Five Belmont Stakes Trends

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman")

As the lone twelve-furlong grade I race run on dirt in this country, the Belmont Stakes stands alone in the world of handicapping; an island in an ocean of races that are generally nine furlongs and shorter. Handicappers and horses alike rarely get a chance to exercise their skills at such a lengthy distance on the main track, which may partly explain why there have been a number of longshot winners since 2000.

In an effort to make some sense out of this often inscrutable race, I have compiled a list of a five Belmont Stakes-winning trends that have shown up repeatedly over the past several years. These are only trends, of course, and it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if the winner of the Belmont were to defy several, if not all, of the following observations. But in any case, I find these trends useful to keep in mind when handicapping the Belmont, as they have proven helpful in identifying longshot contenders I might otherwise have overlooked. So let’s give them a quick look…

1. Deep closers [generally] don’t win the Belmont

Although in theory the twelve-furlong distance of the Belmont Stakes should give deep closers more time to catch up, the reality has generally been the opposite. Particularly in the past four years, early speed has proven a huge asset in the Belmont, with no winner coming from more than five lengths behind at any call, and leaders/stalkers routinely winning or hitting the board. Last year’s Belmont was an especially dramatic example, with Palace Malice and Oxbow tracking one of the fastest paces in Belmont history before going on to finish 1-2. Coming home in third place was Kentucky Derby winner Orb, a deep closer that was unable to catch the top two finishers despite a :54.23-second final half-mile.

While determining which horses will race near the lead in this year’s Belmont is as much guesswork as science, I think it’s safe to say that California Chrome, General a Rod, Samraat, Social Inclusion, Tonalist, and possibly Ride On Curlin will be within five lengths of the early lead, while the well-regarded contenders Commanding Curve and Wicked Strong are likely to be farther back.

2. Non-stakes winners are welcome

While one would think that a race as prestigious as the Belmont would be dominated by horses with previous stakes victories, that has not been the case in recent years. Believe it or not, six of the last eight Belmont Stakes winners (Jazil, Da’ Tara, Summer Bird, Drosselmeyer, Ruler On Ice, and Palace Malice) had never won a stakes race prior to their victory in the Test of Champions.

Among the possible runners in this year’s Belmont field, Commanding Curve, Commissioner, Matterhorn, Matuszak, Ride On Curlin, and Social Inclusion all fit this trend.

3. Horses that lose the Derby and skip the Preakness have had great success in the Belmont

Since 2000, Commendable, Empire Maker, Birdstone, Jazil, Summer Bird, Union Rags, and Palace Malice all won the Belmont Stakes after losing the Kentucky Derby and skipping the Preakness Stakes. The benefits of passing on the Preakness to have a fresher horse for the Belmont are obvious, and the success rate (50%) of these horses has been striking.

This year, Commanding Curve, Medal Count, Samraat, and Wicked Strong are Derby starters that skipped a trip to Pimlico to focus on the Belmont Stakes.

4. Dosage is worth a look

I know that many people don’t use Dosage in handicapping races anymore, but after examining the pedigrees of recent Belmont winners, I found that the last ten winners all had a Dosage Index of 3.00 or lower. While I wouldn’t put too much stock in this trend, if it holds true again, it means that we won’t be seeing California Chrome, Matterhorn, Matuszak, or Ride On Curlin in the winner’s circle.

5. Expect the unexpected

Since 2000, the average odds on the winner of the Belmont Stakes has been just under 17.50-1, with eight horses finding the winner’s circle at double-digit odds: Palace Malice (13.80-1), Ruler On Ice (24.75-1), Drosselmeyer (13-1), Summer Bird (11.90-1), Da’ Tara (38.50-1), Birdstone (36-1), Sarava (70.25-1), and Commendable (18.80-1). This trend has been particularly noteworthy since 2008, as five of the last six Belmont winners went off at higher than 10-1. So if the horse you like in the Belmont is being overlooked in the betting, don’t be concerned—consider it a good thing!

Until Belmont Day actually arrives and wagering on the race begins, it’s impossible to say for certain which horses will go off at large prices. But with that said, here’s my guess on the odds that each horse might potentially offer:

California Chrome 4-5
Tonalist 6-1
Commanding Curve 8-1
Wicked Strong 8-1
Ride On Curlin 12-1
Social Inclusion 15-1
General a Rod 20-1
Samraat 20-1
Commissioner 30-1
Medal Count 30-1
Matterhorn 50-1
Matuszak 50-1

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Leave a Comment:


Trend #6: Horses that win the Preakness and contest the Belmont have had minute success.

In the last 20 renewal of the Belmont, 15 Preakness winners have faced the starter with only three emerging victorious i.e., Tabasco Cat, Afleet Alex and Point Given.

03 Jun 2014 10:19 PM
Little Bill

On deep closers- That's solid info. There's a Triple Crown Infograph on this sites home page that displays this in simple fashion. Also note that since Swale only one, Da'Tara, has wired the field and that only after Big Brown pulled up, if I remember correctly.

On dosage- I lean on the Profile points more than the index. High #s in the first three and some #s in the last two. This field has an unusually high number of that sort, more than the Derby did. I also think these #s indicate a strong turf route pedigree.  

03 Jun 2014 10:36 PM

Trend #1: You're wrong about Wicked Strong ...he.ll be close throughout and very dangerous on Saturday.

03 Jun 2014 11:00 PM
Arch the phoneman

"Keelerman",loved your points.  I really don't see Tonalist as 2nd choice. And judging by the "lovefest"all over the internet, I suspect Chrome will be closer to 1-2 even with 10 or 11 starters. I see Ride on Curlin 8-1, Wicked Strong 10-1, with Commanding Curve and Tonalist next in the 12-1 to 15-1 range. I can see commanding Curve being overlooked because of the "no stakes win"thing. I'm looking at him hard. The problem is,as you point out, he comes from out of it. Commisioner seems like he would enjoy the distance,but,frankly he's been a disappointment to me. Wicked Strong was highly regarded going into the Derby,but,there's that pesky deep closing style again. Samarat is a guaranteed "price"because people will remember Chrome running away from him in the Derby. The distance and extra rest could change things. I've still got time to sort it out. Thanks.

03 Jun 2014 11:24 PM
Arch the phoneman

Ranagulzion,you just might be right.

03 Jun 2014 11:36 PM

Trend for gamblers: horses that ship in to Belmont late are totally ignored by the press and have scrumptious odds.

I was searching all over for the news that Medal Count was a no-go. "How could I have missed that?" I was wondering. Medal Count was meanwhile working lights out at another racetrack, one with no possible stringers living in the neighbourhood and so inaccessible to the sporting press.

I won't take a pill or swallow a betting angle unless I know the mechanism of action, and the reason deep closers do poorly is lack of stamina. They do not have enough left after even a restrained 10 furlongs to muster a winning turn of foot in the stretch. See European racing for examples of both types, those that are shown daylight and hang versus those that are able to mount a late rally.

It may also be a test of courage, and perhaps also a matter of experience. As a horse is tiring, it can be daunting to realize there's another quarter mile to run, especially if it's totally unexpected.

One thinks of El Gran Senor, running a quarter horse penultimate quarter and then, surprise!, having a stretch run still ahead of him.

04 Jun 2014 12:50 AM

Another trend is identifying who the surprise speed that will contest the lead besides the known speed horses in the race.

After watching the Preakness again, I feel more confident that Chrome has a really good shot at winning the Triple Crown.  Victor whipped him about 4 or 5 times, Victor had ROC measured at the top of the stretch.   ROC was whipped about 13 times. trying to get close but after that run at the top of the stretch, ROC had nothing left after the 1/8th pole.

