Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DSK's Belmont Picks

Belmont Picks Race Day Update by DSK. Go to:                                                                                 The 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes (a 1 ½ mile race over Belmont Park’s venerable main track) will be run on Saturday. The third jewel of the Triple Crown features 12 three-year-olds (8 who ran in this year’s Kentucky Derby).
  
The post positions and odds were determined today and here are my early picks and opinions regarding the Belmont Stakes which will be run on Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park in New York City. Note: while I correctly picked Shakleford #12 (9:2) as the long-shot winner in the Preakness, I do not believe he will be able to last the distance –the mile-and-a-half will be way too much for this speed pony!

My Favorite and Value Pick: #10 Mucho Macho Man (10:1). I don’t understand these odds – they seem too high given that Mucho Macho Man finished third in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Preakness Stakes, despite losing a shoe in the race! He also has been timed with the fastest five-furlongs (59.6) of the field during Belmont workouts. This is a physically huge horse that will be ridden by a different jockey, Ramon Dominguez. I believe MMM will handle the distance. While Dominguez has never won a Triple Crown race, he did win the 2010 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey and he also knows Belmont Park very well. With a strong pedigree and trainer Kathy Rivo, who would become the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race, Mucho Macho Man is a very nice WPS bet.

Best Horse: #9: Animal Kingdom (2:1). Animal Kingdom, ridden by John Velazquez, starts from the 9 post, which will not be an issue for him given the length of this race. It should be noted that just like the Preakness Stakes, I like Animal Kingdom, but I don’t like the tiny 2:1 odds. He ran a great Derby and only lost the Preakness by a half a length; however, he will face some good competition in Nehro and Mucho Macho Man. He also has been raced sparingly prior to the Triple Crown races – so the question will be whether he has enough in the tank to run strongly in 3 races in 5 weeks. I can’t ignore the best horse in the race, but the wager for me that includes Animal Kingdom will be an exotic: Exacta box the #1-9-10.

My Long-Shot: #1 Master of Hounds (10:1). This was my long-shot for the Kentucky Derby at 16:1 – and he finished a rallying fifth, but he returned to Ireland and sat out the Preakness. Now this strong European horse is back and has his eyes on winning the Belmont. While he didn't run well in the Breeder's Cup last fall, his blood lines are excellent and he has the best jockey of the bunch (Garrett Gomez) in the irons. I like the odds (and believe they could grow since little is known about him in the States) and I don’t mind the 1st post in this race. Master of Hounds was coming on strong in the Derby and I believe he has the stamina to be a solid finisher on Saturday..... this is a WPS bet, for sure.

Good luck and enjoy the race. I’ll have a race day update on Saturday morning.

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