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Belmont Stakes Raceday

Belmont Stakes Raceday

Belmont Stakes Raceday
By David Harrison

It could be a historic day at Belmont Park on Saturday, as Big Brown tries to become only the 12th horse ever and the first in 30 years to win the elusive Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes.

Either due to his own dominance or to the questionable strength of the field around him, Big Brown is a huge favorite to win the Belmont at 2/5. It looked like Big Brown’s run at Affirmed - the last Triple Crown winner - might be in jeopardy a few weeks ago after a crack was discovered in his left front foot. However, the crack was found to be very minor and Big Brown went through his regular training regimen without any problems leading up to the Belmont. For added safety a synthetic patch was applied to the hoof on Friday which should all but erase any doubts regarding Big Brown’s health.

Judging by the rest of the odds for the 140th running of the Belmont, the only horse the oddsmakers think has a real chance to upset Big Brown is Casino Drive, listed at 7/2. In his very short racing career Casino Drive is undefeated in two races, both of which were impressive victories. In his maiden, which took place in Japan, Casino Drive utterly destroyed the rest of the field, winning by 11 ½ lengths. In his first race on American soil, Casino Drive won the Peter Pan Stakes by 5 ¾ lengths.

Following Big Brown and Casino Drive on the Belmont odds is a former challenger of Big Brown, Denis of Cork at 12/1. Denis of Cork last raced in the Kentucky Derby and finished third behind Big Brown and the late Eight Belles. Also returning from the Derby field to take another shot at Big Brown is Tale of Ekati at 20/1 and Anak Nakal at 30/1. Tale of Ekati finished fourth in the Derby, while Anak Nakal was seventh.

There will also be two horses from the Preakness Stakes field running in the Belmont. They include Macho Again, a 20/1 Belmont underdog, and Icabad Crane, also listed at 20/1. Macho Again finished as runner-up to Big Brown, while Icabad Crane followed him in third place.

Odds to win Belmont Stakes

Big Brown 2/5
Casino Drive 7/2
Denis of Cork 12/1
Icabad Crane 20/1
Macho Again 20/1
Tale of Ekati 20/1
Anak Nakal 30/1
Da’ Tara 30/1
Ready’s Echo 30/1
Guadalcanal 50/1

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Re: Belmont Stakes Raceday

Belmont Analysis

What a great day for racing. We have a ligitimate shot at the first triple crown winner in 30 years. From a betting standpoint there is not much value and Big Brown is a legitimate odds-on favorite for the final leg. It is hard to go past and quite frankly, as a fan of racing, I dont want to be rooting against the best shot at the honor in 30 years. Here is a quick synoposis of the field from my perspective:

Big Brown: Class of the field. Hoof little worry should handle a pretty weak group of three year olds

Guadalcanal: A maiden against this Big boy; NOPE Macho Again: Trouble in Preakness, still way back.

Denis of Cork: Skipped middle leg after needing the Derby; where he didn't come into the race on best of terms

Casino Drive: Japanese hope is the wildcard but hard to come back here after Peter Pan

Da'Tara: Zito says he'll go to the front, can you spell DOOM

Tale of Ekati: Won slow Wood here, dont like Tagg and a minor share is all I see from this guy

Anak Nakal: Zito's other horse is looking to benefit from fast pace. May be better later in the year

Ready's Echo: 3rd in Peter Pan, another pace factor. Pletcher owns track but dont think this guy is good enough

Icabad Crane: Had some trouble at key point in the Preakness. May be second best here and might have a big one in him; Second Choice

Look, the race is Big Brown's to lose. The pace could be crazy fast and if Kent gets sucked up too far or taken out of his game something strange could happen.

Big Brown is yet to face adversity and have to chase into the stretch. He looks very tough to beat. Icabad Crane had some trouble in last and may have been closer at the end. Because he may be some value and i think he has the best shot at an upset, I will place a few dollars on Icabad Crane to satisfy my 'value' side. Enjoy the races

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Big Brown figures to draw plenty of action for Belmont Stakes

There are several proposition bets for the horse favored to become the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years.

Ten horses are scheduled to compete in today's Belmont Stakes in New York but most attention will be placed on Triple Crown contender Big Brown.

