Posts Tagged ‘Belmont Park’

Belmont Stakes 2013 Day Analysis Recap

Thanks to everyone for purchasing my Belmont Stakes Day analysis from Belmont Park on Saturday, June 8. For those who missed it, I have included highlights and analysis below.

Belmont Stakes Day analysis highlights:

BEL 7 (G2 True North) FAST BULLET ($3.60), Exacta w/Laurie’s Rocket ($23.60)
Daily Double (race 6-7, $8.20)
Daily Double (race 7-8, $12.60)
Pick 3 (race 6-7-8, $29)
BEL 9 (G2 Woody Stephens) Forty Tales/Declan’s Warrior EXACTA (best bet #3, $97)
BEL 10 (G1 Manhattan) POINT OF ENTRY ($3.10), TRIFECTA ($57)
Double (race 9-10, $34.60)
Pick 3 (race 8-10, $119)

Upcoming Today’s Racing Digest full cards:

Churchill Saturdays (June 15, June 22, June 29)

Belmont Park Saturdays (July 6, July 13)

Saratoga Saturdays (July 20, July 27, Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31)

Full card analysis can be purchased directly through me or via my Handicapper Page at TodaysRacingDigest.com. contact me at calkid692002@yahoo.com for more information.

Palace Malice Belmont Stakes 2013

Palace Malice surprises foes in Belmont Stakes 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Belmont Stakes Day Full Card Analysis – Saturday, June 8, 2013

By Jarrod Horak (horseracingnation.com, pick6blog.com)
Weather
: AM Showers (50% chance). High 71. Best Bets (races 5, 6, 9, 11)

BEL 1 (OC-14k/1x, 6f) #5 TYCOON CAT (5-1) was nabbed out of his last by claiming artist Jacobson and Alvarado is 7-for-10 with this outfit recently. Both of his career wins occurred here and the versatile 5yo gelding gets pace to chase in the paper race. He is 2-for-45 lifetime and 0-for-15 at 6f but he goes for much better connections now. #9 Master Cip (2-1) earned the best last race number in a clear place finish at this course/distance May 4. The early-pressing threat dons the hood and attracts Rosario. #12 Comandante (8-1) always runs his race on fast/wet dirt. Trombetta excels turf/dirt and the early-pressing type can spring forward 2nd off the shelf. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta 5/9-12, Exacta 9-12/5

BEL 2 (OC-25k/1x. 7f) #2 SLAN ABHAILE (7-2) fired Exacta shots in all three outings including back-to-back strong effort at this distance. The winner from his last came back to score again and Romans is sending out live wires here. #7 Integrity (3-1) cuts back and ran well at 7f at the Gulf Feb. 21. Rosario is 2-for-3 with Chad Brown. #5 Odea (6-1) is dangerous when he shakes loose early on wet tracks. He has yet to race beyond six furlongs. #9 Whatabouthonor (8-1) owns an ascending numbers pattern and hails from a profitable, low profile barn. I think 7f is pushing the stamina envelope. #4 Bad Hombre (15-1) got loose on wet footing at this course/distance May 11. Alvarado hops aboard and I am sure his connections are doing a rain dance. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Trifecta 2-5-7/2-5-7/2-4-5-7-9

BEL 3 (MSW, 7T) #9 ATLANTIC’S SMILE (5-1) fired a local gate bullet May 31 and dam has tossed three winners from as many starters. Stormy Atlantic is a solid turf sire and she might be a factor on any footing. #4 Lara (6-1) earned a better number on the drop here May 12. Dam has tossed a turf winner and Levine excels 2nd off the shelf#6 It’s Your Dime (5-2) is the one to catch on any footing. Stevens hops aboard the returnee. Main Track Only #13 Isn’tshewonderful (2-1) and #14 Concealed (5-2) own competitive dirt numbers. Rosario rides the former and the latter dons the hood for the productive Alvarado/Jacobson team. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Trifecta 4-9/4-6-9-13-14/4-6-9-13-14

