Here is an update to the Belmont Stakes which will be run this afternoon at Belmont Park in New York City. The weather might be a factor with a 40% chance of showers for the late afternoon running of the Belmont. There appears to be no mudder in the field.
Below you will find the same picks I wrote about earlier in the week; however, I have updated the odds with the current line at 7:00 am this morning – and I’ve provided another exotic bet to consider that includes Nehro #6 (7:2).
I’ve received a little grief about correctly picking Shakleford (9:2) as a long-shot in the Preakness and then dumping him in the Belmont. I stand by what I said earlier in the week - that the extra ¼ mile the Belmont requires will be too much for him. He faded down the stretch in the Derby he barely held on in the Preakness (which is shorter) – he just isn’t bred for the 1 ½ mile route.
Additional Exotic Pick: Nehro #6 (7:2). In the final analysis the horse that has me worried about messing up the exacta I wrote about on Wednesday is Nehro. He has only won once, his maiden race, but he has been a second place finisher his last three races. With a top trainer (Steve Asmussen) and solid jockey (Corey Nakatani) – and good workouts leading up to the Belmont – I have to consider Nehro to be close coming down the stretch. The fact that he skipped the Preakness to prepare for the Belmont also has convinced me to include him in an exotic bet. The odds seem about right and Nehro is my fourth horse in a Trifecta box #1-6-9-10.
Here an update of the review about the Belmont I published on Wednesday (with updated Saturday morning odds):
My Favorite and Value Pick: #10 Mucho Macho Man (10:1). Update: Mucho Macho Man has had great workouts this week – and it appears that Kathy Rivo is going to glue his shoes on to avoid losing them again! I still like the odds – they seem very attractive given that Mucho Macho Man finished third in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Preakness Stakes, despite losing a shoe in the race. 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 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 (8:5). 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 small 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 #1-9-10.
My Long-Shot: #1 Master of Hounds (8:1). 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 (unfortunately they have come down since Wednesday) 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.