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Belmont Stakes Betting News and Notes

Belmont Stakes Betting News and Notes

2013 Belmont Stakes Post Positions & Updated Odds - Frac Daddy Draws Rail
By Anthony Rome

ELMONT, NY (The Spread) - The 145th running of the Belmont Stakes will take place this Saturday and after the post positions were drawn on Wednesday, we know now which contender will start from the rail.

Frac Daddy has drawn the rail for Saturday's race while Freedom Child will start from the second gate. Overanalyze will start from the No. 3 post while Giant Finish drew the No. 4 post and 2013 Kentucky Derby winner and current Belmont Stakes favorite Orb will start from the No. 5 gate.

Here are the rest of the post positions: No. 6 Incognito; No. 7 Oxbow; No. 8 Midnight Taboo; No. 9 Revolutionary; No. 10 Will Take Charge; No. 11 Vyjack; No. 12 Palace Malice; No. 13 Unlimited Budget; No. 14 Golden Soul.

According to oddsmakers from online sports book, Orb remains favored at 7/2 odds, up a little from earlier in the week when he was a 3/1 favorite. Revolutionary has the next best odds at 5/1 while 2013 Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow is 6/1. Unlimited Budget, meanwhile, is 8/1.

Some of the mid-range long shots include Freedom Child and Golden Soul, who are both 12/1, respectively, while Overanalyze is 15/1. Will Take Charge is 20/1, Vyjack is 25/1, and both Frac Daddy and Incognito are both 30/1, respectively. The two contenders with the worst odds are Giant Finish and Midnight Taboo, who are both 40/1, respectively.

The 2013 Belmont Stakes will take place from Belmont Park on Saturday, June 8.

Bet the 2013 Belmont Stakes

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Belmont Countdown - Part I
By Anthony Stabile

Just like he did in the Kentucky Derby less than five weeks ago, trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a posse of five runners in the Belmont Stakes this Saturday. After not running a horse in the Preakness, Pletcher horses will account for just about a third of the field in the final jewel of the Triple Crown.

In 2007, Pletcher won his first Triple Crown race when his superstar filly Rags to Riches slugged it out with eventual two-time Horse of the Year and all-time leading money earner Curlin in a battle of the sexes stretch duel that will go down in the annals as one of the greatest ever. Pletcher is looking for lightning to strike twice as he’ll send out the filly UNLIMITED BUDGET this Saturday.

By 2007 Derby winner Street Sense, Unlimited Budget didn’t begin her career until last November and promptly broke her maiden at first asking before wheeling back just 15 days later to go gate-to-wire in the Demoiselle.

After a three month freshening, Unlimited Budget returned in the Rachel Alexandra at the Fair Grounds in late February and showed a new dimension to her game by coming from well off the pace to win by an ease 3¾ lengths. She was a bit closer in the Fair Grounds Oaks next out but managed to run her record to a perfect four for four with a workwomanlike 1¾ length victory.

In her last start in the Kentucky Oaks, things couldn’t have set up better for Unlimited Budget. Sitting just off a sharp early pace set by eventual Acorn winner Midnight Lucky, Unlimited Budget looked poised to keep her perfect record intact but failed to fire in deep stretch, settling for third behind stablemate Princess of Sylmar and beholder.

Immediately after the Oaks, owner Mike Repole mentioned the Belmont as a possibility and after three strong works in the past month she’ll be reunited with Rosie Napravnik in an attempt to make history.

Pletcher’s top Derby finisher REVOLUTIONARY returns for the Belmont and his connections have to be thinking the added distance will be to this guys liking. After breaking his maiden in the final start of his four race juvenile campaign, which also happened to be his first try around two turns, Revolutionary overcame a tough trip in the Withers to get up in the final strides before closing from far back again to take the Louisiana Derby in his final start before the Derby.

Pletcher was forced to make a rider change in the Derby when Javier Castellano, his rider for both of his stakes scores, opted to ride Normandy Invasion in Louisville. Pletcher reached out for Calvin Borel, the rider of his lone Derby winner, Super Saver. Borel worked Revolutionary twice before the Derby and the colt was heading into the race in fine form.

As expected from his post 2 draw in the Derby, Revolutionary was taken well off of the hot early pace and was allowed to settle at the rear along with eventual winner Orb. But while the winner was taking the overland route, Borel decided to make his patented rail run with Revolutionary and was forced to idle ever so briefly coming off the turn before unleashing a powerful late rally in the slop to finish third, some 3 ½ lengths behind the winner.

Pletcher immediately decided to skip the Preakness and wait for the Belmont and was able to reunite his son of War Pass with Castellano for the Belmont. Revolutionary has worked just twice since the Derby, going nearly identical half miles in :48 2/5 on 5/27 and 6/2.