BEL 4 (MSW, 8f) #1 EL GENIO (5-1) deserves a second chance after taking action and finishing 5th from the rail post in his 5.5f local bow May 15. He adds lasix-blinkers and the inside post is 30% at this trip. Iselin is 2-for-3 with second timers. #8 Captain Davrick (4-5) will probably earn his diploma at miniscule odds. He owns an ascending numbers pattern and exits a clear place finish over wet footing at Churchill. Rosario hops aboard the early-pressing gelding. #9 Native Singer (6-1) debuts with some decent local works and Galluscio can strike with a firster. Dam has tossed three winners. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Quinella 1-9/8

BEL 5 (MSW, 8f) #4 ACCELERARE (6-1) finished a solid 3rd in his local debut at 5-2 in the slop May 11. Pletcher excels with second timers and he also saddles #1 Sneaky Blowout (5-1). The latter ran well in his 7f bow at the Gulf under today’s rider Johnny V and was the beaten favorite at 8.5f here April 28. #6 Howie’s Tiz (7-2) finished a ½ length in front of Accelerare off a lengthy layoff last time. Rosario strings along and Levine excels 2nd off the shelf. THE PLAYS: #4 to win, Exacta 4/1-6, Exacta 1-6/4  

BEL 6 (Easy Goer, 8.5f) #9 IRSAAL (4-1) earned vastly improved numbers with the addition of lasix in his last pair and he handled wet tracks both times. #4 Doherty (6-1) finished behind Irsaal in his last pair and his numbers continue to rise. #2 Power Broker (7-5) exits a smart wet track win at Churchill. Napravnik sticks and she has been clicking with Baffert recently (Code West, Midnight Lucky). #8 Wabbajack (8-1) owns a rising numbers pattern and sharp, low profile trainer Toner excels with his recent grads trying winners for the first time. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Exacta 9/2-4-8, Exacta 2-4-8/9   

BEL 7 (G2 True North, 6f) #1 JUSTIN PHILLIP (7-5) has never been better. He exits back-to-back wins and moves up on wet footing. The Asmussen trainee has struck three times here. #1A FAST BULLET (7-5) makes his first start in more than six months. The lightly raced 5yo clearly has physical problems but he is talented when healthy. #2 Laurie’s Rocket (12-1) handles wet footing and is usually good for at least a share at 6f. #5 Caixa Electronica (7-2) won this last year and handles wet tracks. #6 Sage Valley (5-2) eyes five straight and must avoid a bounce. Johnny V hops off in favor of Justin Phillip. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Exacta 1-5-6/2

BEL 8 (G1 Just a Game, 8T) Overseas invader #5 LAUGH OUT LOUD (15-1) seems to handle any turf footing and horses bred in Great Britain seem to relish less than firm footing when they run in the U.S. She captured a Group II at this trip over soft ground last year. #1 Hungry Island (4-1) and #2 Stephanie’s Kitten (5-2) finished necks apart at Churchill May 4 and both handle various turf conditions. The former has struck three times here and the latter is 3-for-4 at 8f. #7 Better Lucky (12-1) has won in the mud, slop, and firm turf so why not yielding or soft ground? Rosario at a square price. #3 Centre Court (3-1), #4 Dayatthespa (6-1), and #6 Mizdirection (7-2) are a combined 22-for-32 on turf but all seem to prefer firm footing. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Trifecta 1-2-5/1-2-5/7

BEL 9 (G2 Woody Stephens, 7f) The paper race pace scenario looks demanding and #3 CAPO BASTONE (6-1) would love a speed duel. The Pletcher trainee is an effective late running sprinter and reunites with winning pilot Johnny V. He handles fast/wet dirt and earned his best career number in the G3 Derby Trial last out. #7 Forty Tales (5-1) necked Capo Bastone under the Twin Spires April 27 and is a solid off the pace threat once again.  #1 Declan’s Warrior (6-1) is 2-for-2 at this course/distance and a neck shy of a perfect 5-for-5 career mark. #9 Clearly Now (6-1) is versatile and always runs his race around one turn. #6 Zee Bros (4-1) is lightning quick and new pilot Napravnik is 3-for-4 with Baffert recently. He graduated at seven panels and would appreciate a speed favoring track. #11 Let Em Shine (3-1) is quality SoCal speed for the deadly Maldonado-Kitchingman team. His price is less than ideal and I want to see him prove it in this spot. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-7, Exacta 3-7/1-9  