Keelerman : Someone posted the dosage info of the Derby runners, I believe Samraat had one of the lowest dosage info, do you have that information ?   I don't use those things for handicapping but now that you mentioned it, I remember that post and made me feel even more secure about picking Samraat for the Derby.   Having said that, all my bets will have Chrome singled to win.  I'm hoping to see Chrome go off at around 5-2, I think Coldfacts has posted enough times to get people to toss him lol.

04 Jun 2014 1:52 AM

Don't know if it means anything but doing my due diligence at various sites I'm intrigued with the chef-de-race site "Belmont Racing Contenders" data page.

Everybody is dissing Chromes pedestrian bloodlines yet in a key statistic "the sire's %C (percentage of progeny open stakes wins at the classic distances of 9 1/2, 10 and 12 furlongs)" Lucky Pulpit towers over the other Belmont participants with a 40.0 %C. The next highest is Medal Count's 17.8! You'd think all the wise guy professional reporters who get paid the big bucks would take that into consideration, but maybe there's something else going on. (IYKWIM wink)

There is other esoteric data there e.g. TE (Total energy expended)which, among other things expresses a horses inherent ability. I find the whole page of charts quite informative and fascinating.

The stars might truly be aligning and we might be in for one monster performance, considering the relative lack of talent he seems to be facing.

But I could be wrong. It's horse racing you know!!

04 Jun 2014 3:03 AM
Rusty Weisner


It sounds like you're planning on betting Wicked Strong, too?  I agree that he won't be too far back.  I think he wants to be in the lead of the second flight; that is where his jockey wanted him in the Derby but he couldn't find an entry from the outside early on.

04 Jun 2014 7:37 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'm not sure about your ML in a couple respects:

My over/under line for CC is 4-5, but I think he'll be 3-5; Smarty Jones I think was 1-3, by way of comparison.

Medal Count will not be 30-1; I'd take him at that. I give him comparable odds to ARod and Samraat.

I don't think Tonalist is the second betting choice.  I think fourth or fifth, actually.  I'm afraid of WS being the second choice, believe it or not, so I'd be delighted with 8-1.  My guess is they prefer CC2, though.  Not sure why you anticipate disrespect for ROC, but it was the case with the comparable (and better) Oxbow last year.

Back to the Met Mile -- this is a race I can't remember playing for a long while, as it was never on the Belmont card.  Any factor that it's actually a one-turn mile?

04 Jun 2014 7:44 AM
Rusty Weisner


I really enjoy your comments.  

There's an info-graphic on times winner's position at every point of call here at bloodhorse.  The best in the past fifteen years, better than Affirmed's, was Point Given's.

I seem to recall a lot of tactical error in Belmonts past.  I'm curious whether pedigree experts think the Derby is more of a test than the Belmont.  

04 Jun 2014 7:47 AM
Rusty Weisner


Here's an elaboration on that trend:  I'm pretty sure that horses that have contended the first two legs and won neither have NEVER won the Belmont in the last fifteen years or so; that would eliminate ROC and ARod from win contention.  

04 Jun 2014 8:00 AM
Rusty Weisner


Same may go for A Rod, who has stayed at Churchill and had a bullet 5f work last week.

04 Jun 2014 8:07 AM

Here is the odds model I think the post time prices  will resemble the most with the favorite receiving lower odds and the 2nd choice higher odds.I think the 3rd 4th picks will be close to the odds of the 2nd choice,and the longest shots will go off at higher odds.I got this results chart from Equibase it is the 2005 Belmont.

Here is the

04 Jun 2014 8:17 AM
Ian Tapp

Avg. dosage index (DI) for Belmont Stakes winners 1994-2013: 2.83. Avg. DI for all other Belmont runners: 2.74.

Of 206 Belmont starters 1994-2013, half w/ highest DI ("sprinters") avg. finish 5.5; lowest DI ("stayers") avg. finish 5.9.

In other words, don't be fooled by dosage theory because (a) it does not correlate with a better result in the Belmont and (b) an overmatched horse with a "distance pedigree" may still be overmatched in this race.

04 Jun 2014 8:24 AM
Monarchos Matt

Rusty and Ranag,

We're in agreement on Wicked Strong. He will not be far from the leaders and should be poised for a huge late move with the five weeks of rest. He's certainly my top choice, and I'll be delighted with 8-1 or higher...he should be half of that, but with CC likely around 1-2, it's just a matter of math. I'll be on him to win and place.

I'm still on the fence regarding ROC. Track reports are souring on him all of a sudden. But I've bet him literally every race this year...won money in the Preakness and Arkansas Derby, lost everywhere else. It's almost suicide insurance at this point, because I really believe he is going to have a breakthrough at some point.

04 Jun 2014 8:58 AM


In spite of all that has been written about the Belmont, the fact still remains that pace makes the race.

Two of my biggies were betting on Birdstone and Lemon drop Kid to win the Belmont.

The reason is that the Belmont is the ideal race for a plodder.

Look at it this way.

Let us say that a horse enters the Belmont and ambles along at 12 seconds per furlong for the 12 furlongs. What would happen? He would win by at least 12 lengths. His time would be 2:24

However, this requires a horse with stamina, no matter how brilliant any other horse in the field might be. The key lies in finding such a horse.

In Lemon Drop Kid’s race they ran the first 8 in 96.57 seconds or 12.07 seconds per furlong. He was 2.5 lengths off the pace. They finished in 2:27.88.

In Birdstone’s race, they ran the mile in 95.44 seconds or 11.9 seconds per furlong. Smarty Jones was on the lead. Birdstone was 6 lengths back. They finished in 2:27.5.

Palace Malice went the mile in 96.47 seconds.

The key is in finding the horse that can amber along at 12 seconds per furlong for a long time.

I think I know who that horse is.

(The arithmetic might be screwed up but the idea is the same).

04 Jun 2014 9:07 AM


I wrote "amber along"

I meant "amble along".

04 Jun 2014 9:14 AM

The odds board is the FINAL price of all the Bettors that study the PPs as a group.In fact historians this is THE ONLY HISTORY YOU WILL GET A GLIMPSE OF BEFORE THE GATE OPENS. It is the ONLY KNOWN BEFORE THE RACE STARTS.I used to go to the pari-mutuals including the horse track and win just looking at the odds board and the jockeys and trainers.

I let everyone do the PP work and I just manage my money and use my betting strategies.Once I went to all three pari-mutuals and won not a lot just with the odds board and the humans behind the numbers.PPs are just reminders for me they dont contain any edge for me.GL to all.

04 Jun 2014 9:25 AM
Pedigree Ann

How many of those Belmont wins by 'outsiders' and 'fresh' horses happen when something untoward or unexpected has happened to the Derby and/or Preakness winners? Like Smarty Jones getting dragged along on a fast pace; Animal Kingdom getting creamed early, losing bunches of lengths; War Emblem's stumble out of the gate, which kept him from getting to front, where he needed to be. Big Brown losing his steroids and running out of puff. I'll Have Another being scratched with an injury. Oh, and Calvin pulling the trigger on Mine that Bird too soon, so that his move petered out before the wire. Although I think the latter was not so unexpected, as he was criticized for not riding at the track before the Belmont and going on TV shows instead.

How many of these Belmonts included fields in which the Derby and/or Preakness winner wasn't even there? Lookin at Lucky didn't go on to the Belmont, I do remember that; a Derby winner who loses the Preakness often doesn't go on. Blast I can't get a hold of my on-line data sources to cite examples.

Anyway, are you comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges?

04 Jun 2014 9:37 AM
Pedigree Ann

Jersey Boy, what you are describing is the definition of a one-paced horse. IF he has been trained properly for a distance of ground (and it is a big IF, because many trainers these days don't know how to do) and can run 12-sec furlongs, at 6f he's a claimer; at 8f, he might win a decent race; at 9f, he begins to look like something; at 10f he's Northern Dancer; and at 12f he's Secretariat. (Obviously, not LITERALLY those horses, but able to run as fast as they did at the distance.) All because he a) doesn't tire and b) the other horses do tire. Extreme example but illustrative.