While almost everything about Revolutionary’s trip was predictable, I don’t believe there are too many people out there that looked at the Derby PPs that figured PALACE MALICE would be the pace of the race, let alone go the first half mile in an eye-popping :45 1/5 but that’s exactly what happened.

Jockey Mike Smith, who surprisingly is back for a return engagement in the Belmont, said the son of the aforementioned Curlin took a flyer leaving out of the gate and was tough to wrangle in, so he just went on with it. Palace Malice was cooked when the real running began at around the half mile pole and ultimately wound up finishing 12th, beaten 13½ lengths.

Still eligible for an entry level allowance contest, Palace Malice has been sharp in his three works since shipping to Belmont from Churchill, including a half mile in :47 2/5 on 6/2, leading one to believe he’ll be a pace factor again come Saturday.

If you’re a fan of “In/Out” horses, then OVERANALYZE is definitely for you. He’s won every odd numbered start of his career, including graded stakes like the Futurity (over this course), Remsen and Arkansas Derby. Yet, in his even numbered starts he’s been, in a word, blah. He was off the board in the Hopeful and burned plenty of money as the losing chalk in both the Iroquois and Gotham.

Last out in the Derby he ran as evenly as any horse could. Just look at his performance line….his points of call read 14th, 13th, 16th 15th and eventually finished 11th, inches in front of Palace Malice.

Pletcher’s main man John Velazquez will be back aboard the son of Dixie Union in the Belmont. Overanalyze finished up his serious work with a :48 second half mile move on 6/2.

Finally, another colt still eligible for an entry level allowance race, MIDNIGHT TABOO, rounds out Pletcher’s Posse. Second in his debut at Saratoga last August, this son of Langfuhr broke his maiden off of an eight month layoff on the Wood Memorial undercard at Aqueduct in April before getting a worse trip than the Titanic when second last out in his first try against winners over a muddy and sealed Belmont strip.

Another who’s worked three times since his last start, Midnight Taboo went five panels in 1:00 4/5 at Belmont on 6/2 and will be ridden for the first time by Garrett Gomez.

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Belmont Countdown - Part II
By Anthony Stabile

Ok, so it’s a REALLY old cliché but someone should have called the cops in Baltimore at about 6:30PM on May 18th because Gary Stevens and OXBOW absolutely stole the Preakness from Kentucky Derby winner Orb and his seven other rivals on the front end. Oxbow is back for the Belmont, looking to become the first horse since Afleet Alex in 2005 to complete the Preakness/Belmont double.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, it should come as no surprise that Oxbow is the most seasoned Belmont entrant having already run 11 times since mid-October of last year with nary a layoff line in sight. In fact, he’s never gone more than five weeks without making a start throughout his entire career.

As evident by his Preakness upset, Oxbow does his best running when he’s on the front end. He went virtually gate-to-wire when he broke his maiden in his third career try, then won the LeComte at the Fair Grounds two starts later by over 11 lengths on the lead the entire way.

In the Derby, Oxbow was stuck down on the inside, which wasn’t the place to be and was never more than a couple of lengths off of the hot early fractions. Oxbow stuck his head in front turning for home before packing it in through the stretch. Lukas, a four time Belmont winner with Tabasco Cat in 1994, Thunder Gulch in 1995, Editor’s Note in 1996 and Commendable in 2000, worked the son of Awesome Again six furlongs in 1:14 3/5 at Churchill on 5/30 before shipping to Belmont. Stevens, a three time winner himself aboard Thunder Gulch, Victory Gallop in 1998 and Point Given in 2001, has the return call and will be riding in the race for the first time in eight years.

Lukas will also send out the 17-hand-tall WILL TAKE CHARGE in the Belmont. By Unbridled’s Song, Will Take Charge has won three times like his more heralded stablemate but that’s about where the comparisons end. While Oxbow is a speed type, Will Take Charge has done his best work from just off the pace and actually defeated Oxbow in his biggest victory to date, the Rebel at Oaklawn Park in mid-March.

The Rebel was also his last start before the Derby meaning he ran for the roses off of a seven week break, unheard of in most training circles but particularly curious for a guy like Lukas who never met a race he didn’t like. Will Take Charge was moving with Orb in the Derby before getting in a bit of a traffic jam behind a tiring Verrazano.

In the Preakness, Will Take Charge again was with Orb for most of the way and may have actually been more compromised by the pace scenario than Orb was when you consider his size and lack of agility to a certain degree. The distance of the race combined with the dynamics of the track, with its long backstretch and sweeping turns, should be far more to his liking.

Will Take Charge worked six furlongs in 1:15 4/5 at Churchill on 5/30 and will be reunited with his somewhat regular rider Jon Court for the Belmont.

The Peter Pan, run at Belmont, is arguably the most notable prep for the Belmont and this year we’ll have two colts exit that race trying to win the “Test of the Champion,” FREEDOM CHILD and INCOGNITO.