BEL 10 (G1 Manhattan ‘ Cap, 10f inner turf) #1 POINT OF ENTRY (3-5) has won 6 of his last 7 and the fresh, classy 5yo horse handles firm/yielding turf. He owns running style versatility and is reportedly training better than ever. #5 Optimizer (6-1) is an iron horse and the Lukas trainee handles any type of turf footing. The multiple Grade III winner usually falls a bit short vs. classier rivals but Rosario is up and he always tries hard. #4 Real Solution (12-1) won on heavy ground in Italy and can spring forward in his second U.S. start for Chad Brown. Leaproux is a solid grass rider. THE PLAYS: Trifecta 1/4-5/ALL, Trifecta 1/ALL/4-5

BEL 11 (G1 Belmont Stakes, 12f) 12 of the last 14 Belmont Stakes winners skipped the Preakness (exceptions – Afleet Alex, Point Given). 6 Derby losers since 2000 skipped Preakness and won Belmont (Union Rags, Summer Bird, Jazil, Birdstone, Empire Maker, Commendable) #9 REVOLUTIONARY (9-2) was my Derby top and galloped out in front after landing the show on the first Saturday in May. He won his other three routes including the productive LA Derby and is fresh and ready to turn the tables on Orb. He was 2nd in his lone start here last year and his strong female family should enable him to navigate this marathon trip. He handles fast/wet dirt and reunites with winning pilot Castellano. #3 Overanalyze (12-1) wins every other race and he’s a Belmont Stakes winner if that pattern holds. The 3-time Graded winner captured the G2 Futurity here and owns the right grinding style to succeed at this distance. He reunites with 2-time Belmont Stakes winning rider Johnny V. His late sire Dixie Union was responsible for last year’s Belmont hero Union Rags. #5 Orb (3-1) had his 5-race win streak snapped in a flat Preakness effort from the dead-rail. He is better than his last and continues to train forwardly but this is his third start in five weeks. I have always liked Shug’s colt and maybe my Derby exacta box (Revolutionary-Orb) will come together this time around. #1 Frac Daddy (20-1) is firing bullets and there is talk of him going for the lead from the rail. McPeek has won the Belmont before and I liked him earlier this year. #14 Golden Soul (10-1) chugged up for the place in the Derby and can get a small piece of this. #13 Unlimited Budget (8-1) had her undefeated streak snapped with a Ky Oaks show finish. Female family says no to 12f but she will be in the right stalking spot under Napravnik. #12 Palace Malice (15-1) has not won beyond 6.5f and is eligible for entry level spot. #2 Freedom Child (8-1) freaked in the Peter Pan mud and might get wet footing again. He is training well for this but does not look like a marathon type. #7 Oxbow (5-1) stole the Preakness but won’t get loose this time and he never wins when he fails to set the pace. #6 Incognito (20-1) owns a decent pedigree but is not this quality yet. #10 Will Take Charge (20-1) is a gem of inconsistency. #11 Vyjack (20-1) is not bred for this trip. #4 Giant Finish (30-1) looks like a pace factor at the most. #8 Midnight Taboo (30-1) is lightly raced and overmatched. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Exacta 9/3-5, Exacta 3-5/9, Trifecta 3-5-9/3-5-9/1-2-3-5-9-12-13-14

