belmont Stakes on Saturday like seven of the past 11 horses since 1979 that had a shot at immortality.
But those odds-on favorites failed to visit the winner’s circle at the end of 1 ½ miles. They finished second three times, third twice, fourth and ninth.
The closest to pulling it off was Real Quiet in 1998 that fell a nose short.
Seven of the past 11 horses since 1979 that had a shot at immortality also were odds-on favorites, but finished second three times, third twice, fourth and ninth.
The closest to pulling it off was Real Quiet in ’98. He opened a big lead in the stretch, but lost a photo finish to the late-closing Victory Gallop, who prevailed by a nose. Other closers that have won during the past 20 years include Jazil, ’06; Birdstone,’04; Editor’s Note, ’96; and Colonial Affair. ’93.
First, the Pretenders: Maiden-only winners head this list. Five Sixteen is one for six. Guyana Star Dweej is one for nine. Optimizer is one for 11. Both lack class and speed.
A bit on the slow side are Atigun, who is two for five this year, but both victories were in optional claiming races; Ravelo’s Boy scored in an optional claimer after breaking his maiden; and Unstoppable U, undefeated in two career starts at the bottom level.
The lone Maybe is Street Life, who improved immensely to finish third in the Peter Pan. The well-bred son of ’07 Kentucky Derby champ Street Sense won twice this year, but the furthest was 1 1/16 miles. He’d need a perfect trip.
The Contenders are:
Union Rags, who skipped the Preakness after a horrible trip right from the start of the Kentucky Derby when he broke tardily from the gate and was shuffled back almost 20 lengths behind pacesetter Bodemeister. He ran a credible seventh. The son of Dixie Union has tactical speed and scored in the ’11 Champagne at Belmont Park, winning by 5 ¼ lengths. He boasts four triple digit speed figures in his past four trips.
Dullahan, winner of the Blue Grass, came from far back at Churchill Downs to finish third. The son of Even the Score scored twice on synthetic surfaces, but is winless in two dirt trips. But he is dangerous and should hit the board,
Paynter is my longshot for several reasons. The lightly raced son of Awesome Again is bred for distance and has two victories in four outings. He registered triple digit speed numbers in his past two routes. And he stays a bit closer to the front than most of the field.
I’ll Have Another, undefeated this year in four outings, has a good chance of becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in ’78. The son of Flower Alley, Union Rags and Dullahan are the only 3-year-olds in the expected field of 11 that have won a graded stakes race. He saves his best for last, isn’t too far back when turning for home and is the gamest of the runners. Oh, he’s also the winner.
Belmont Stakes Honored Track Founder’s Old Friend
Flamboyant financier Leonard W. Jerome and well-heeled friends, including banker August Belmont Sr., built a racetrack in the Bronx that opened on Sept. 25, 1866.
The crowd at Jerome Park, named for its founder, included Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and members of New York’s fashionable society. It was the first track to attract women in large numbers. Even the horses were chic – ribbons of owners’ colors were braided into their manes and tails.
On opening day, Jerome’s horse Kentucky visited the winner’s circle and the owner hoisted 12-year-old daughter Jennie on his shoulders.
Jerome and Belmont also founded the American Jockey Club, which later evolved into the Jockey Club. It was said of the pair at the time, “People like Belmont and Jerome do not enter society, they create it as they go along.”
Jerome Park was an English-style track that required runners to negotiate three turns because of a dip in mid-backstretch while racing clockwise.
On June 19, 1867, a stakes named for Jerome’s closest friend was first staged. The Belmont went to the filly Ruthless, victorious over three horses.
When the track closed 22 years later to make way for a reservoir needed by the New York City water supply system, the Belmont Stakes moved in 1890 to Morris Park in the Bronx. The winner: Burlington over eight challengers.
In 1905, the race was shifted to a new track in Elmont, N.Y., built by several business partners including August Belmont II. The winner: Tanya, a filly that defeated six rivals.
Since then the race has been staged at Belmont Park except for 1963-67 when it was held at Aqueduct while the track was being rebuilt.
Belmont traditions range from something old and something new to something borrowed and something blue.
Something old: One tradition lost to modern times is the winner’s colors being painted on the picket fence of Esposito’s Tavern near the track until it became a church.
In 1921, Grey Lag won the first Belmont run counter-clockwise.