Freedom Child is certainly one of the more interesting stories of this years’ Triple Crown trail. He was run down in just the second and last start of his juvenile campaign by Orb before receiving a bit of a freshening. After finishing third in his seasonal bow, Freedom Child roared home in front running fashion by over five lengths before getting thrown into the deep end of the pool in the Wood Memorial.

Breaking from post 10 and sporting Lasix for the first time, Freedom Child entered the gate as one of the longest shots on the board but was held in the gate by his assistant starter and was declared a non-starter. Even though he didn’t officially run, Freedom Child nearly made up all the ground he lost at the break, putting in a sharp half mile move in the middle of the even, before tiring in the later stages.

The son of Malibu Moon, also the sire of Orb, returned five weeks later in the Peter Pan. Run over a sloppy, sealed racetrack, Freedom Child took advantage of a speed biased course and used his abundant early speed to secure the early lead while setting a more than honest pace. Freedom Child poured it on at every pole, expanding his lead before finally hitting the wire 13 ¼ lengths in front in what announcer Tom Durkin described as a “mudtastic” performance under Luis Saez.

Trained by Tom Albertrani, Freedom Child signaled his readiness for this with a sharp :59 4/5 breeze going five panels at Belmont on 5/27.

While he didn’t run nearly as well as Freedom Child, Incognito got beat just 2½ lengths for second when he took the worst of a three horse show photo in the Peter Pan. Two starts back, Incognito won an entry level allowance contest after receiving one of the roughest trips I’ve ever seen. He literally almost fell down in the stretch before finding racing room to get up by a nose.

By A.P. Indy, winner of the 1992 Belmont, Incognito raced around two turns in the first four starts of his career and is probably sports the best distance pedigree in the field. His mid-pack running style should bode well in a race with more than enough early speed on paper.

Irad Ortiz Jr will be aboard Incognito for the first time, replacing the injured Mike Luzzi. Ortiz teamed up with Incognito’s trainer Kiaran McLaughlin to win his a pair of grade 1s at Saratoga last year, keeping with McLaughlin’s tradition of developing talented young riders, like he did with Fernando Jara who guided home his charge Jazil in the 2006 renewal of the Belmont.

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Belmont Countdown - Part III
By Anthony Stabile

Kentucky Derby winner ORB will look to rebound from his fourth place Preakness finish and become the first horse since Thunder Gulch to complete the Derby/Belmont double when he takes on a baker’s dozen rivals this Saturday at beautiful Belmont Park.

Going into Baltimore it looked like Orb was unstoppable. He was coming into the Preakness sporting a five race win streak, which unbeknownst to the racing world at the time, was concluded with a spectacular rally from far, far back to win the Derby over a sloppy Churchill Downs strip by a going away 2½ lengths.

His ability to adapt to nearly every type of pace scenario gave him a sense of invincibility as well. He’d closed into fast, moderate and slow early paces this year and was equally as powerful and impressive in all three tries. All of this leads one to ask “what happened in the Preakness?”

Was it the pace? His rail draw? ‘Did trainer Shug McGaughey work him too fast the Monday before the race? Or, was he simply over the top? In my opinion, the answer is simple: Orb lost the Preakness because of Joel Rosario.

Look, I’m the biggest Rosario fan there is and have been for a good four years but he picked the wrong day to give one of the worst rides I’ve ever seen. Like I said earlier, Orb had never fallen victim to any pace. Just do what you’ve done all year – take him back, get him clear and make one run, even if that means taking him back to last.

I’m never big on getting simple mathematics involved in horse racing but I will in this case. Third place Preakness finisher Mylute was last going down the backside and made up plenty of ground late, ultimately getting beat just 2¼ lengths. You’re not going to tell me that if Orb was given the same trip that he wasn’t going to make up the 2½ lengths Mylute needed to win the race

But that’s in the past and we can do nothing but look forward. While he hasn’t trained as brilliantly leading up to the Belmont as he has previously, the son of Malibu Moon still looks like the one to beat. He breezed a half mile in :48 1 on 6/2 to complete his major work for this. Rosario will be back aboard for McGaughey who won the 1989 renewal with the great Easy Goer.

Derby runner-up GOLDEN SOUL is one seven horses who skipped the Preakness to await the Belmont and is the first of four we’ll discuss in the rest of this space. We discussed Pletcher’s trio of Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Revolutionary in part 1of the Belmont Preview.

As for Golden Soul, trainer Dallas Stewart was very excited that his colt was able to make the Derby field the Monday before entries after several defections allowed him to draw in and said all week to anyone who’d listen that his son of Perfect Soul was ready to run a bang up race despite the fact that he was still eligible for an entry level allowance contest. Stewart was spot on.

Like Orb, Golden Soul was far back in the early going but was kept to the inside until the stretch while Orb was taking the overland route to stay out of trouble. Golden Soul began making up ground on the far turn and managed to find a way off the inside in mid-stretch. By that time, however, Orb was in full flight and looked gone but Golden Soul managed to make things interesting for a fleeting moment before settling for second money while holding off Revolutionary up the inside.