04 Jun 2014 9:47 AM

Rusty Weisner,

Your 04 Jun 2014 8:00 AM post was not very clear. However, based on the 2 colt you cited I cannot disagree.

Pedigree Ann,

Races are run because there are several issues that can contribute to either victory or defeat. On paper a particular horse might appear unbeatable but the actual race result can prove otherwise.

Smarty Jones defeat all except one. Whatever impact the internal fractions had on his performance did not prevent him from defeating all except Birdstone. It has to be viewed bothe ways.

War Emblem was being caught rapidly in the Preakness by the local horse en route to a slow final time of 1:56.59. He was always a suspect in the Belmont. A bad break over 12F does not make a difference to a quality race horse.  

Animal Kingdom was defeated in a slowly run Preakness (1:56.47) He was always a turf horse who won on the Turf friendly CD surface.

Big Brown was not the only one that lost his steroid. Something went amiss with him and that’s why races are run.

Mine that Bird was defeated by two Debby participants that skipped the Preakness whereas he had to run very hard to close ground on RA. Both Dunkirk and Summer Bird were making their 5th start in the Belmont. They lack the racing experience on racing foundation possessed by MTB. Dunkirk was retired after the race and Summer Bird went on to take Champion 3YO honors. He was not exactly defeated by chopped liver.

The Belmont does not reflect a positive history for Derby/Preakness winners. It is what it is!

04 Jun 2014 10:06 AM

Mastering the odds in different field sizes is easier than trying to figure out who will break well, take the lead, run rank be restrained by the jockeys etc.

IMO PPs should be free, I thought this almost 20 years ago long before AW sites and past performance businesses give them to you free as long as you bet on the races that you get the stats for.

If you master the odds know the different types of races and the humans that are behind the animals you can concentrate on what will make you money even if you are wrong BETTING.

Before the cheaters that were caught having a DIRECT LINK to the oddsboard in either South or North Dakota and were using this link to have the edge they needed with the help of high speed computers to clean up with exotic bets, I already knew this was possible.You dont need to cheat, you need software that will bet the right amount to cover the most probable combinations and also bet enough combinations that are not so logical and make more than you lose.Its not easy as having a direct link,but I know people out there are doing this and they are probably betting a lot into these pools.

My whole focus is WINNING I will let you writers worry about history and give your factors for picking from the PPS.If you wanna win you cant follow the crowd at least not IN THE LONG RUN.

04 Jun 2014 10:31 AM
Monarchos Matt


Doubling back to the previous blog, I agree with you on Goldencents. First race off a long layoff and switches surfaces from SA to BEL. Granted he was 2nd in the Champagne as a 2 yo, but has grown accustomed to the SA racetrack and will meet stiff competition here. He will certainly attract money off his BC win and is probably worth trying to beat in this spot.

Palace Malice appears the horse to beat, and keep in mind that of his three wins in this undefeated season, two have come at 8f, so although he is arguably better longer, it isn't as though he isn't proven at a mile. Even thinking back to his crazy Derby, it was clear he had speed! The horse is simply a machine right now.

Still, if you're looking for a true miler, I think Shakin It Up deserves a look. There looks to be a fair amount of speed in here, and he has been gobbling up ground late in 7f races, posting competitive figures (107 Beyer).

04 Jun 2014 10:32 AM

S I running in the Woody Stephens

04 Jun 2014 10:36 AM

R O C is  a toss for me. He will take a step backwords not forward. He needs to be freshened for the fall.

04 Jun 2014 10:41 AM

California Chrome is your winner!

The rest are running for second!

What will the track announcer say?

Calif Chrome! He is moving like a runaway train!, leaving the rest in his wake!

The rest are running for 2nd

California Chrome wins the Triple Crown!

04 Jun 2014 10:46 AM


Great comment! I agree that lack of stamina is one of the primary reasons why deep closers can't muster a rally in the Belmont. I believe this explains why horses like Summer Bird have come from well back to win the Belmont -- they had the stamina to really rally in the final two furlongs.

04 Jun 2014 10:58 AM


I agree with your comments.

04 Jun 2014 11:05 AM


Great point about looking for the "surprise" speed horses! It wouldn't surprise me if General a Rod turns out to be such a horse, despite his recent tendency to race further off the pace. He's flashed good speed throughout his career, and given the success of speed horses in recent editions of the Belmont, I'm sure his connections won't want him too far back early on.

Also, Samraat does indeed have a low Dosage Index (1.22), and I believe it's the lowest of the horses in the Belmont Stakes field. However, as Ian Tapp pointed out, this may not mean much -- I remember a horse named Spangled Star, who ran last in the 2010 Belmont Stakes despite having a Dosage Index of 1.67 an a Dosage Profile of 5-3-14-1-1.

04 Jun 2014 11:08 AM

I am considering Matuszack as a live longshot. He has puzzled me for some time. He was bred to have tactical speed and stamina. His sire Bernardini had tactical to complement his stamina. His dam sire Mr. Prospector needs no introduction. Matuszack has shown the stamina but not the tactical speed as he is always amongst the back markers in every start.

Matuszack reminds me a lot of Stay Thirsty who was also sired by Bernardini. Stay Thirsty really came into his own with a 2nd place finish in the Belmont after a dull 12th place finish in the Derby. Like Stay Thirst, Matuszack seemed to be a changed horse in the month of May. His recent exercise spins must have left his trainer asking, where was that horse? He breezed 59 plus twice. In his last work over 5F he came home in 23  in a recoded time of 1:00 and a bit. It appears the speed that was absent is suddenly present in time to complement his stamina heading in the Belmont.

His sire Bernardini was a class act on the track. He sired consecutive Travers winners. The magnificent looking son of A P Indy was the one expected to carry on his sire’s legacy but has been a bit disappointing. I consider him a stallion whose progenies can effectively get 12F. Matuszack dam sire Mr. Prospector sired a Belmont winner. His tail male descendants have won the Belmont 13 times.

Should Matuszack run to his pedigree in the Belmont similar to Stay Thirsty, I am of the opinion he will be right there when it being decided.

Bill Mott won the Belmont at 13-1 with the oddly name Drosselmeyer. I think the oddly named Matuszack at a projected 50-1 ML is ultra-appealing to be included in exotics.

He is the freshest horse the field with 7 weeks between starts.

04 Jun 2014 11:17 AM

Rusty Weisner;

Thanks for your thoughts on my morning line odds! I really wanted to make California Chrome 3-5, but I was having trouble making it work from the percentage perspective. However, the removal of Social Inclusion from the field means that I could drop California Chrome's odds to 3-5, and maybe lower Medal Count to 20-1 as well. But to do that, I might have to raise Commanding Curve's odd just a bit -- perhaps to 10-1, or 12-1.