After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, Big Brown is listed as a solid 2-5 favorite to win the Belmont and become the first horse in 30 years to capture the Triple Crown.

For gamblers interested in bigger payouts involving Big Brown in the Belmont, there are numerous proposition bets available at Bodoglife.com. Here are a few of them:

What will Big Brown's margin of victory be? 1-5 lengths (1-4), 6-10 lengths (3-1), or more than 10 lengths (11-1); Which position will Big Brown be at the official quarter mile mark? First or second place (even), third to fifth place (5-7) or sixth place or higher (14-1).

Will Big Brown win going wire to wire? Yes (+450) or No (-750); Will Big Brown take the lead and lose it? Yes (+175) or No (-250); Will Big Brown tie or beat Secretariat's record of a 31-length win in 1973? Yes (+25,000) or No (-50,000).

There are also plenty of prop bets involving other horses in the race, but those involving Casino Drive were removed after it became known he had a hoof injury and was held out of a scheduled workout Friday.

Casino Drive, an early 7-2 second choice, was having the hoof on a hind leg treated with ice and heat.

latimes.com

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Belmont is not a good race for bettors

Expected dominance of Big Brown makes it difficult to put together a profitable combination.

Because of what is on the line, the 140th Belmont Stakes is the most anticipated race of 2008.

With a victory, Big Brown, who has been dominant in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, will become the sport's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

But the Belmont is not a good betting race. Unless, of course, one believes Big Brown is vulnerable.

The recent issue with one of Big Brown's hoofs caused concern for some, but the undefeated colt's solid work on Tuesday seemed to dispel any fears.

The feeling is Big Brown will do his thing Saturday in Elmont, N.Y., succeeding where Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, War Emblem, Funny Cide and Smarty Jones have failed since 1997.

The rail is not the spot Rick Dutrow, Jr. wanted, but at the post position draw on Wednesday morning Big Brown's trainer said that would not cause his horse to lose.

If Big Brown runs anywhere close to the way he did in Kentucky or Maryland, the rest are again running for second.

His instant acceleration in the Preakness was breathtaking, and the race could not have taken much out of him given how jockey Kent Desormeaux had him under wraps nearing the wire.

Big Brown's logical partner in an exacta pick is the undefeated Casino Drive, but the choice here is Denis Of Cork.

A son of Harlan's Holiday who skipped the Preakness after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, Denis Of Cork acts like a colt who wants 1 1/2 miles. He should be finishing while others in the Belmont may be looking for a place to lie down in the final quarter of a mile.

He's also reunited with jockey Robby Albarado, who was aboard for Denis Of Cork's most impressive performance -- a 2 1/4 -length victory in the Southwest at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. on Feb. 18.

Casino Drive, who merits respect, is out of Better Than Honour -- a dam who has produced consecutive Belmont winners, Jazil and Rags To Riches -- so 12 furlongs will not bother the son of former horse of the year Mineshaft.

However, what Casino Drive's connections described as a minor problem with his left hind leg surfaced on Friday morning, so his status for the Belmont won't be decided until Saturday morning.

With the uncertainty, it might be best for exotics players to toss Casino Drive, who, if he runs, will be seeking to become only the third horse to win the Belmont in his only his third career start. The last to do it was Prince Eugene 95 years ago.

Casino Drive certainly has the right jockey to play Belmont spoiler. Edgar Prado guided Birdstone to a 36-1 upset of Smarty Jones four years ago and was also the rider for 70-1 Sarava in 2002 when War Emblem was seeking his place in history.

As for the others, Ready's Echo may be best as a late-running sprinter, Macho Again and Icabad Crane couldn't get close to the favorite in the Preakness, and Anak Nakal, Da'Tara and the maiden Guadalcanal are overmatched.

Tale Of Ekati is somewhat interesting given his two-for-two record at Belmont, but he will have to improve significantly off his lone win of 2008, a slow score in the Wood Memorial on April 5 at Aqueduct.

Still, the son of Tale Of The Cat has trained well in recent weeks for owner-breeder Charles Fipke and trainer Barclay Tagg. Maybe Tagg can do to Dutrow what Bobby Frankel, a good friend of Dutrow's, did to him in 2003.