Stewart immediately said he’d skip the Preakness and point towards the Belmont but backed off his Belmont promise when it took the colt a little more time than expected to recover from his solid Derby try. He finally worked five furlongs in 1:00 /25 at Churchill on 5/30 and was confirmed for the race. It’s worth noting that he’s worked just that one time in between starts. Robby Albarado has the return call.

Though he wasn’t on board with running in the Derby, trainer Tony Dutrow seemed more than happy when entering GIANT FINISH in the Belmont. All in all, Giant Finish didn’t run terribly in Louisville, finishing tenth beaten 13¼ lengths.

By Frost Giant, Giant Finish has far from “wowed” anyone in his career as his two victories have come against fellow New York breds, his two fastest races have come over a synthetic surface and he hasn’t really dazzled in the mornings leading up to this. He does pick up longshot Belmont specialist Edgar Prado, a two time winner having ridden Sarava to win as the longest price in the history of the Belmont in 2002 and Birdstone, another big longshot, in 2004.

The latest colt to join the Belmont fray is the Ken McPeek trained FRAC DADDY. McPeek hadn’t mentioned a word about running until this past Sunday and secured the services of Alan Garcia, winner of the 2008 Belmont aboard Da’ Tara.

Another eligible for an entry level allowance race, Frac Daddy was always well regarded but things just haven’t gone the right way for this son of Scat Daddy. He didn’t fire in either to Holy Bull or Florida Derby at Gulfstream but did manage to finish second in the Arkansas Derby before never lifting a hoof in Kentucky. McPeek, who trained Sarava, has gone on record saying Frac Daddy will show more speed than usual in the Belmont, adding to what should be an already honest early pace.

Finally, the connections of VYJACK are hoping he can find his juvenile and early three-year-old form in the Belmont. Trained Rudy Rodriguez, Vyjack won his first four, including the Jerome and Gotham at Aqueduct, before finishing a hard-fought third in the Wood Memorial.

Breaking from outside post 19 in the Derby, Vyjack was forced wide the entire way and pressed in mid-pack in the early going before fading to next to last in the stretch. Julien Leparoux rides for the first time.

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Re: Belmont Stakes Betting News and Notes

Belmont Odds and Props

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Odds to Win
1. Frac Daddy 33/1
2. Freedom Child 8/1
3. Overanalyze 14/1
4. Giant Finish 33/1
5. Orb 7/2
6. Incognito 25/1
7. Oxbow 6/1
8. Midnight Taboo 33/1
9. Revolutionary 5/1
10. Will Take Charge 20/1
11. Vyjack 22/1
12. Palace Malice 10/1
13. Unlimited Budget 9/1
14. Golden Soul 12/1

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Margin of Victory
Over 1.5 Lengths -120
Under 1.5 Lengths -120

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Winning Time
Over 2:29.00 -130
Under 2:29.00 -110
2013 BELMONT STAKES - Will a horse that starts with the Letter "O" win?
Yes +150
No -200

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Will Orb or Oxbow win?
Yes +200
No -300

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Head to Head Matchups
Orb -165
Oxbow +135

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Head to Head Matchups
Orb -175
Revolutionary +145

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Head to Head Matchups
Oxbow +120
Revolutionary -150

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Head to Head Matchups
Freedom Child -125
Unlimited Budget-105

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Head to Head Matchups
Golden Soul -115
Overanalyze -115

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Head to Head Matchups
Giant Finish -115
Frac Daddy -115

2013 BELMONT STAKES - Will a horse lead wire to wire?
Yes +600
No -1000

Bet the 2013 Belmont Stakes

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Re: Belmont Stakes Betting News and Notes

Belmont Stakes Breakdown
By Anthony Stabile

Frac Daddy 30/1

No one had a clue that McPeek was even thinking of entering this colt but he announced those intentions last Sunday. Turns out it wasn’t the most surprising thing to come out of his mouth this week as he stated after the draw that he was going to tell Garcia to gun him out of there and put him into the race. You’d have to think his rail draw would have something to do with those instructions. There is plenty of other speed types in here, his pedigree is suspect at best as far as the distance goes and he was awful over a sloppy track in the Derby. I’m tossing him out.

Freedom Child 8/1

Now this guy, on the other hand, LOVED the Belmont slop last out when he freaked out in the G2 Peter Pan, a race he won in gate-to-wire fashion from the rail by over 13 lengths. The track did play to speed all afternoon that day but I doubt anyone, in that field anyway, was going to beat him that day. Still, he faces plenty of questions in here. He’s a bounce candidate, for one. Like most the distance is a question but most importantly he’s done his best work on the front end. It’s hard to see him shaking loose in here and if he does he’s going to have to go awfully fast to do so. This isn’t 1 1/8 miles like last time…this is the “test of the Champion.” Casual fans are going to jump all over him because of his Peter Pan effort but I have my doubts and at what is likely to be a shorter price than his morning line indicates, I’m inclined to stay away.

