Before everyone crowns Exaggerator the winner in the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes there will be 12 other horses who will have a say in the outcome. I’ll examine a few of them who may upset the 9/5 favorite.
#1. Governor Malibu, at 12/1 odds is a fast improving colt and may surprise a few horses. He is familiar with the Belmont track and his 2nd place finish in the G2 Peter Pan on May 16th showed he may be able to come off the pace to claim victory.
#2. Destin, a Todd Pletcher trained colt who finished 6th in the Kentucky Derby after getting bumped around in the crowded field. Jockey Javier Castellano will need to avoid getting caught inside and hope for a slower than average pace to win. He’s one for one at Belmont after breaking his maiden last October.
#3. Cherry Wine, his Beyer figures have improved in each of his last eight races. He finished 2nd in the Preakness Stakes on a fast paced sloppy track. He’ll need another fast paced race if he plans on winning this race.
#4. Suddenbreakingnews, another long shot at 10-1 who also ran in the Kentucky Derby finishing 5th. He should be rested and will be closing strong at the finish. With the jockey change to Mike Smith you can’t count this horse out.
#5. Stradivari, this is trainer Todd Pletcher’s other colt entered in the Belmont. He finished a decent 4th in the Preakness after only three career starts. Look for him to be setting the pace with Gettysburg and then trying to hang on for the 1 ½ miles. It won’t be easy but he may stay in the money.
#11. Exaggerator, the best colt in the field. The Desormeaux brothers know they have the horse to beat. This race sets up for him perfectly, especially if the early pace is fast. The only apprehension I have are the rigors of running three major races in five weeks at three different tracks against colts who will be fresher.
#12. Brody’s Cause, 20/1 early morning odds for a horse that beat Exaggerator twice? He’s also bred to go the distance. If you’re looking for a legitimate long shot this is your horse.
#13. Creator, at 10/1 he may be the play of the day. Throw out his Kentucky Derby race where he was bumped hard and had to check up. Look for this colt to be closing like a train in the stretch if trainer Steve Asmussen gets his pacesetter, Gettysburg, to set quick pace up front early on.
I’ll put my usual $50.00 in wagers and hope for the best. The smart money will be on Exaggerator so I’ll key him with a number of horses. Let’s start with a $1.00 exacta-11/ALL=-$12.00. $0.50 trifecta-11/2,3,12,13/1,2,3,4,5,10,12,13=-$14.00. $0.10 superfecta-11/2,3,12,13/2,3,4,5,12,13/1,2,3,4,5,12,13=-$10.00. $1.00 exacta-13/1,2,3,4,5,10,11,12=-$8.00. $2.00-W/P/S-12=-$6.00. Total bets $50.00.
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