The race sometimes is known as the “Run for the Carnations” because a blanket of white carnations, between 300 and 400, is draped over the winner’s shoulders. The flowers, glued on a green velveteen cloth, come from California or Bogotá, Columbia.
Because the race is 1 ½ miles, the longest of the three Triple Crown events, it’s also known as the “Test of the Champions.”
Something real old: The giant 300-year-old white pine in the paddock is featured in the Belmont Park logo.
Something borrowed: The official Belmont song “Sidewalks of New York” was replaced in 1997 by “New York, New York” made famous by Frank Sinatra. The reason: management believed it would be more familiar to a bigger audience.
Something blue: Anti-betting legislation was passed in New York State, closing Belmont and canceling the race for two years, 1911-12.
Something new: In 1997, track officials added a cast iron horse and jockey 4 feet high in the saddling area. Both are painted the colors of each year’s winner.
In 1998, the Belmont Breeze was made official drink of the race. The main ingredients: whiskey and sherry.
An interesting footnote: Jennie Jerome and her two sisters spent much time in Europe thanks to their father’s wealth. On the Isle of Wight, Jennie met Lord Randolph Churchill. In 1874, they were married at the British Embassy in Paris.
They produced two grandsons for Jerome. The oldest was Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Another 3-Year-Old Chases Elusive Triple Crown
Nineteen times the racing gods crushed dreams since 1944 when Pensive lost by a half-length to Bounding Home. Actually, Belmont Park has been the Graveyard of Champions, even more so than Saratoga.
Since Affirmed edged Alydar in ’78, I’ve had my fingers crossed 11 times that we’d see another Triple Crown champ.
Back in ’79, Spectacular Bid, the 1-5 favorite in a field of eight, looked unbeatable riding a 12-race winning streak that including seven straight victories as a sophomore.
The son of Bold Bidder, attempting to become the fourth Triple Crown champ during the ’70s, was bumped at the break and fell behind early. However, by the time he hit the stretch he was in command.
But Spectacular Bid weakened in the drive and wound up third. After the race, trainer Doug Delp revealed a safety pin had been found in one of his hooves the morning of the race. That caused a serious infection and the colt was sidelined for a while.
Big Brown was the last 3-year-old with high hopes in ’08 of accomplishing America’s most treasured racing feat. But he failed to finish the 1 ½ miles.
The Belmont Stakes has been staged at three different distances from 1 ¼ to 1 5/8 miles since 1867, when the filly Ruthless won the inaugural by a head.
In 1874, the race was reduced to the current 1 ½ miles and Saxon triumphed by a neck. In 1890-92 and 1895, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown was cut to 1 ¼ miles, the only times it was the same distance as the Kentucky Derby.
From 1896 through 1925, it was boosted to the original 1 5/8 miles, when American Flag scored by eight lengths. Since ’26, when Crusader won by a length, the Belmont has been 1 ½ miles.
The closest finish in recent years came on June 6, 1998, when trainer Bob Baffert had his second of three chances in six years with Real Quiet to saddle a Triple Crown winner.
Up by four lengths at the eighth pole over 10 challengers, the Kentucky Derby-Preakness winner began to shorten stride and bear out, which some experts said would have disqualified him if Victory Gallop hadn’t got his nose in front.
The previous year Silver Charm vied for the lead several times in the seven-horse field before getting in front of Free House during the drive. Then Touch Gold appeared on the far outside in deep stretch and rocketed to the wire first by three-quarters of a length.
In ’02: Baffert’s War Emblem, facing 10 rivals, stumbled and nearly fell to his knees leaving the gate. After working his way from fifth to the lead after six furlongs, he dropped out of contention at the top of the stretch and ran eighth to Sarava, longest shot on the tote board and as the highest-paying horse to win in Belmont history, paying a whopping $142.50 for a $2 win ticket.
By the way, the term ‘‘Triple Crown’’ was coined in 1930 by Charles Hatton when he wrote in the Daily Racing Form about Gallant Fox’s three victories — in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.
143rd Belmont: Derby Runners Dominate Field
Winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness will battle Saturday in the 143rd Belmont Stakes for the first time in six years.
In 2005 Preakness champ Afleet Alex triumphed while Derby upsetter Giacomo finished seventh.
Animal Kingdom, the 2 ¾-length winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby under jockey John Velazquez, is attempting to become the 12th horse in history to complete the Derby-Belmont double.
The feat was last accomplished in ’95 when Thunder Gulch won en route to being crowned that year’s champion 3-year-old colt.