BEL 12 (OC-20/1x, 7T) #10 VISIONANDAPRAYER (5-1) ran well for new trainer Englehart in the local slop (off the turf) at 7f May 11. Barn $$ rider Irad Ortiz Jr. sticks and he’s a forwardly placed threat on any footing. #5 Why Not Whiskey (8-1) won his lone try at this course/distance (good ground) last year and needed his 8.5f comeback May 18. Main Track Only entrants #13 Bond Vigilante (3-1) and #14 Ultimate Empire (2-1) must be respected on dirt. The former beat a next out winner March 30 and the latter romped in the local mud May 9. THE PLAYS: #10 to win, Exacta 10/5-13-14, Exacta 5-13-14/10 

BEL 13 (Clm-20k, 8.5f inner turf) #1 NINEINTHENINE (3-1) handles firm/yielding turf and wet dirt. #4 J W Blue (4-1) looks like a threat on any footing for the productive Alvarado/Jacobson team. If this race moves to dirt, keep an eye on Main Track Only entrants #13 Sovereign Default (5-2) and #14 Handsome Harbor (7-2). They both exit place finishes in the local slop. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Exacta 1/4-13-14, Exacta 4-13-14/1

Double/Pick 3/Pick 4 contenders – in order of preference

Race

1   (5-9-12)
2   (2-7-5-9-4)
3   (9-4-6-13-14)
4   (1-8-9)
5   (4-1-6)
6   (9-4-2-8)
7   (1)
8   (5-1-2-7)
9   (3-7-1-9)
10 (1-5-4)
11 (9-3-5)
12 (10-5-13-14)
13 (1-4-13-14)

Belmont Stakes Day – Saturday, June 9, 2012

DerbyWars.com

We have a $30,000 Belmont Stakes Day game on tap for Saturday. The buy in is $175 and the Prize Distribution goes down to 32nd place. Winner brings home $10k.

Derby Wars

Play Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day games at DerbyWars.com

Also scheduled for Saturday is our $1,000 Belmont Stakes Survivor.  The Derby Wars survivor games are a great value. The buy in is $4 and you can purchase up to three entries. If you selection finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, you survive to the next contest race. First place gets $750 and second place brings home $250.

Other games scheduled for Saturday include a $150 Belmont Survivor, a $500 Belmont Park game ($12 buy in), and a $600 Belmont-Hollywood game ($25 buy in).

Fast Track Radio Show

As usual, I will be joining Steve Bortstein on the Fast Track this weekend. The show airs weekends at 10am ET and we do frequently go over the following hour by about 5-10 minutes, so we’re not automatically done at 11am ET. Click here to listen to the show.

HorseRacingNation.com

Horse Racing Nation

Check out all of the latest Belmont Stakes news at HorseRacingNation.com

Check out HRN for updated Belmont Stakes 2012 news, including results, recaps, videos, and selections.

For Saturday, I posted free analysis of the Grade 2 True North Handicap.

Pick 6 Blog.com

Friday night’s Betfair Hollywood Park Pick 6 Tickets are now available for your viewing pleasure. It looks like a moderately tough sequence and make sure to check back for Saturday’s Pick 6 tickets as well. In addition to my Pick 6 tickets, I am also now including a best bet and live longshot for each Hollywood Park program.

Today’sRacingDigest.com

I am offering full card analysis for Belmont Stakes Day on my Today’s Racing Digest Handicapper Page.

The cost is $10 and includes wagering strategies for all 13-races. Primary/Secondary Pick 6 Tickets included as well.

I have also posted a bonus Saturday free play (Belmont race 13) on my Digest Handicapper page (click view sample).

Note that I posted my analysis before I’ll Have Another scratched, but I have never been a fan and he was not part of my top four selections anyway.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: My Adonis

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes list concludes with late entrant My Adonis.

Belmont Stakes 2012 logo
My Adonis’s sire Pleasantly Perfect (by Pleasant Colony) won 9 of 18 races from 2001-04 including the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in ‘03. The Lane’s End Farm stallion is responsible for Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Shared Account, multiple graded turf route winner Cozi Rosie, 2-time ‘Big Cap runner-up Setsuko, and recent G3 Affirmed hero Nonios.