04 Jun 2014 11:17 AM
Monarchos Matt

All times CST since I'll be at Arlington Park Saturday. Adjust accordingly based on your time zone:

Race 6: 1:32- Acorn, 8f

1- Fashion Plate (12-1)

2- House Rules (12-1)

3- Fiftyshadesofgold (8-1)

4- Sweet Whiskey (20-1)

5- Sweet Reason (10-1)

6- Tiz So Sweet (20-1

7- Unbridled Forever (10-1)

8- My Miss Sophia (6-5)

9- Artemis Agrotera (5-1)

10- Lady Paradime (30-1)

11- Risque Reality (30-1)

12- Vero Amore (20-1)

13- You Froze Me (20-1)

Race 7: 2:14- Ogden Phipps, 8.5f

1- Close Hatches (5-2)

2- Antipathy (30-1)

3- Belle Gallantey (30-1)

4- Classic Point (20-1)

5- Beholder (7-5)

6- Princess of Sylmar (9-5)

Race 8: 3:00- Just A Game, 8f T

1- Ready Signal (30-1)

2- Strathnaver (20-1)

3- Dame Marie (20-1)

4- Somali Lemonadde (8-1)

5- Coffee Clique (10-1)

6- Stephanie's Kitten (4-1)

7- Unlimited Budget (20-1)

8- Waterway Run (6-1)

9- Discreet Marq (5-2)

10- Better Lucky (3-1)

Race 9: 3:48- Met Mile, 8f

1- Palace Malice (8-5)

2- Vyjack (30-1)

3- Scary Charly (50-1)

4- Goldencents (10-1)

5- Moreno (10-1)

6- Central Banker (8-1)

7- Capo Bastone (30-1)

8- Declan's Warrior (30-1)

9- Normandy Invasion (5-1)

10- Clearly Now (10-1)

11- Broadway Empire (20-1)

12- Romansh (15-1)

13- Shakin It Up (6-1)

Race 10: 4:42- Manhattan, 10f T

1- Imagining (7-2)

2- Hey Leroy (12-1)

3- Rookie Sensation (12-1)

4- Grandeur (5-1)

5- Boisterous (8-1)

6- Seek Again (3-1)

7- Five Iron (15-1)

8- Real Solution (5-1)

9- Kaigun (15-1)

10- Chamois (15-1)

04 Jun 2014 11:18 AM

Belmont Stakes: Post Positions.

California Chrome 2 3/5

Commanding Curve 4 15-1

Commissioner 8 20-1

General A Rod 10 20-1

Matterhorn 3 30-1

Matuszak 6 30-1

Medal Count 1 20-1

Ride On Curlin 5 12-1

Samraat 7 20-1

Tonalist 11 8-1

Wicked Strong 9 6-1

04 Jun 2014 11:19 AM

Monarchos Matt;

I have also heard somewhat negative reports on Ride On Curlin's recent training, and they do have me a bit worried. The reports sound similar to the ones that were floating in prior to Hoppertunity's scratch from this year's Kentucky Derby, and prior to I'll Have Another's scratch before the 2012 Belmont Stakes. Hopefully, Ride On Curlin will look better tomorrow!

04 Jun 2014 11:22 AM

Rusty Weisner,

Your 04 Jun 2014 8:00 AM post was not very clear. However, based on the 2 colt you cited I cannot disagree.

Pedigree Ann,

Races are run because there are several issues that can contribute to either victory or defeat. On paper a particular horse might appear unbeatable but the actual race result can prove otherwise.

Smarty Jones defeat all except one. Whatever impact the internal fractions had on his performance did not prevent him from defeating the others. It has to be viewed bothe ways.

War Emblem was being caught rapidly in the Preakness by the local horse en route to a slow final time of 1:56.59. He was always suspect in the Belmont. A bad break over 12F does not make a difference to a quality race horse.  

Animal Kingdom was defeated in a slowly run Preakness (1:56.47) He was always a turf horse who won on the Turf friendly CD surface.

Big Brown was not the only one that lost his steroid. Something went amiss with him and that’s why races are run.

Mine that Bird was defeated by two Derby participants that skipped the Preakness, whereas he had to run very hard to close ground on RA. Both Dunkirk and Summer Bird were making their 5th starts in the Belmont. They lack the racing experience and racing foundation possessed by MTB. Dunkirk was retired after the race and Summer Bird went on to take Champion 3YO honors. He was not exactly defeated by chopped liver.

The Belmont does not reflect a positive history for Derby/Preakness winners. It is what it is!

04 Jun 2014 11:23 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'm having trouble doing the math for the other horses with CC at 3-5; I just can't shoehorn them in.  Maybe 4-5 is not so off.

04 Jun 2014 11:24 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'm not surprised at all by Wicked Strong as the 6-1 second choice on that ML.

04 Jun 2014 11:25 AM

Do we have trouble? Right here at Belmont Park? :)

I was hoping California Chrome would draw an outside post position for the Belmont, giving Victor Espinoza more options if California Chrome were to break slowly, but I guess post two isn't so bad, especially without any need-the-lead front-runners in the race. As long as California Chrome breaks reasonably well, Espinoza shouldn't have any trouble getting his colt into a terrific early position.

04 Jun 2014 11:27 AM

It looks like the Metropolitan Handicap came up very, very deep this year -- deeper than I was expecting! Here's the lineup:

1 Palace Malice

2 Vyjack

3 Sarly Charly

4 Goldencents

5 Moreno

6 Central Banker

7 Capo Bastone

8 Declan's Warrior

9 Normandy Invasion

10 Clearly Now

11 Broadway Empire

12 Romansh

13 Shakin It Up

04 Jun 2014 11:28 AM

Here are the entries and post positions for the other grade I races being run on Belmont Day:


1 Imagining

2 Hey Leroy

3 Rookie Sensation

4 Grandeur

5 Boisterous

6 Seek Again

7 Five Iron

8 Real Solution

9 Kaigun


1 Close Hatches

2 Antipathy

3 Belle Gallantey

4 Classic Point

5 Beholder

6 Princess of Sylmar


1 Fashion Plate

2 House Rules

3 Fiftyshadesofgold

4 Sweet Whiskey

5 Sweet Reason

6 Tis So Sweet

7 Unbridled Forever

8 My Miss Sophia

9 Artemis Agrotera

10 Lady Paradime

11 Risque Reality

12 Vero Amore

13 Euphrosyne


1 Ready Signal

2 Strathnaver

3 Dame Marie

4 Somali Lemonade

5 Coffee Clique

6 Stephanie's Kitten

7 Unlimited Budget

8 Waterway Run

9 Discreet Marq

10 Better Lucky

04 Jun 2014 11:32 AM

Rusty Weisner;

In regard to the Met Mile, I believe that the race is generally fair to all kinds of horses. Last year, we saw the late-running sprinter Sahara Sky close from last to defeat front-running Cross Traffic (who later won the two-turn Whitney Handicap), with Flat Out finishing third. In 2012, we saw Preakness winner Shackleford set the pace and hold off the late charge of Caleb's Posse, a very talented one-turn miler/sprinter. Basically, the Met Mile seems to be a race where late-closing sprinters and two-turn route horses can both perform equally well, and the best horse usually wins.

04 Jun 2014 11:42 AM

Rusty Weisner, Monarchos Matt, & Ranagulzion;

You may be right that Wicked Strong will race closer to the pace than expected in the Belmont Stakes. In the Wood Memorial, he was never more than 4 1/2 lengths back at any call, despite the early pace being moderately quick. On a side note, I find it interesting that Birdstone -- who seemed to come from well back to beat Smarty Jones in the 2004 Belmont Stakes -- was actually never more than five lengths back at any call. Perhaps Wicked Strong can work out a similar trip!

04 Jun 2014 11:48 AM
Little Bill

JayJay, You mentioned getting lost on the the other blog. I recommend Google maps voice directions on your phone. It's accuracy is amazing. Good luck.

04 Jun 2014 11:52 AM
Rusty Weisner

What's the order of races?  Equibase doesn't have the entries up yet.

04 Jun 2014 11:52 AM

Rusty Weisner;

Here's the tentative lineup, which is still subject to change:

Race 1: Allowance

Race 2: Easy Goer Stakes

Race 3: Brooklyn Invitational (gr. II)

Race 4: Jaipur Invitational (gr. III)

Race 5: Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II)

Race 6: Acorn Stakes (gr. I)

Race 7: Ogden Phipps Stakes (gr. I)

Race 8: Just a Game Stakes (gr. I)

Race 9: Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I)

Race 10: Manhattan Handicap (gr. I)

Race 11: Belmont Stakes (gr. I)

Race 12: Allowance

Race 13: Allowance

04 Jun 2014 12:03 PM
Rusty Weisner

Where's Untapable?

