Friday, June 8, 2012

144th Belmont Stakes - History in the Making?

Can I'll Have Another do it one more time?
UPDATE: Wow, what a shocking turn of events!  After all signs pointed to a strong effort from I'll Have Another on Saturday (including a quiet workout this morning), he has been scratched due to a sore tendon.  No more Triple Crown chance, and the field is even more wide open than it was before.  The odds will move wildly from the morning lines, and with a much weaker field, this could be the perfect opportunity to take some chances for a big payout, as you'll see in my revised picks below.

With one of the most exciting NBA playoffs in recent history dominating the sports headlines, somewhat lost in the background is the Belmont Stakes this Saturday. 

To recap - I'll Have Another battled back from behind in the first two legs of the Triple Crown and seeks to be the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.  Can he do it?  Update: NO! I think he's certainly proven all doubters wrong with his gutsy efforts in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and his biggest competition (Bodemeister) is sitting this one out.  However, with some well-rested contenders will be jumping into this race, remember that anything can happen in horse racing!

Several Gym Class All Stars writers will be attending the Belmont in person to potentially witness history and maybe win some bets too!  If you followed our Preakness coverage, my picks generated $18.10 in profit (64% gain) through the $5 exacta bet (9-7) cashing out at $46.50.  Hopefully we can keep the winning streak alive in the Belmont!

I was a bit surprised that only 3 competitors from the Kentucky Derby (Union Rags, Dullahan, and Optimizer) have returned to challenge I'll Have Another.  This could be another good sign for I'll Have Another, but it could also leave the race wide open for another shocker like Da'Tara taking the Belmont in 2008 and Birdstone chasing down Smarty Jones in 2004.  Here's the breakdown of the field:

High Potential

3 - Union Rags (6-1): 2nd favorite from the Kentucky Derby back with sufficient rest, could jockey change be a spark?
4 - Dullahan (5-1): Ran well in the Derby closing late to finish 3rd, so extra distance of the Belmont might come into play
11 - I'll Have Another (4-5): Finally getting the respect, and will be heavily bet by fans hoping to hold a piece of history  UPDATE: Scratched!
12 - My Adonis (20-1): This trainer/owner combo surprised by taking last year's Belmont, and it could be time for Dominguez to finally capture a Triple Crown race


1 - Street Life (12-1): Some good results early in the year, but hasn't showed much moving up to the big races
2 - Unstoppable U (30-1): Very lightly raced horse running in his first stakes race, but he did dominate last time out
4 - Atigun (30-1): Won last time out on Derby Day at Churchill Downs
9 - Paynter (8-1): Pretty strong odds for a lightly raced horse, so somebody must know something?

Stay Aways

6 - Ravelo's Boy (50-1): Coming off a long lay-off and hasn't shown up against top competition
7 - Five Sixteen (50-1): First stakes race, probably just doesn't have the talent, jockey is a rising star, but wish she had a better contender
8 - Guyana Star Dweej (50-1): Another long shot in its first stakes race, don't really trust Desormeaux right now either
10 - Optimizer (20-1): The only horse besides I'll Have Another racing all three Triple Crown legs, but not sure why he's bothering after weak 11th and 6th place finishes

The Bets:

$2 Win - 11 (I'll Have Another), for souvenir value only
$2 Exacta Box - 11, 12 (I'll Have Another, My Adonis)
$2 Exacta Box - 4, 11 (Dullahan, I'll Have Another)
$1 Exacta Box - 3, 11 (Union Rags, I'll Have Another
$1 Exacta Box - 3, 4, 12 (Union Rags, Dullahan, My Adonis)
$1 Trifecta Box - 4, 11, 12 (Dullahan, I'll Have Another, My Adonis)
$0.20 Superfecta Box - 3, 4, 11, 12 (Union Rags, Dullahan, I'll Have Another, My Adonis)

Total Bets: $28.80

The Revised Bets:

$2 Win - 10, 12 (Optimizer, My Adonis)
$2 Exacta Box - 3, 4, 12 (Union Rags, Dullahan, My Adonis)
$2 Exacta Box - 10, 12 (Optimizer, My Adonis)
$1 Trifecta Box - 3, 4, 12 (Union Rags, Dullahan, My Adonis)
$0.10 Superfecta Box - 3, 4, 10, 12 (Union Rags, Dullahan, Optimizer, My Adonis)

Total Bets: $28.40

Photo courtesy of AP


placed my bet for UNSTOPPABLE for a top 2 finish!

guess we'll have to wait another year, guys :(

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