Pleasantly Perfect’s sire Pleasant Colony (by His Majesty) won 6 of 14 starts including the G1 Kentucky Derby and G1 Preakness. His Triple Crown bid came to a halt with a 3rd place finish in the 1981 Belmont Stakes. The late sire is responsible for such prominent runners as Pleasant Tap, Pleasant Stage, St. Jovite, Behrens, and ’93 Belmont Stakes hero Colonial Affair.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Unstoppable U

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Unstoppable U.

Belmont Stakes 2012 logo
Unstoppable U’s sire Exchange Rate (by Danzig) won 6 of 15 races from 1999-2001 including the Risen Star Stakes and G2 Tom Fool. The Three Chimneys Stallion is responsible for 31 stakes winners including Ermine and Xchanger.

Exchange Rate’s sire Danzig (by Northern Dancer) won all three career starts in New York. The influential stallion died in 2006 at age 29. He sired such prominent runners as Chief’s Crown (3rd ’85 Belmont Stakes), Stephan’s Odyssey (’85 Belmont Stakes runner-up), Danzig Connection (’86 Belmont Stakes winner), ’92 Preakness hero Pine Bluff, and Breeders’ Cup Mile winners Lure and War Chant.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

I’ll Have Another Scratched from Belmont Stakes

Trainer Doug O’Neill announced on Dan Patrick’s radio show that I’ll Have Another will be scratched from the Belmont Stakes.

When asked by Dan Patrick if we would see I’ll Have Another race again, O’Neill responded that if he had to gamble we have already seen I’ll Have Another’s last race.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

 

 

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Union Rags

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Union Rags.

Belmont stakes 2012 logo

Union Rags’s late sire Dixie Union (by Dixieland Band) won the G1 Haskell in 2000, defeating Captain Steve and Milwaukee Brew. He also captured the G1 Malibu in his final career start and sired 39 stakes winners from his first eight crops including Gone Astray and Grasshopper. Dixie Union’s offspring are usually effective up to a mile and an eighth.

Dixie Union’s sire was Dixieland Band (by Northern Dancer), a Maryland-bred horse I remember when I first started following racing in the early 1980′s. Dixieland Band won the G2 Pennsylvania Derby and G2 Mass ‘Cap. He also competed in the 1983 Belmont Stakes and finished 14th.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Street Life

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Street Life.

Belmont stakes 2012 logo
Street Life’s sire Street Sense (by Street Cry-IRE) won 6 of 13 races in 2006-07. The ’06 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ also captured the G3 Tampa Bay Derby, G1 Kentucky Derby, G2 Jim Dandy, and G1 Travers. He banked more than $4.3 million for trainer Carl Nafzger and owner Jim Tafel. The promising young sire is responsible for graded winners Motor City and Castaway.

Street Sense’s sire Street Cry-IRE (by Machiavellian) went 5-for-12 from 2000-02 and won such prestigious stakes races as the G1 Dubai World Cup and G1 Stephen Foster. He has sired multiple stakes winners including Desert Party, Street Boss, and Zenyatta.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Paynter

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Paynter.

Belmont Stakes 2012 logo
Paynter’s sire Awesome Again (by Deputy Minister) won 9 of 12 races from 1997-98. He captured such prestigious events as the Queen’s Plate, G2 Stephen Foster, G1 Whitney, and G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. He earned more than $4.3 million in his career and has sired 11 grade one winners including Awesome Gem, Game On Dude, Ghostzapper, and Ginger Punch.

Awesome Again’s sire Deputy Minister (by Vice Regent) went 12-for-22 from 1981-83 and won multiple stakes races including the GP Sprint Championship, Donn Handicap, and Tom Fool. He sired more than 80 stakes winners including Dehere, Deputy Commander, Go For Wand, Open Mind, and Belmont Stakes hero Touch Gold.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Optimizer

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Optimizer.