04 Jun 2014 12:05 PM

Monarchos Matt;

Thanks for posting the morning line odds for the major undercard races! I will definitely be taking a close look at Shakin It Up in the Met Mile, especially now that Palace Malice has drawn the rail.

I was very, very surprised to see Goldencents listed at 10-1 on the Met Mile morning line. I can't imagine he'll go off at that price, but you never know. I think Capo Bastone, Vyjack, and Declan's Warrior at 30-1 all look intriguing.

04 Jun 2014 12:09 PM
Rusty Weisner


I hadn't realized it until now, but the Westchester prep was a one-mile race.

04 Jun 2014 12:12 PM


I really like Matuszak as a live longshot in the Belmont Stakes, and I might even talk myself into playing him to win in some small way. In any case, I'll be using him in trifectas and superfectas!

04 Jun 2014 12:12 PM

Rusty Weisner;

Untapable is awaiting the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont on June 28th. It was definitely a bit disappointing to see her skip the Acorn, but perhaps her absence could lead to a decent-priced longshot finding the winner's circle. There will certainly be plenty to choose from!

04 Jun 2014 12:14 PM
Rusty Weisner


That point about Birdstone is good and underlines what JerseyBoy was saying.  Last year, by the way, Orb and Revolutionary were pedigreed disappointments.  They were in the back of the pack, but especially Orb, who was next to last.

04 Jun 2014 12:24 PM
Rusty Weisner


Going back to JerseyBoy and Pedigree Ann, Matuszak can't even seem to run a single :24 split.  Good luck with that one.

04 Jun 2014 12:26 PM
Monarchos Matt


I agree on GC, 10-1 seems outrageous for the defending dirt mile champ in a dirt mile race. Can't change my mind based on that, but it's all moot- he'll be half that at the very least at post.


As I noted above, Palace Malice has won twice this year at 8f. Still, not sure I can single him at 8-5 in a field this contested. May have to look towards Discreet Marq as my single in this sequence.

04 Jun 2014 12:32 PM

Keelerman :  Thanks for the lineup of the Belmont Day races, I'll be there watching them live !!  ( <~~~ Rusty : that's me reminding everyone I'll be there hehe).

Also, I'm quite happy with the post draw for Chrome, but surprised that SI is not entered (he will be a really good price in the Stephens).  I see Tonalist definitely committed to the lead now that the got the 11 post, Samraat will be there as well but I think the surprise lead Commissioner.  He'll be gunning it to the lead, he's a big horse and I think this distance will allow him to get going and get in full strides.   He will be much much closer to Tonalist on Saturday, it'll be a fast track so I think he will finish ahead of Tonalist in the Belmont.  

At this time, my bet looks like this :

Chrome with

Commissioner, GAR, Samraat with

Commissioner, GAR, Samraat, WS with

Commissioner, GAR, Samraat, WS, Matuszak, Tonalist

Barring any troubles during the race or late injury, I don’t see Chrome losing this race.   Victor is a veteran jockey who can keep himself composed, he’ll be there Thursday and Friday to rice the races and re-familiarize himself around the track.  I don’t feel the distance will be an issue for him, if he gets a good position, he will once again be in the lead at the top of the stretch and pulling away.  If he does get in trouble, I hope he can close in on them, something we’ve never seen him do.

This is a tiring track so a lot of these horses will be tired by the time they hit the top of the stretch, I think that’s the advantage Chrome, ROC and GAR has over this field, they all have so much foundation, and 3 weeks is a good rest.  The rest will be contesting this 12F off a lot of downtime and some that will carry 126 for the first time.   Let’s see who can carry 126 the fastest!

04 Jun 2014 12:50 PM
Pedigree Ann

Did Social Inclusion get his gate card revoked? He was half-way there after his gate episode earlier in the week.

04 Jun 2014 1:05 PM

Here's the link to the rest of the entries and post positions for the undercard races on Belmont Day:

04 Jun 2014 1:07 PM

Pedigree Ann;

Social Inclusion did receive his gate card, but due to his issues in the starting gate, his connections have chosen to run him in the Woody Stephens Stakes (which starts on the backstretch, far from the grandstand) rather than the Belmont Stakes (which starts right in front of the grandstand.)

04 Jun 2014 1:11 PM

Tapiture needs more distance.

That is why she will run in the Mother Goose and the Coaching Club American Oaks with the B C Distaff as the main objective.

Social Inclusion  is running in the Woody Stephens followed by the Haskell at Monmouth

04 Jun 2014 1:38 PM

The posts and morning lines are set for the BS,3 colts are starting at single digit odds on the morning line.I think when the public starts betting the odds will differ from this line, especially at the top with CC and at the bottom with Coldfacts longshot special Matuszak and the other bottom occupant Matterhorn.

Tonalist at 8-1 thats odd.

04 Jun 2014 1:44 PM

I do not see PP2 for CC1 as bad. He has Metahorn and CC2 both closers! Actually I think it's an advantage. Break well and dictate where he wants to be, slow the pace down and open up at the 3/8 pole. The inside is the shortest distance to the wire. The rest of them will be gasping for air trying to catch him.

04 Jun 2014 1:47 PM
Carlos in Cali

California Chrome will win with a Seattle Slew-like performance. He's simply the best 3yo of his generation,it's that simple. Lone speed... won't be caught!

04 Jun 2014 2:23 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

I feel like Palace Malice lost the Travers only because of a bad start.  Anything can happen, especially in a field of 13, maybe there's less of a margin for error at 8f.  I'm not sure what to do with this race.  If I don't see a P4/P3 ticket I like I'll save all my money for the feature race.

04 Jun 2014 3:33 PM

Rusty Weisner,

“Matuszak can't even seem to run a single :24 split”

For your benefit I am reposting post-race comments associated with Belmont winner Commendable who like Matuszak who had only a MSW victory in the win column. He certainly didn’t belong in the Belmont.

“Stranger things have happened. Then again, maybe not. A horse who was 17th and beaten 26 lengths in the Kentucky Derby, a horse who had not even run in the money since he broke his maiden seven starts ago, a horse who was, well, hopelessly slow, ran away with the 132nd running of the Belmont Stakes yesterday before a stunned crowd of 67,810. Repeat after us: Go figure. Pigs can fly, the sun rises in the West and a horse named Commendable won the Belmont Stakes.”

Matuszak worked 59 and a bit twice. My Math reveals that 59/5 = 11.88. Somewhere in that work he must have cover 2F in 24. He is a well bred colt that has not been performing to his pedigree.

There are lots of things that can cause a horse to dramatically change. I am sure you have heard the term ‘ when the light bulb goes on’ A different track, change in training methodology, racing experience etc.

Did anyone expect Stay Thirsty to finish 2nd in the Belmont with the Derby and Preakness winners behind him?

He was destroyed in the BCJ by Uncle Mo. He returned to win the Gotham in very slow time and was subsequently unplaced in the FL Derby before his 12th place finish in the Derby. He became a different horse 5 weeks later in New York and went on a roll. He finished 2nd in the Belmont, won the Jim Dandy, Travers and finished 3rd to older horses in the JCGC.

If well bred horses have inherited ability from their parents, grandparents and other generations, it’s just a matter of time before they will show it.

Maybe the Bernardinis are slow to develope. The Bernardinin sired Imperative that defeated Game On Dude twice and most recently in the Charles Town Classic was very moderate as a 2 & 3YO.

Keep an open mind.