Animal Kingdom is the morning line 2-1 favorite and breaks from post 9. The New York-based Velazquez won the Belmont in ’07 with the filly Rags to Riches.
Shackleford is trying to become the eighth Preakness winner to take the Belmont since Damascus in ’67.
In 21 previous meetings the Preakness winner triumphed 10 times while the Derby champ prevailed five times.
New York oddsmaker Eric Donovan said he considered making Shackleford the second choice off his half-length defeat of Animal Kingdom in the Preakness.
But Donovan said he opted for Nehro as second choice because of questions about Shackleford carrying his speed 1 ½ miles. I agree and don’t expect him to hit the board.
Derby runner-up Nehro, who breaks from post 6, is 4-1 while Shackleford, fourth after setting the pace at Churchill Downs, breaks from the outside 12 post and is the early third choice at 9-2.
Eight of the dozen entries in the Belmont ran in the Derby. For the first time in history, the top seven finishers will contest the Belmont.
The other Derby runners include Mucho Macho Man, third; Irish invader Master of Hounds, fifth; Santiva, sixth, Brilliant Speed, seventh; and Stay Thirsty, 12th.
The largest field to compete in the third leg of the Triple Crown was 15 in ’83 when Caveat defeated Slew O’ Gold by 3 1/2 lengths.
The second largest field was 14 quite a few decades apart: In 1875 Calvin beat Aristides, a stablemate who that year captured the inaugural edition of the Kentucky Derby, while in 1996 Editor’s Note was a length winner over Skip Away.
Mucho Macho Man might step up, but has had bad luck with shoes. He gets new ones — a set of synthetic glue-ons — after losing his left front shoe in the Louisiana Derby and a right front shoe in the Preakness.
He’s worth including in exotics at 10-1. So is Brilliant Speed, one of the best bred for distance, at 15-1.
Nehro, 4-1, could finish second for the fourth straight time. I’m forced to use him underneath is trifectas.
Ah, but my main horse is Animal Kingdom, the only runner that has a pair of triple digit speed figures in his last two trips. Remember he’s lightly raced: 3-3-0 of 6.
I plan to key Animal Kingdom in exactas and trifectas and hope Mucho Macho Man and Brilliant Speed finish in the money. Saver bets will include win wagers on both longshots.
Animal Kingdom opens as 2-1 favorite for Saturday’s Belmont
Unfortunately we don’t have a shot at ending horse racing’s Triple Crown drought on Saturday at the Belmont Stakes, but horse racing fans are expecting another great duel between Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and Shackleford, who edged Animal Kingdom in the Preakness Stakes.
Animal Kingdom, as expected, has opened as the 2-1 favorite on WagerWeb.com for Saturday’s race but Shackleford is not the second choice. Nehro, second in the Derby, is 4-1. Shackleford opens at 9-2 and will break from the outside post at No. 12. He is expected to be among the pacesetters as he was in the first two races.
“It’s all right. He’ll be the last one in the gate and hopefully the first one out of it,” said Dale Romans, trainer of Shackleford. “It’s probably going to have to make us send him a little more leaving there than we might have. But he’s fast enough, he should be able to break and clear everybody anyway.”
Animal Kingdom starts from Post 9, which suited his camp just fine. Twelve horses have won the Derby and Belmont but Thunder Gulch in 1995 was the last to take the two races. The last horse to win the Preakness and Belmont was Afleet Alex in 2005.
Graham Motion, trainer of Animal Kingdom, was grateful not to have drawn a post that would force his horse’s hand. As was the case with the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Motion was hoping the chestnut colt could avoid being stuck on either the rail or the extreme outside so that he is allowed to settle wherever he is comfortable behind the pace.
“I don’t think (the No. 12) is a great post,” Motion said. “For one, you’re right in front of the grandstand and it’s kind of an awkward spot to be loaded. It’s not that long a run to the first turn so you kind of have to get in position. But I’d like to think it would be these two horses (Animal Kingdom and Shackleford) coming down the stretch.”
The Belmont field (from the rail out): Masters of Hounds, 10-1; Stay Thirsty, 20-1; Rule on Ice, 20-1; Santiva (15-1); Brilliant Speed (15-1); Nehro (4-1); Monzon (30-10); Prime Cut (20-1); Animal Kingdom (2-1); Mucho Macho Man (10-1); Isn’t He Perfect (30-1); Shackleford (9-2).