Overanalyze 12/1

For those of you that are fans of the “In/Out” theory, look no further. This is your colt. He’s won his odd numbered starts, lost his even numbered starts, usually in non-descript fashion, like last out in the Derby where it looked like he was running in place for 1 ¼ miles. Jock and trainer teamed up with Rags to Riches to win this in 2007 and it’s not often you get these guys at that kind of price. While he’s a tad on the slow side that extra quarter of a mile or so that they have to navigate in here tends to make them all a little slower, which could play to his hand rather than against him. I don’t mind his pedigree to get the trip as much as I do some others in here. One of several I will be messing around with in here and while I’m not sold that he can win it I will use him in my gimmicks and on a saver Pick 4 ticket just in case.

Giant Finish 30/1

He’s a New York bred that has only won races restricted to New York breds whose best races have come over Turfway’s synthetic surface. On top of it all, his trainer, who usually wins at a solid clip on the NYRA circuit, has been stinking the place up. He does draw Edgar Prado, who sports a Belmont Stakes ROI of approximately $8 million having guided Sarava and Birdstone to victory at odds of over 70-1 and 35-1, respectively. With that said, THIS would be Prado’s most surprising win. EVER. Pasadena!!

Orb 3/1

If the Preakness was any race at Anytrack, U.S.A. in the middle of the week I’d have called shenanigans. I’m the biggest Rosario fan there is but that was a terrible, terrible ride. All he had to do was take Orb back to last, get him in the clear and make one run, the same formula that worked in his previous five starts. Instead he kept him buried inside and made three different moves. Horses, sometimes, don’t rebound that quickly from a race like that. They can jam themselves up and get discouraged. Orb seems to have lost some weight and isn’t training as vigorously as he has been but if Shug is sending him over there you can be sure he’ll be ready. The wet track is obviously going to help his chances, he’s drawn well and should have plenty of pace on to close into. My only issue is the fact that he may be a bit over the top at this point after a tough campaign. Still, he’s the best horse in the field, in my opinion, and will be on every one of my tickets.

Incognito 20/1

I’m warning you, this is one dangerous hombre. Of all the horses in here, he’s the one that I feel wants to run all day, not only pedigree-wise but style-wise as well. Sire is 1992 winner and Horse of the Year A. P. Indy and he should settle in behind the first flight of speed horses and pounce approaching the turn. He was a pole behind Freedom Child last out but he was all over the place behind horses and further back than I think anyone expected him to be. Rider change is huge and Kiaran knows how to get one ready for the big ones. He will be on every single one of my tickets.

Oxbow 5/1

The Preakness winner would have made the male cast members of “Jersey Shore” proud as he committed the ultimate robbery last out on the front end. I’m not sure what the three other jocks that were on the true speed horses were doing but, hey, it was only the second jewel of the Triple Crown. I can almost guarantee you that he won’t get loose in here and Stevens knows that so he’ll probably take him just off the pace. The problem with that is this guy does his best running when he’s in front as all three of his wins have been in gate-to-wire fashion. I’m not sure he wants any part of the distance either as he resembled a drunken sailor the last eighth of a mile of the Preakness. He ran his race last out at 15-1. If you had him, my hats off to you. If you didn’t, you already missed the wedding so why go to the funeral? Not for me.

Midnight Taboo 30/1

They give you lunch for six when you start a horse in a stakes race at Belmont so Repole has at least 18 free lunches and it could be more depending on his undercard entrants. Horse has run just three times and owns just a maiden win though he was probably best in his allowance loss last out. This is a HUGE jump in class. No clue why this horse is in here.

Revolutionary 9/2

Was moving well along what I perceived as a dead rail in the Derby but you knew going in with Calvin Borel on his back that he’d be there so you’re not allowed to use that as an excuse if you’re a fan of his. I am not a fan. He beat nothing in his stakes wins and took serious advantage of the pace collapse in the Derby. He’ll be the clear-cut second choice and if the track doesn’t come up as wet as I think it will, may actually vie for favoritism. Pletcher’s Triple Crown record is 2 for 54. If you feel the need to use one of his horses, use a price like Overanalyze and let these smaller price horses beat you. I’m not using him.

Will Take Charge 20/1

I couldn’t figure out why Lukas ran this horse in the Derby off of a seven week layoff but I think he did that and ran him back in the Preakness to have him ready for this. Now, to most of you, that’s a crazy theory. Who would use those two races as PREPS? Um, D. Wayne would!! He was coming with Orb in the Derby before encountering some traffic then likely was victimized by the slow pace in the Preakness. He’s a big colt, over 17 hands tall, and should love Belmont and this trip. Another who’s a bit on the slow side that will need to love the trip. I doubt he’ll be as far back as he was in his last pair and should be a great price. Using him in all of my exotic wagers and as a saver on some multi-race plays as well.