Belmont Stakes 2012 logo
Optimizer’s sire English Channel (by Smart Strike) won 13 of 23 races from 2004-07. The turf marathon specialist won such prestigious races as the G1 Secretariat, G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, G1 United Nations, and G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf. He earned more than $5.3 million in his career and in addition to Optimizer he is the sire of stakes winners Skyring, Strait of Dover, and Star Channel. His currently stands for a $25k stud fee at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky.

English Channel’s sire Smart Strike (by Mr. Prospector) went 6-for-8 in 1995-96 including wins in Monmouth’s G3 Salvator Mile and G1 Iselin. He has sired many stakes winners including Curlin (2nd Belmont Stakes), Lookin At Lucky, and My Miss Aurelia.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

Will I’ll Have Another Sweep Triple Crown?

I’ll Have Another will try to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 when he runs in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9.

I'll Have Another

Does I’ll Have Another have what it takes to win the Triple Crown? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Since Spectacular Bid in 1979, eleven 3-year-olds have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fail in their Triple Crown quest at Belmont Park.

Spectacular Bid appeared to be a slam dunk in the ’79 Belmont Stakes but received a questionable ride and finished 3rd. Pleasant Colony was also 3rd in his failed bid in 1981. Alysheba finished a disappointing 4th behind runaway winner Bet Twice in 1987. Easy Goer turned the tables on his arch rival Sunday Silence to deny history in 1989.

Touch Gold turned the tables on Silver Charm in 1997. Real Quiet moved too soon and Victory Gallop made him pay the price late in 1998. My value top Lemon Drop Kid spoiled Charismatic‘s party in 1999.

Big Brown

Big Brown was a big frown in 2008 Belmont Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

War Emblem faded to 8th while Sarava lit up the tote in 2002. My Derby top Empire Maker got sweet revenge on Funny Cide in 2003. I was never on the Smarty Jones bandwagon and was not surprised to see him go down to Birdstone in 2004. Finally, I was not a fan of Big Brown and expected him to go down in flames in 2008 but I was not smart enough to come up with Da Tara.

I did not start attending the races until 1980 so I just missed Spectacular Bid’s 3-year-old season, but I did see the last ten failed attempts and know how hard it is to complete the sweep with a win in the Test of Champions.

I’ll Have Another has a winning spirit, versatile running style, and a promising pedigree, but is that enough to complete a seemingly impossible task? History is not on his side.

Mario Gutierrez has been a huge asset up to this point, but so was Stewart Elliott aboard Smarty Jones until he was harassed by Rock Hard Ten (Alex Solis) and Eddington (Jerry Bailey) at Big Sandy. Kent Desormeaux jumped the gun in ’98 aboard Real Quiet and Gary Stevens and Victory Gallop tagged him late. Gutierrez has been a cool customer so far but the inexperienced pilot could get lost in the vastness of Belmont Park.

Ruler On Ice

Last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On ice – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Fresh, talented rivals also make the twelve furlong task a daunting one. Empire Maker, 2nd to Funny Cide in the 2003 Derby, skipped the Preakness and turned the tables on him in the Belmont. Birdstone did the same thing to Smarty Jones in 2005. The last six Belmont Stakes winners (Ruler On Ice, Drosselmeyer, Summer Bird, Da’  Tara, Rags To Riches, Jazil) did not run in the Preakness Stakes.

The most dangerous threat to I’ll Have Another is Union Rags. The Michael Matz trainee is a 3-time graded winner exiting back-to-back troubled trips under Julien Leparoux in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. I have always thought that he was the most talented member of his generation and a clean trip is all he needs to prove me right. Look for Matz to reach out for an experienced NY rider for the Belmont Stakes.

Alpha is another interesting candidate and reminds me of last year’s Belmont Stakes runner-up Stay Thirsty. He owns tactical speed, is bred to run all day, and should get better with age. Kiaran McLaughlin won the 2006 Belmont Stakes with Jazil. This year’s Kentucky Derby show finisher Dullahan is also waiting in the wings.

Much will be written and said in the weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes. I would like to see a Triple Crown winner as much as anyone and will be pleasantly surprised if history is made at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 9. Let the games begin!

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