04 Jun 2014 3:38 PM
Monarchos Matt


I'm beginning to agree about Palace Malice. I think you have to go 4 deep in that race and find a single elsewhere, probably in the Just A Game. Or, if you are dead set on singling Wicked Strong, you could go deeper there as well, I'd just hate not to be live to CC going into the Belmont. The Manhattan looks less daunting now than it did when Little Mike, Skyring, Finnegan's Wake, and Amira's Prince were all in the mix. It changed from a pace heavy race to a paceless race seemingly overnight. Imagining should be very tough on the lead, but I give Seek Again a shot there as well stretching out off his last. The race is too short for Grandeur without any pace to run into, and I never know what to do with Real Solution. He's been a goose egg for me since he won me the Pick 4 at the Arlington Million last year. A sentimental favorite for sure but I'm having trouble seeing how he turns the tables on Imagining here.

04 Jun 2014 4:03 PM
Rusty Weisner


I'll keep an open mind, but not an open wallet.

04 Jun 2014 4:04 PM
Rusty Weisner

The Manhattan seems wide open.  The top six contenders come out of two G1's, the Man O' War and the Woodford, where they all finished in order right behind each other:

Imagining,Real Solution,Grandeur

Seek Again,Boisterous,Kaigun

04 Jun 2014 4:13 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

You probably have a better take on the Manhattan by venturing a guess about the pace.  Grandeur getting Stevens has a little appeal for me after Imagining wired them.

I'm not making the mistake I made Derby day, losing my money on the undercard and not betting the verticals in the big race.  I'll take a quick look at the late P4, with two allowance races closing the card - sometimes they can yield more obvious picks.  

04 Jun 2014 4:18 PM

Rusty Weisner I'll keep an open mind, but not an open wallet.

It sounds like you are a ROI horseplayer or you can be like Mike Shutty who sells the Super Screener for 25 bucks but to play all his combinations it cost well over a $1000 at least for the KD.IMO he wins by BETTING not by being very accurate.If I played a 1000 in the KD that would mean I would be playing 20 grand a month or so.I did play 500 hundred in the 2009 KD but I had a colt that I was sure would hit the board to cover my bets,and he did he got 2nd.

04 Jun 2014 4:21 PM

Just in case you were not aware when you bet lets just say 1000 on the 2014 KD and you win 7000 your getting 7-1 odds you could get 7-1 a lot easier than having to win a super and having to risk that much,what if you lose.

It only makes sense if you bet a lot year round as then you will have a lot more chances to win money with hopefully a lot better betting propositions.

04 Jun 2014 4:27 PM


No CC2 in your wagers. The horse that exited the Derby with the highest Beyer and the one that got the closest to the winner, is a toss. That not right! If my memory is correct he did carry 126lbs in the Derby

“I think that’s the advantage Chrome, ROC and GAR has over this field, they all have so much foundation”

Summer Bird and Dunkirk entered the 2009 Belmont they had made 4 starts each. They finished 1-2.  

Tonalist will make his 5th start in the Belmont. He returned from a setback 11 week after he finished 2nd to Constitution the subsequent FL Derby winner. He finished ahead of eventual Wood winner Wicked Strong.

He was geared down in the 9F Peter Pan for final time of 1:48.30. He was obviously very fresh and that might have accounted for the 23.79, 46.83, 1:10.83, 1:35.63. With that race under his belt he must be the horse to beat in the Belmont.

He has the pace, class and a trainer that is second to none with routers.

04 Jun 2014 4:29 PM

Coldfacts I might play 4-2-9 straight which means CC2-CC1-WStG.

04 Jun 2014 4:54 PM
Monarchos Matt


I'm glancing over the PPs and oops! There's a horse in the Manhattan, Five Iron, who just won the Grade 3 Fort Marcey wire to wire out of nowhere at 20-1 odds on 5/3 at BEL. He'll most certainly challenge Imagining for the lead. Back to the drawing board...

Interestingly, it is Five Iron and Hey Leyroy, not the 6 you had mentioned and I had been considering, who top the field in terms of Beyer numbers on 2014, with figures of 100 and 101 respectively. No other runners in this field have broken triple digits in 2014.

04 Jun 2014 5:04 PM

Of course if I played 4-2-9 I probably would play 4-9-2 which would be a doozy for a buck.I could cover wit the 9 hes a 4-2-8 just like the bridesmaid in the 2012 KD,or maybe he was a 4-2-9 have to look it up.

04 Jun 2014 5:15 PM
Carlos in Cali


Stay Thirsty ran best at the NY circuit tracks, that's a fact!

Bad analogy... again.

04 Jun 2014 5:18 PM


I am still finalizing the horses that I will place beneath my projected winner.

My choice to win is Tonalist.  

04 Jun 2014 5:24 PM

Then again 4-2-9 contains the top two as per the morning line so I think instead of 4-2-9 for a buck 10 cent super 4-2-9-all for 80 cents is a better bet for what I will win as far as risk.ROI is the name of the game for me.

04 Jun 2014 5:24 PM

I have already hit a 4-2 or 2-4 in the Belmont the year Summer Bird won its a number I like just like 5-6 6-5 which I have won with in the KD twice and I played it this year these combos are the same for me and I bet nobody on here knows why.On 2nd thought you all are PP players you think you can figure out exactas wiyj a piece of paper.Its hard enuff hitting the winner with that pp(piece of paper)

04 Jun 2014 5:31 PM

The races being run at Belmont Park this weekend show why owners are wise to send their horses to the breeding shed early.

In some of these so-called graded races, horses have to concede weight in a manner that makes a mockery of the graded race system.

Palace Malice must concede up to 14 lbs.

Imagining up to 8 lbs.

Stephanie’s Kitten up to 10 lbs.

Beholder and Co. up to 8 lbs.

Havana up to 8lbs.

Why would any owner want to do this?.

04 Jun 2014 5:32 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Q: How does a horse run 2nd in any race and receive the 'highest Beyer'

A: He doesn't.

04 Jun 2014 5:49 PM

Little Bill : Regarding the GPS, yeah I have it.  I still get lost sometimes cause I miss exits helps to make sure the volume is up or actually listening to the directions instead of the music :)

Coldfacts :  Yes, no CC2 in my tickets.   I watched the Derby again and the only time CC2 closed on Chrome was when Victor already downshifted to neutral.   You can watch it again if you wish....but PLEASE PLEASE bet a lot on CC2, don't let me sway you away from him.

Tonalist was my initial pick to finish 2nd to Chrome but after further handicapping, I tossed him to 4th.   He won on the slop, it won't be wet this weekend.   He will be carrying 9 more lbs going longer.   He won't get the same lead he got in the Peter Pan, not by a longshot.   Samraat is a faster horse than Tonalist in my opinion.   I don't see Tonalist finishing on the board at all but he might crawl to 4th.

04 Jun 2014 9:46 PM

Plod Boy Phil

You are correct.

I guess I have to put into context why I determined that CC2 got the highest Beyer in the Derby. Three horses were assigned higher Beyers for their Derby efforts than the ones they entered with. Of the three, CC2 was assigned the highest.

Fifteen horses were assigned lower Beyers than the ones they entered with including Derby winner CC1.

CC1’s lower assigned Beyer was higher than that assigned to CC2. However, he receive the biggest movement of any previously assigned Beyer.

04 Jun 2014 10:35 PM

Coldfacts : As for the "foundation", I really don't care who won or ran well with a few races... in the PAST, different horses.   I'm talking strictly about this field...I don't believe in any of your history angles, fact or fiction.   There are so many things you can look at handicapping from a history angle, it's too broad and it's open to any kind of interpretation.  Whenever you post history angles, I feel it's how YOU see it, not exactly a fact.   There are so many things that gets left out when reading "history".   I go by what I see in the horse, how they ran, and who they ran against...that's my first and main handicapping angle.   It's no better than anyone's handicapping, so no, I'm not saying my angles are better than yours.