Vyjack 20/1

Sometimes I would really like to know what goes through the minds of some of these owners and trainers. The G2 Woody Stephens going seven furlongs on the undercard would be THE perfect spot for this horse. He was brilliant in the first two starts of his career sprinting. Instead, they want to feed him to the wolves, again, after getting his clock cleaned in the Derby last out. This horse couldn’t get 1 ½ miles on a bus.

Palace Malice 15/1

Sometimes I would really like to know what goes through the minds of some of these owners and trainers. The G2 Woody Stephens going seven furlongs on the undercard would be THE perfect spot for this horse. No, that’s not a mistake. I purposely re-typed the first couple of sentences from Vyjack because it’s the same scenario. He’s eligible for an entry level allowance contest yet is running in the Belmont. I do love how Pletcher is taking advantage of the owners’ ego by running this guy. He’ll assure a solid early pace at least. Should start back-pedaling around the half mile pole.

Unlimited Budget 8/1

I think this is more Repole wanting to run than Pletcher, who won his first Triple Crown event with the super filly Rags to Riches in the 2007 renewal of this. This filly isn’t Rags to Riches, believe me. Sat a perfect trip in the G1 Kentucky Oaks last out just off the early speed but couldn’t get the job done, racing fairly evenly from the quarter pole to the wire. She was perfect in her first four starts before the Oaks but didn’t move forward. If she didn’t move forward last time, what makes me think she will go this far against colts? The fact that Rosie is riding the filly is going to KILL her price to. I think she should be 15-1 yet she’ll probably go off closer to 5-1. I want no part of her.

Golden Soul 10/1

Just after they hit the wire in the Derby I thought he’d be one to watch in the Belmont but after watching the replay a few times combined with what has unfolded in the past few weeks I’m more inclined to pass. He really worked out a decent Derby trip even though he was inside a bit longer than he probably should have been. I still don’t think he was going to win but who knows? Since the Derby he’s worked just once…..that’s not much serious training in five weeks, especially when you’re going to run this far. Got the worst of it at the draw as well. At the end of the day he’s going to take some money because he was gaining ground at the end of the Derby, has the distinction of being the Derby runner-up and ran the best race of his life on a wet track. He’s also still eligible for an entry level allowance contest. I feel the bad outweighs the good and am tossing him out.

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Re: Belmont Stakes Betting News and Notes

Belmont Stakes Preview

Without a chance for a Triple Crown for the 35th year in a row, much of the drama has been sapped from the 145th Belmont Stakes, which will be run on Saturday night. However, 14 horses will still compete in the 1.5 mile race, which puts a premium on endurance.

Kentucky Derby winner Orb at 3-1 is the current betting odds favorite, with Revolutionary (9-2) and Oxbow (5-1) close behind.

The race’s extended length tends to make the possibility of a longshot victory much more realistic. Sarava’s 2002 win at 70-1 was the most prominent example of this, but others in the past decade have also jolted bettors: Birdstone, at 36-1, stopped Smarty Jones’ bid for the Crown in 2004, as did 38-1 winner for 2008, Da’ Tara, against Big Brown. Finally, just two years ago, Ruler on Ice at 24-1 was victorious.

In that group will likely be Incognito, Will Take Charge and Vyjack, all at 20-1, while Giant Finish, Midnight Taboo and Frac Daddy, all at 30-1, qualify as the official longshots. Out of that group, the only ones who have run in the earlier two races are Will Take Charge (eighth in KD, seventh in PKNS) and Giant Finish (tenth in KD), with Will Take Charge the more likely possibility to spring a surprise, given his legendary trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

While it’s not the kiss of death, being tagged as the favorite at the Belmont has not been terribly beneficial to those horses so designated. Only three horses in the past two decades—Thunder Gulch (1995), Point Given (2001) and Three Favorites (2005)—have ended up winning race, which may not bode well for Orb.

Another historical roadblock in Orb’s way is that the last Derby winner to lose the Preakness but win at Belmont was the aforementioned Thunder Gulch 18 years ago.

Still, Orb is a quality horse who was sired from the line of Mr. Prospector. That becomes noteworthy when you consider that 13 of the last 18 Belmont winners were sired from that line. Among the others in this group are Preakness winner Oxbow and Golden Soul, which finished runnerup (at 35-1) in the Derby.

Revolutionary will have Javier Castellano back on as its rider. At Churchill Downs, Castellano chose to ride Normandy Invasion, but it finished just out of the money. The horse’s endurance has been given higher standing than that of Oxbow.

Oxbow’s chances, from a historical perspective, aren’t quite as long as Orb’s, since the last Preakness winner to also capture the Belmont was Afleet Alex back in 2005. However, it does have Lukas as its trainer, a man whose horses has won four previous Belmonts.