Tagg was the trainer of Funny Cide, whose bid for a Triple Crown was dashed when the Frankel-trained Empire Maker won the Belmont over a sloppy surface.

latimes.com

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A Different Kind of Bottom Line
By Anthony Stabile

For those of you that thought you’d be reading the same Bottom Line format I used for both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, I apologize for changing it up on you. I promise to make it up to you if you continue reading.

Since he crossed the wire under wraps in the Preakness, I’m sure you wish you had a dollar for every time you’ve heard or read that Big Brown can’t lose the Belmont on Saturday. You’ve listened to his trainer, Rick Dutrow Jr., use words like “forgone conclusion,” when it comes to Big Brown wrapping up the Triple Crown and joining the eleven others in the pantheon of Triple Crown greats.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of it. And you won’t be reading any of that in this column because I’m here to tell you that Big Brown will not win this Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. In fact, I think there is a good chance he’ll be off the board. Here’s why.

The Quarter Crack – I know Dutrow and foot specialist Ian McKinley are saying there is nothing to worry about, but what are they supposed to say? Imagine how foolish it would appear if they were to say “this could really be a problem, but we’re running him anyway,” especially on the heels of the Eight Belles catastrophe in the Derby? I’m not saying the horse is in grave danger because they wouldn’t be running him if he would. At least that’s what I’d like to think. But, to say it won’t affect his performance is nonsense. And, let’s not forget that this is a new quarter crack on his other foot. The rain that fell in Louisville before the Derby and in Baltimore before the Preakness was the best thing that ever happened to Big Brown because of instead of worrying about scraping the courses down to illicit faster times on the two big days, the maintenance crews were far more concerned with getting the courses in manageable condition. That probably won’t be the case at Belmont as NYRA is notorious for jazzing these tracks up on big days.

The Pace Scenario – After getting perfect set ups in the first two jewels, Big Brown will now break from the rail and you have to assume he’ll use his speed in order to maintain his position early on. I think Desormeaux is putting him on the lead and with a horse like Da’ Tara who is seemingly in the race to insure a quick pace it could be Triple Crown suicide. I just don’t see him rating from the rail and working out a good trip if he does.

Casino Drive – Should he manage to work out a stalking trip, he won’t be the only one as the Japanese wonder horse should be placed right along side of Big Brown. It could be even worse for Big Brown should Casino Drive take the initiative and grab the early lead. Big Brown has never had to pass a horse with the ability and potential of Casino Drive. No one really knows how he’ll react.

The Distance – The 1 ½ miles of “the Test of the Champion” will likely be the most grueling race in most of these horses respective careers. Not only is Big Brown not bred particularly well to handle the distance, others in here are. Casino Drive is a half brother to the last two Belmont winners, Jazil and Rags to Riches, Tale of Ekati’s pedigree is laden with stamina, especially on the dam side and longshot Anak Nakal is sired by 1998 Belmont winner Victory Gallop who upset Real Quiet in his Triple Crown bid.

Kent J. Desormeaux - Let’s call a spade a spade – the guy cost Real Quiet the Triple Crown. It’s as simple as that. He’s been known to get overly aggressive and make knucklehead moves from time to time and who knows what he’s going to do with Big Brown once the gate opens? The answer: not even him.

Karma – Can you really talk this much smack and win? Doesn’t Dutrow know that the Racing Gods hate braggarts? I mean, I wouldn’t mind if this was all by design but if the allowance race he won in his first start this year didn’t get rained off the turf, Big Brown would be 1-5 in the Hill Prince at Belmont on Friday. Quarter cracks aside, everything has pretty much gone perfectly for these guys. In this business, that ends at some point. I think Saturday is the perfect day for it.

There is a reason 10 horses have failed in their attempts to win the Triple Crown the past 30 years – IT’S HARD!!! In my opinion, you need to have eight perfect weeks, starting three weeks before the Derby and ending when you cross the wire in the Belmont. Big Brown hasn’t and his misfortune has befallen him at the most inopportune of times. Come Saturday, Big Brown will turn into Big Frown for there’ll be no Triple Crown.