If Chrome wins the Belmont, one can argue that out of the last THIRTY  (not 20) runnings of the Belmont, there were over 10 that has won who contested the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness....that can be challenge further if someone decides to look at the last 40 years, or 50 years.   Having picked the last 20 years as the threshold didn't make much sense to me...seems like it was to support your opinion.

04 Jun 2014 10:40 PM

To all;

Up until this evening, I have not been in charge of moderating the comments on my Unlocking Winners blog posts. However, at the request of a regular contributor, I will be moderating comments on this post in an effort to keep the conversation focused on the Belmont Stakes.

Unfortunately, this means that comments may not be posted as quickly as they have in the past, as I will have to be at my computer to approve each comment before publication. So if your comments don't show up right away, don't be alarmed -- I probably just haven't gotten to them yet! However, I will make an effort to post comments as frequently as possible so that we may continue to have back-and-forth conversations in a timely manner as the Belmont Stakes approaches.

Remember, we're here to handicap races, exchange insights, and have fun. We've got a spectacular day of racing coming up this Saturday, so let's be sure to stay on topic. Go California Chrome! :)

Thank you all!

04 Jun 2014 10:41 PM

Has anyone taken a look at Friday's Belmont Gold Cup Invitational at Belmont Park? At two miles on the turf, it could be a fascinating race! I think that Eagle Poise at 12-1 looks intriguing, given his extensive experience at 1 3/4 miles. He should appreciate the extended distance better than most, and should be much sharper this time out than he was in his seasonal debut at Keeneland. Does anyone else like his chances?

04 Jun 2014 10:49 PM


As usual I respect and appreciate your measured assessment.

I was very high earlier in the season. He got injured and lost all chances of securing the requisite points to make the Derby cut. His Peter Pan effort indicated that he improved significantly during the 11 weeks he was away from the races.

With that race under his girt and with approximately 4 weeks for the screws to be tightened by his dangerous trainer, I have no option but to select him as my #1. He will be coupled with CC1,CC2, Wicked Strong, Commissioner and Matuszak

04 Jun 2014 10:56 PM

I will also be interested to see how Charming Kitten performs in the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational. Can the progeny of Kitten's Joy be successful at two miles? We'll see!

04 Jun 2014 11:11 PM


The moderator of the Blog cited some Belmont trends.

Deep closers [generally] don’t win the Belmont – He cited a period of 4yrs in his summary.

Non-stakes winners are welcome - He cited a period of 6-8yrs in his summary.

Horses that lose the Derby and skip the Preakness have had great success in the Belmont – He cited a period of 13yrs

I referenced a span of 20 years and somehow and it is  to support my opinion. Would the same apply to the moderator?

I cited Summer Bird and Dunkirk to indicate that two horses with very little foundation were unplaced in the Derby but finished 1-2 in the Belmont.

It was cautionary alert as it appeared you were eliminating certain horses because of a lack of foundation.

Kindly accept my apology!  

04 Jun 2014 11:19 PM

Coldfacts :  What is Christophe Clements record in the triple crown races or the Belmont Stakes specifically ?  How is he considered a dangerous trainer ?  If this was turf, I'd be all over Clement's horse as I usually am but this is not a turf race...   I'm sure you have looked at that...

04 Jun 2014 11:31 PM

Keelerman : If CK's odds is 10-1 or higher, then yes, he'll win at 2M, if it's 2-1, then no lol.   I'm intrigued by Christophe's mare here...this is a tough field specially with Twilight Eclipse...why enter her here ?  She raced evenly in the G2 Sheepshead,  a very nice prep/workout race...and she gets a weight break which I think would help a lot going 2Ms.

04 Jun 2014 11:54 PM
Mary Zinke

Yes, Keelerman, I took a look at the Belmont Gold Cup, 2mT.  I weeded it down to these:12 Mambo Man. I do like my Cali horses, and I have seen this one run in person at TuP. I suppose his speed figures aren't so great, but he looked to have no problem going the 1 &3/8 of the prep for the Hasta La Vista which he won at 1 & 7/8.  If he handles any softer turf, I think he could wire, but he shouldn't have to. So, he should handle a fast pace better than most.  Then, I like 8 Draw Two better than the other one his trainer has running,9 Eagle Poise. 2 Sky Blazer and  7 Auld Alliance(the only one "bred for this distance") are the others in my 4 selections. Would only use the 11, Twilight Eclipse if the turf is not good or yielding, only if firm.  12,8,2,7.  Tried to pick the ones that will still want to be running after 10f.  The 5, Spy In The Sky, has races if this length on his record, but those are steeplechases and he has not run well or not lately in flat turf races.

05 Jun 2014 2:05 AM
Pedigree Ann

Coldfacts - in answer to your question, did anybody see Stay Thirsty finishing second in the Belmont? I certainly thought it possible. You see, he was a half-brother to Belmont second-finisher Andromeda's Hero, both out of the mare Marozia, whose only lifetime win was at 12f over the Lingfield Poly. Since the sires of both horses were 10f types, a repeat of AH's type of finish was possible. It is not as though Stay Thirsty hadn't even beaten n1x horses; he was a G1-placed Gotham winner.

05 Jun 2014 3:43 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Believe it or not, I don't look at the Beyer numbers at all for turf races.  Just got the pps.

05 Jun 2014 7:06 AM
Rusty Weisner


You might want to rethink the moderation policy.  I think you get the most traffic because your threads allow real-time conversation, picks, etc.  Haskin's threads are awful in that regard.

05 Jun 2014 7:08 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'll take it under advisement, but I was never considering playing the Derby super for $1000.  It was always a $200-250 proposition for me.  It was 3/4 chalk this year and still paid $7000.

05 Jun 2014 7:12 AM
Rusty Weisner

These are my underlays:




(Matternhorn and Matuszak at 30-1 are also underlays but they're not even under consideration for me)

My overlays:

Medal Count

General A Rod (though post has me a little worried now)

Wicked Strong (if 4-1 or better)

California Chrome is an overlay at even money.

05 Jun 2014 7:29 AM
Rusty Weisner


"It sounds like you are a ROI horseplayer or you can be like Mike Shutty who sells the Super Screener for 25 bucks but to play all his combinations it cost well over a $1000 at least for the KD."

You're the one who knows who Mike Shutty is (who's Mike Shutty?) -- it suggests to me you've wasted money on combination handicapping/hair restoration tonics in the past.

It's ironic, too, when you are listing a super ticket with ALL in one slot.  Don't get me wrong: I think that's a logical way to play a super.  But, generally, I don't bet supers, unless I take one or two on a lark.  I think it's a bad, expensive bet, because that fourth horse is just too random.  That said, I could play a few this year, because I feel like I know the horses well after the campaign, I already have three horses I like, so I could see taking three or four others to fill it out...but it would be against my better judgment; there could always be someone who clunks up and never hits a board in a stakes the rest of his career.

05 Jun 2014 7:47 AM
Rusty Weisner


The forecast is "sunny and beautiful".

Here's a true story.  I attended Funny Cide's Belmont.  The forecast was for a 100% chance of rain; the forecast was accurate. In a genuflection to the majesty of the venue and the splendor of the sport I had worn a summer suit.  I lost on the day (didn't do the smart thing by trying to beat Funny Cide in an exacta).  Trudging back in the rain, soaked (literally and figuratively) to the parking lot some guy called out "Hey, nice suit! Did you get it for free?".  So I've been at the bottom.  I can manage the guff I get from from KY VET and Brontexx after that.

05 Jun 2014 8:00 AM
Rusty Weisner


I think the play for anyone who doesn't like CC is to beat him in the exacta and to forego the tri or super.  

I won't play that, though, because I like him enough -- I think it's a stretched-out field and a two-horse race (I hope) by the final furlong, with CC in the lead entering it.

05 Jun 2014 8:08 AM
Rusty Weisner

...or, of course, just beat him with another winner.

