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Belmont Stakes

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 6/3/2015 9:18:35 PM

About the Race and Track

Belmont Park

The Belmont Stakes was first run in 1867 and is the oldest Triple Crown race. The Kentucky Derby was not run until 8 years later and the first Preakness was run in 1873.

Secretariat ran perhaps the greatest race ever when he won the Belmont in 1973 by 31 lengths in the American dirt record time of 2:24.

American Pharoah would join the 11 other Triple Crown champions if he can pull off this magical feat Saturday and the last was Affirmed in 1978. He has been tabbed as the 3-5 favorite. The other odds mentioned are the morning line.

A Longshot With Some Value: Mubtaahij

This racer has been carefully pointed for a big day for some time now. He has more speed than he just flashed and one could make a case that he could get a solid stalk and kick trip. And there is nothing wrong with breaking from the rail in this race.

The Pick: American Pharoah (Win)

Having the experience of bringing 3 other horses into the Belmont Stakes with a chance at the Triple Crown, does not make it any easier on trainer Bob Baffert but at least he knows what to expect. American Pharoah drilled solidly on the 26 th and galloped a mile and a half on Friday. The drill on Monday was the 6th best on the tab and watching the work was impressive and the runner just seemed to glide over the surface.


American Pharoah has had good trips but you make your own luck if you have tactical speed. The Derby was run in merry-go-round fashion but the track was seemed much more tiring late in the day and Victor Espinoza made the right move in the Preakness when it started to pour. The Pimlico surface was sealed about 90 minutes before the Preakness but harrowed shortly before the race went off. After the harrowing, the rains came and that may one of the reason for the sluggish time. This racer has a right to get the trip on top as his sirePioneerof the Nile was sired by Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, who was sired by BC Classic winner Unbridled.

Frammento (30-1) was hooked wide with 11th of 18 in the Derby, the colt nestled into the Saratoga scene aiming for this race. Not sure if this runner beat anybody in the lone win. The place horse in that maiden breaker graduated in his next start, but has lost 7 times since.

Frosted (5-1) should give a very good account of himself. He had the procedure after the Fountain of Youth, his trainerMcLaughlin adjusted the blinkers and he improved greatly in the Wood before the solid showing atChurchill. He showed he was full of himself with the best of the morning drill on the 15th. Thirteen of the last 15Belmont Stakes winners skipped the Preakness and since 2000 only Point Given and Afleet Alex were able to record the Preakness/Belmont double. In his last work, he worked in company with older Group 2 winner Tamarkuz and both had plenty left in the tank as they galloped out well and came back in good shape.

Keen Ice (20-1) colt has a nice turn of late foot, but he is giving away winning experience. And with his style, the sun, moon and stars will need to be aligned. He was fully extended for the lone win and the place horse that day has done nothing to flatter this runner. That 2nd finisher, Starbound, is still a maiden after losing 7 times after being beaten by a head.

Madefromlucky (12-1) didn’t duck the Derby champ early in the Triple Crown trail, now he will try to ambush him today after a workmanlike win in the Peter Pan. He will be trying to duplicate when Tonalist did last year of winning this race after the Peter Pan success. A bad actor at the gate early in his career, like the way he was inching away in his 2015 debut. He may not have adored the slop being kicked in his face in the Rebel but did keep to the task when hooking the impressive winner in last. His sire took the Preakness, his dam was unraced and kin Showmanship did take a maiden claimer at a mile and 70 years but that racer had 3 lengths at the top of the lane and won by a neck.

Materiality (6-1) is seasoned now after living to tell about his horrible trip in the Kentucky Derby. The brilliance is there and if can grow up very quickly, he could be in the thick of it at crunch time today. In the Derby, he broke sideways and dropped far off the pace and after that he seemed to be surrounded by a wall of horses. He could have very easily, considering the inexperience, thrown in the towel but he fought hard to the end, all this despite losing a shoe. The colt will be trying to be the 8th runner since 2000 to run in the Derby skip the Preakness and win this race. Would not be shocked if this runner is sent to the lead but it’s not easy to take them all the way in this race. Since Swale in 1984, only Da’ Tara in 2008 has won the Belmont wire-to-wire.

If it were a lesser horseman than Michael deKock, running Mubtaahij (10-1) here after just an okay Derby try would not be thought of highly, but this trainer does not run where he does not belong. He has had several Belmont drills since the Derby and would not be shocked if he is more into the bit off the nice :38 blowout on the 27th. Winning at a mile and three-sixteenths on the taxing a deep Meydan track will give him as good a foundation of any and the blood is there as his half sister Lilly of the Valley took a Group 1 going a mile and a quarter on grass.

Dallas Stewart again proved he could step up the plate on the big days as Tale of Verve (15-1) was getting to American Pharoah a bit in Kentucky at a fat 28-1. Cut out to run as a $440,000 purchase, this race was troubled and wide early in his career. His sire was a Grade 1 winner, his dam lost 11 times and the siblings are on the light side as the top earner needed 10 wins and 35 races to earn less than $100K. Backers can point to fact kin Pie Town did win a hurdle race at 2 and 3/8ths miles. Set down in his final work for this race, the soph was clocked in :59.12 for 5 furlongs.

American Pharoah seems to have a date with destiny on Saturday.


						

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