Thursday, June 5, 2014

Belmont Stakes Preview

It has been a long 36 years since Affirmed captured the Derby, Preakness and Belmont back in 1978. There have been 12 other horses since then that have entered the Belmont with an opportunity to win all three races, but ultimately came up short. Fans are longing to see another three-year-old accomplish horse racing's toughest test, while some are just hoping to witness a Triple Crown winner for the first time. Come Saturday, California Chrome will attempt a feat that only 11 others have been able to pull off before him. The 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes is all that stands in the way of the California-bred and racing immortality. Will he break the 36-year drought or join the list of 12 others that have failed to reel in that elusive crown since '78?

Spectacular Bid (1979), Pleasant Colony (1981), Alysheba (1987), Sunday Silence (1989), Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Charismatic (1999), War Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003), Smarty Jones (2004), Big Brown (2008) and I'll Have Another (2012).

Belmont Stakes(G1)
6/7 Belmont @ 6:52 EST

5 Ride On Curlin 12-1

Finished 7th in the Derby despite a rough trip in his only race off the board in 11 starts. Ran second to California Chrome by 1 1/2 lengths in the Preakness, but was not catching the winner that day at 1 3/16 miles. The son of Curlin shouldn't have an issue going the added distance and will have another shot at running down the Triple Crown hopeful on Saturday. Still looking for his first stakes win, but last year Palace Malice (Curlin) didn't capture his first stakes until the Belmont. Continues to improve and I like him to pull off the upset.

2 California Chrome 3-5

All eyes and money will be on the Derby and Preakness winner as he tries to do what may be the hardest stunt to pull off in sports. Nothing to knock about this colt as he enters the Belmont on a six-race win streak. Had him on top in the Preakness, but Saturday is a different monster and I predict he will get run down in the stretch. I hope I am wrong, because I would love nothing more than to see my first Triple Crown winner on Saturday. 

1 Medal Count 20-1

I know, he's better on turf/poly and has finished off the board in all three starts over the dirt. That being said, he's by Dynaformer and a horse named Brilliant Speed (Dynaformer), who was better on the grass, finished 3rd in the 2011 Belmont. Got squeezed shortly after the start in the Derby and still made a move turning for home, but had to check in midstretch ending his run. Posted a six-furlong bullet in 1:10 3/5 the other day and enters in here rested. Tough to throw out when running this far. 

9 Wicked Strong 6-1

Broke his maiden over this track and captured the Wood Memorial (G1) two starts back. Lost all hope in the Derby when he stumbled coming out of gate 19. Still managed to get up for fourth-place and also enters in here fresh after skipping the Preakness. His daddy, Hard Spun could do no better than fourth in this race back in 2007. It wouldn't surprise me if he out does his dad on Saturday though.  

8 Commissioner 20-1

Less talented and slower than many of the others entered in here, but if he can stay close to the lead in the beginning he has an outside shot to run in the money. The Belmont is a quirky race and I would not be shocked to see the son of A.P. Indy grind out 12 furlongs. 

*Tabbed Chrome to win the Preakness and had the cold exacta/trifecta.