Golden Soul (10-1) was held out of the Preakness after an exhausting run in the mud of Louisville, but is seen as a good closer who can certainly challenge on Saturday.

In each of the last two years, the horse in the #3 post has made it to the winner’s circle. This year’s horse, Overanalyze (12-1) finished 11th in the Derby, but was going strong at the end, which may be something to think about, given the added distance.

Still, in the last six years, the only winners have come from between the #3 and #7 post, a group this year that group includes both Orb and Oxbow. Couple that with the span since Derby-only winner won, the seeming favorites jinx and the slightly higher (but still low enough) betting odds for Oxbow, and the call here is Oxbow.

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Re: Belmont Stakes Betting News and Notes

Belmont Stakes Picks
By: The Linemakers

While there’s no Triple Crown bid still alive heading into the Belmont Stakes – and that certainly impacts the national interest in the race, as well as the betting handle – we’re not going to let that spoil our fun. You shouldn't let it ruin yours, either.

So let's put our heads together and make some money!

The obvious story line coming into the Belmont is the rematch between Orb and Oxbow. The winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness don’t meet in the Belmont all that often, so when it happens, it makes for compelling viewing.

Here at The Linemakers on Sporting News, we appreciate good story lines as much as the next guy. We’re much more interested, however, in cashing tickets.

And we prefer those tickets to be wallet-stuffers. So, as you’ve probably anticipated if you’re a frequent visitor to The Linemakers, we’re not going to offer you Orb, Oxbow or Revolutionary (who finished third in the Derby and is the second favorite, behind Orb, in the Belmont morning line).

Instead, we’ll recommend a contender at a nicer price.

Let’s first discuss the two protagonists and why we won’t put them on top:

Orb. He was certainly impressive in the Derby, but that race set up perfectly for him, as he was able to come off the pace and chase down speedy fractions. His mediocre performance in the Preakness – he passed a few tired ones in the stretch to finish fourth – exposed the colt for what he probably is: a good horse, not a great one. Trainer Shug McGaughey even admitted after the effort at Pimlico, “Our confidence was shaken a little bit.” That’s not what we like to hear if we’re about to back a horse who’ll probably go off at about 2-to-1.

Oxbow. Unchallenged on the lead in the Preakness, this D. Wayne Lukas trainee was allowed to set very a comfortable pace and have enough in reserve to put the field away in the stretch. We don’t see that happening Saturday at Belmont, where he’ll likely have some company up front (we’re looking at you, Freedom Child), something he hasn’t taken a liking to in the past.

For our pick, we consult Lou D’Amico, one of the sharpest horse racing minds in Vegas:

Lou liked Overanalyze in the Derby, and he’s back on him for the Belmont. One of Todd Pletcher’s five entries, this colt was unable to run his race in the Derby, but has been working well for his return. He has a win one-lose one pattern since the start of his career, so Saturday may be his turn to win again. His only race over the Belmont oval was a 3 ¼-length win in the Grade 2 Futurity last September. The Pletcher-John Velazquez tandem won this race with Rags to Riches in 2007, and Velazquez steered Union Rags to victory here last year. Overanalyze is 12-to-1 in the morning line, our kind of opportunity.

Lou's picks: We’ll play Overanalyze (No. 3) to win, as well in some exotics with Freedom Child (No. 2), who won the Peter Pan by 13 ¼-lengths at this track four weeks ago; Orb (No. 5); Oxbow (No. 7); Revolutiony (No. 9), who looks to be improving and whose late-running style should benefit from a fast pace; Will Take Charge (No. 10), who hasn’t had a pleasant trip yet in the Triple Crown; Palace Malice (No. 12), who’ll race without blinkers and hopefully be more measured than he was in his 12th-place Derby finish; and No. 14 Golden Soul, the second-place Derby finisher who you should still be able to get at a nice price.

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Re: Belmont Stakes Betting News and Notes

Belmont Stakes Preview
By @KyDerbyJay

Frac Daddy – Loved what this horse did as a 2YO, but hasn’t carried his form over to his 3YO campaign.  Showed some promise in the Arkansas Derby, and was regarded by some as a live longshot at Churchill Downs.  Turned in a real stinker there though, beaten 24 lengths in the slop.  Feel like that one is an easy toss-out, and that he could sitting on a big race after the five-week layoff.  Have huge respect for trainer Kenny McPeek, and will be using him on a few tickets.

Freedom Child – Figures to be overbet after a runaway triumph over a sloppy track in the Peter Pan 4 weeks ago.  That win was aided by first time Lasix; was that the wake-up call he needed?  I’m skeptical, based on a pretty average form prior.  Not going to completely his dismiss his chances at stringing back-to-back big races together, but just don’t think he is going to offer fair value at the wagering windows.