And that’s the bottom line.

VegasInsider.com

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Betting on Belmont: Glantz picks his favorites
COVERS.com

It’s been 30 years since Affirmed won the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown.

Most recently, it was Smarty Jones that won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but failed to capture the third leg.

I can remember the excitement in the Las Vegas books as Smarty Jones appeared to have the race in hand when Birdstone came into the picture in the stretch and the silence of the crowd became apparent. The only words that could be heard were “hurry, Smarty” and “c’mon, Smarty.” Of course we know the outcome; Birdsong caught Smarty at the 16th pole and went on to win the Belmont by a single length.

The problem with the Belmont is that while a horse seems to be a world-beater after victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown is always the most difficult normally because the first two races took so much out of the winning horse and/or because he’s coming back in just three weeks facing fresh horses in the longest test of the three.

So how will Big Brown react to a possible off-track (30 percent chance of thunderstorms)? Will that quarter crack become a factor? While the one-hole has produced the most winners in past Belmont Stakes (23), will B.B. be affected by the maiden next to him if Guadalcanal acts up either in the gate or perhaps with a poor break?

Well, let’s take a look at this field in the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes by post position and their morning line odds:

1) Big Brown (2-5) – B.B. has won all his five races by a combined 39 lengths but most importantly, he won the Kentucky Derby pulling away by 4 ¾ lengths and the Preakness Stakes by 5 ¼ lengths. In the Preakness, his awesome move in the straightaway was a sight to see. He had a bullet drill prior to the Derby and in his final workout prior to the Belmont he turned in another. Big Brown has yet to be tested so we really don’t know how good he is, but he’s without question the horse to beat.

2) Guadalcanal (50-1) – Appears to like the distance but this one hasn’t been able to beat maidens in five tries. While Guadalcanal doesn’t belong here, let’s just hope he breaks clean and doesn’t bother Big Brown.

3) Macho Again (20-1) – Ran second to Big Brown in the Preakness after capturing the 7 ½ F Derby Trial at Churchill the last week in April. Macho’s recent works haven’t impressed but he has a chance for a piece.

4) Denis of Cork (12-1) – Denis was the even-money favorite in the Illinois Derby but failed to fire than ran a surprising third in the Kentucky Derby. His last work was considerably less than impressive but he’s fresh and after breaking 20th in the Derby, his closing kick can’t be ignored.

5) Casino Drive (7-2) – The real unknown here. Casino Drive has had only two races, one in Japan breaking his maiden by 11 ½ lengths and then his impressive 5 ¾ length win in the Peter Pan Stakes over this course in May. Casino’s Dam, Better Than Honour, was also the mom to Jazil and Rags to Riches, the last two Belmont Stakes winners. No matter what Dudrow says, Casino Drive can’t be ignored.

6) Da’Tara (30-1) – This one finished ninth, 23 ½ lengths behind Big Brown, in the Florida Derby earlier in the year and fifth, five lengths in back of Macho Again in the Derby Trial. His only win came in a maiden race. An in-the-money finish would be a surprise.

7) Tale of Ekati (20-1) – Tale of Ekati has a win here in the Grade 2 Futurity last year. Adding to his resume is his win in the Wood Memorial when he held off War Pass in April. He finished a distant fourth in the Kentucky Derby but, like Denis of Cork, is well rested. Unlike D of C, Ekati has put in three pretty good works. Must consider.

8) Anak Nakal (30-1) – After two wins and a second in his three races last year, Anak Nakal has failed to show up in his four races this year. Perhaps his 45-1 odds in the Wood and 54-1 odds in the Derby tells the tale.

9) Ready’s Echo (30-1) – Another whose only win came in a maiden race but Echo did finish a respectable third (by 6 ¼ lengths) in the Peter Pan against Casino Drive.

10) Icabad Crane (20-1) – Watch the tote board on this one as Icabad has been receiving some positive press. He finished third behind Big Brown and Macho Again but didn’t have a clear trip in the Preakness. Must be respected.

Glantz's Belmont Selections:

1. Big Brown
2. Casino Drive
3. Icabad Crane
4. Tale of Ekati

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