Looks like the race for top three-year-old just got blown wide open after that race yesterday. The favorites entered the ring and looked like they couldn't even compete with the New York Monster. The anticipated heavyweight fight between Shackleford and Animal Kingdom looked more like a featherweight fight as Animal Kingdom never had a shot after stumbling out of the gate and Shackleford faded down the stretch once again. It was the 24-1 shot, Ruler On Ice who came out on top, being only the second gelding since 1985 to take the Belmont Stakes.
So, here we are the day after the race, puzzled, confused, mystified, or you can just fill in the blank with your own adjective. Looking back at the past performances, I'm left scratching my head as to how the top two finishers (abysmal speed ratings heading into this race) overcame the monster and the rest of the field.
Does past experience on a sloppy track really come into play that much (if yesterday taught us anything then definitely)? If Animal Kingdom had not of stumbled out of the gate and almost thrown his rider would he have taken the race with ease (probably so)? You can play the what if game all you want and question your picks till you drive yourself crazy. All you can do is try to learn from the race, forget about your loses and move on to the next one. Like I told my friend who was heckling me for my blown picks this past race, "You can't win 'em all or I wouldn't be having to go into work on Monday morning."
The Triple Crown races are over, which will give me and my wallet a breather for a month or so. There is still an exciting summer ahead as most of these three-year-olds prepare themselves for the $1 million Travers Stakes, also known as the famed Midsummer Classic at the end of August. Not to mention, NBC teams up with Saratoga starting at the end of July to televise seven weekends of horse racing coverage all the way through Labor Day. Check back in July and I will have my picks for some stakes races this summer leading up to the Travers.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Well, the kids are out of school and the temperatures are already climbing into the 90's in most parts of the country. Which means that Summer is upon us and the Belmont Stakes is only a few days away. A dozen horses take the post this coming Saturday to take on the monster trip in New York. Out of the twelve, the top seven finishers in the Derby are back for a rematch (the first time this has ever happened).
Many are dubbing this a rubber match between the Derby winner, Animal Kingdom and the Preakness winner Shackleford. Even AK's owner Barry Irwin and Shakleford's trainer, Dale Romans have already taken verbal jabs at each other this week. With the Triple Crown out of the picture, this is shaping up to be a heavyweight prize fight, with the winner holding a slight edge of being the top three-year-old heading into the Summer.
2011 Belmont Stakes Picks:
Animal Kingdom: 2-1 ML favorite, just as he was in the Preakness. Since this horses first race on dirt he has taken off and not looked back.
Nehro: Finished second in his last three races. Improved speed ratings each time out. Coming in fresh off a five week layoff.
Mucho Macho Man: He was Mr. Consistency until the Preakness three weeks ago but threw a shoe. Finished third in the Derby and was closing on Nehro.
Master Of Hounds: First race on dirt was the Derby and worked his way through traffic coming from 15th to finish fifth. He is also fresh after skipping the Preakness.
Animal Kingdom: Has shown that he is a step above the rest of the field. Closing in his last two races, he was pulling away from the field in the Derby and just ran out of room in the Preakness. Bred for the distance, the Belmont should pose no problems for the Derby winner.
This race is a monster at 1 1/2 miles and has a history of craziness. While I will be confident heading to the window this coming Saturday, I would not at all be surprised to see any of the top seven Derby finishers take this race based on the history of the Belmont. Good luck to all and feel free to leave your comments....