Overanalyze – Hearing a lot of chatter about this one from folks I respect, but that same chatter was coming during Derby Week as well. Captured the Arkansas Derby two races back, a race I’ve dismissed as painfully slow — did Oxbow’s Preakness change my thinking on that?  Where Overanalyze is concerned, the answer is a steadfast no.  Just don’t see him making much of an impact in this race.

Giant Finish – I gave this one absolutely no shot in the Kentucky Derby, and he split the field in 10th place at 39-1.  Has worked steadily for this return, but can think of nothing that could convince me that anything has changed in the past five weeks.

Orb – Ah, what do we make of the Derby winner, The Next Big Thing, the lock to win at Pimlico?  Really tough to know what to make of his chances here, and I’m actually surprised to see him in the field.  At his absolute best, he is probably head and shoulders above anybody in this field, but I find it a very dubious proposition that he is even close to being at his best right now.  Have a feeling that he’s facing a similar pace scenario to what he saw in Baltimore, and I don’t think that bodes well for his chances here.  I have great respect for his connections, and he is a talented animal, but I just don’t like his chances to win this race.

Incognito – This beautifully-bred colt looked to be coming along nicely in the spring, but showed absolutely nothing in the slop in the Peter Pan.  Is certainly eligible for a major improvement here, but again faces the spectre of a very wet track.  Will probably pick up some checks this summer, but think he’s a notch below the best of this crew.

Oxbow – My worry here is that I’m getting to the party one race late, but I can’t help but think that this race again sets up perfectly for him. I didn’t think a lot of his chances at Pimlico, but in hindsight I missed some tell-tale signs.  Has been heavily campaigned, and that probably doesn’t bode well for the long-term, but in the short-term, he could be sitting on another big race.  It’s the kind of scenario that Wayne Lukas used to excel in regularly, and I think he’s going to excel again here.
Midnight Taboo – No thanks.

Revolutionary – Clearly the biggest threat to dethrone either Orb or Oxbow.  Ran a nice third in the Derby, but my biddies at Thoro-Graph, say it looked much better than it was.  I’m not quite sure how much I agree with that, but there may be something to it.  Nevertheless, he’s been nothing but consistent, and it’s silly to think that he’s not going to put forth a solid effort here.  Would not be the least bit surprised to see him win, and I think he’s likely to finish in the top four, even with a subpar effort.  Your call, given that he will probably be an underlay.

Will Take Charge – Was somewhat of a “wise-guy” horse in Baltimore, based on an excuse-filled Derby trip.  Fact is, he probably has already peaked, and isn’t as good as most of these. Can’t recommend at all.

Vyjack – Somewhat of an interesting horse in this spot, and will offer a nice price.  Hadn’t done much wrong until he bled in the Wood Memorial, and then the Derby…an absolute fiasco in which he finished 52 lengths behind Orb.  Think you can completely throw that race out.  Problem is, I just don’t think he’s well-suited for the 1 ½ mile Belmont; I would have much preferred to see him in the 7-furlong Woody Stephens on the undercard.  Not a complete toss for me, but leaning against.

Palace Malice – Still don’t understand why he was gunned to the lead in the Derby, but that completely compromised his chances. Has a good buzz about him, as the blinkers are coming off for this one, and a completely different running style is anticipated.  Could be sitting on a nice race, but he has a lot of lengths to make up against some of these, and I’m not certain he’s good enough to do so.  Would watch the toteboard on this one.

Unlimited Budget – The filly is the major wild-card in this field.  Ran a nice third in the Kentucky Oaks, and Todd Pletcher is inclined to give her a shot against the boys.  Mylute’s defection from the Triple Crown trail, allowing Pletcher to grab Rosie Napravnik for the mount.  A filly on the filly will certainly be a popular betting angle, but how good is she really?  She’s good enough to be ultra-competitive with these at her best, but my main question is, can she handle the distance?  Was a huge fan of her daddy, Street Sense, but overall, her pedigree does not look to me to be sufficient for this distance.  She will have to beat me in this one.

Golden Soul – Figures to catch a lot of action based off closing for 2nd in the Kentucky Derby at the robust price of 34-1. These are the kinds of horses who are often over-hyped for the Belmont, inasmuch as there is some sort of myth that the Belmont is a closer’s race.  Closers can fare well here, sure; but the race is won on the front-end just as often.  My personal take on this guy is that even with a five-week layoff, he’s an extremely likely candidate for a bounce, and I’m not expecting him to do much more than possibly pass some tiring horses in the stretch.

AND THE WINNER IS – I’m going with Oxbow.  I think he’s going to get another favorable pace scenario, and I also think he’s just improved to the point that he’s one of the two or three best horse in the field. The Preakness was no fluke. I think Revolutionary is his biggest challenge. I like Frac Daddy as the longshot with the best shot at supercharging the exotic payouts. Obviously, Orb can’t be totally dismissed either. The picks are 7-9-1-5-2.

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