05 Jun 2014 8:11 AM
Monarchos Matt


Still stuck on the Manhattan. But the more I look at it, I'm inclined to lean towards the Man O War runners over the Turf Classic ones, for fairly obvious reasons-- distance, surface, and speed figure (98 vs 94).

Imagining has shown the ability to both sit off the pace or wire the field, and has won using both tactics. The two high 2014 Beyer figures belong to Hey LeRoy and Five Iron, as noted above, but those came at 8f and 9f respectively. In fact neither has ever run beyond 9f before, so this would appear a tall order. Imagining seems likely to receive a ground saving trip from the rail and is 5/8 lifetime at BEL. He seems to me to be the logical winner.

However, I see that our old friend Pete Denk is planning to single Rookie Sensation in this race. Not sure I am seeing the angle there at all...

05 Jun 2014 9:18 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Coldfacts -

Thanks for the clarification.  Admittedly, it was not the best way for me to request it.

Good luck.

05 Jun 2014 9:18 AM

Don't have many new thoughts on the Belmont. But looking for a big upset in the 5th race with #5.  Seems to be a lot of speed in the race so going with a horse who can close.

05 Jun 2014 9:32 AM


"What is Christophe Clements record in the triple crown races or the Belmont Stakes specifically? How is he considered a dangerous trainer?"

Listed below is an extract from a recent profile of Christophe Clements:

"While 75 percent of Clement's starts are on turf, he has found success with occasional ventures into major dirt races. Clement's only previous starter in a Triple Crown race was Dynever, who was fourth in the 2003 Belmont. During the next 21 months, the colt finished third in the Breeders' Cup Classic, second in the Dubai World Cup and was in the top three in seven other graded stakes."

Dynever was sired by Dynaformer whose progenies excelled more on turf than dirt.

05 Jun 2014 9:42 AM

You're the one who knows who Mike Shutty is (who's Mike Shutty?) -- it suggests to me you've wasted money on combination handicapping/hair restoration tonics in the past.

I have never spent money on either and my post wasnt addressed to you in that regard.I have been playing pari-mutuals including horseracing for a long time, I know how to play and win more than I lose.I have been lucky yes, but anyone who tells you you dont need to be fortunate in this game is lying.Good luck on your plays,I dont know mine yet wont until right before race time unless I can see ALL THE ODDS before that, including the exotic pools.

05 Jun 2014 9:46 AM
Little Bill

Christophe Clement is one of a hand full of trainers I respect for using good judgement, a huge asset. I don't think the surface clouds that.

05 Jun 2014 9:50 AM

Wow what a great card. I hope we are having a handicapping contest, have not bet real money since the KD, but hard to resist the undercard.

The Belmont Stakes, I'll hope Chrome somehow slips up and play coldfacts Jamaican exacta despite the fact that the Belmont does not favor closers.

I may be only one here who is lost in the triple crown nostalgia.

05 Jun 2014 10:00 AM
JJs Rocket

In the Manhattan, the six looks tough in there. There is a lot of mid range shots that could certainly make the tri pay. There has been conversation on here about the 2 and 7 as possible plays. I would throw in the 9 in my underneath horses. Has run very good in his last two grade 1 races against Wise Dan. Also only carries 114 lbs and beat the 2 three races back. This race should be a great betting race and as long as the 1 and 6 don't take the exacta, it should pay nicely.

05 Jun 2014 10:03 AM

Rusty Weisner;

Don't worry! The moderation of comments should return to normal before too long. There were a few comments here on Unlocking Winners last night that were getting too far off topic, and they have been removed. Fortunately, things have settled down in the meantime, and I expect everything to return to normal shortly. :)

05 Jun 2014 10:03 AM
Rusty Weisner


Let's not argue.  It looks like our handicapping of this race is similar: we have the same underlays.  I'm not so hot on the multi-race wagers, where I wanted to single WS, so I think I am going to play a lot to win on WS, then in the vertical exotics I'll go beyond the exacta (my exacta play is too chalky) with both WS and CC on top and underneath.

05 Jun 2014 10:06 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

I like it.  That's kind of what I was hinting at: I like to go with one race or the other if the field is divided that way.  I just got the pp's and will take a look! (Keelerman: put out some more shrimp)

05 Jun 2014 10:12 AM
Rusty Weisner

Matuszak fans,

Kid Cruz is running R2 Saturday.

05 Jun 2014 10:20 AM

The stallions below had the distinction of being sire and dam sire of Belmont winners.

Secretariat - Risen Star/A P Indy

Seattle Slew – A P Indy, Swale/Lemon Drop Kid.

Gone West – Commendable/Union Rags

Deputy Minister - Touch Gold/Sarava, Rags To Riches, Jazil

Two stallions have the opportunity to equal the record of the above stallions.

Pleasant Colony - Colonial Affair/(Tonalist pending)

Mr. Prospector - Conquistador Cielo/(Matuszak pending)

Just one more bit of history that can be made long after the demise of Pleasant Colony and Mr. Prospector.

05 Jun 2014 10:25 AM

Jamaican Exacta!!!

It might sound crazy but it is in paly and I am going to wager it.

Jamaica does not have many top class jockeys in the US. To have two on two live horses in a TC race is always a rarity.

Both finished on the board in the Derby and skipped the Preakness. Just as Jamaican in their thousands watched as Tessanne Chin won NBC's The Voice, they will be rooting for Wicked Strong and CC2 on Saturday.  

05 Jun 2014 10:33 AM

Rusty Weisner Mike Shutty is the guy that sells the Super Screener on Horse Racing Nation and it sells itself on spotting recent historic as well as long term  trends to screen the contenders using computer science.

It cost $25,I didnt buy it but I monitored its plays because it claims to have hit the supers in the KD for a number of years.Well it played combinations well over a $1000-1500 to win $7000.Thats less than 7-1 and the favorite won.IMO the super screener won because of betting not being accurate in its selections, after all even a neophyte could have played CC/all in the one dollar exacta pool and gotten more bang for his buck than Shutty did.

Computers and software are better used as betting facilitators than as selectors because of their speed.I will reiterate this over and over because it is true,its not about picking winners its about money management and betting.I would say its a 60/40 split in favor of MM over handicapping.If you hedge your bets you can make money back on more than 75-80% of your bets or more depending on how selective you are in which races to bet.So you see you are getting some of your money back regularly so your ROI return on investment sky rockets over the acceptable 5%(long term) if you use exotics and cover in WPS pools.

05 Jun 2014 10:38 AM

Is it conceivable that CC2 could finish out of the exacta & tri? I am firmly with Tonalist to win. I am of the opinion CC2 and Wicked Strong will finish ahead of CC1. Therefore his only slot on the board is possible 4th.

The fans of CC1 are going to accuse me of disrespect with the above scenarios. However, folks like me with wild scenarios will move his odds from 3-5 to even money. It is unlikely that all will worship at the altar of The Chrome.

In all seriousness, the above scenario could unfold. This Belmont field is probably one of the best assembled in years from a stamina perspective. The oddly run Derby did not reflect the true ability of several that have returned for the Belmont.

The Preakness gave indications that if a horse that has never won a graded stakes could get within 1 1/2L of CC1, he has to be vulnerable to graded stakes winners not engage in a demolition Derby. Both horses that finished 2nd to CC1 are without victories in graded races.

Graded stakes winners Wicked Strong and Medal Count experienced bad trips in the Derby and must be dangerous opponents off their 4-5 weeks to recovery. New shooter Tonalist was under a hand ride in the Peter Pan and was eased 10 meters out for 1:48 clocking.

Wishful thinking or practical analysis! You deside.

05 Jun 2014 11:20 AM
Rusty Weisner

Does anyone know if NBCSN will actually be televising the undercard races, or is it human (and equine) interest claptrap?  

05 Jun 2014 11:35 AM

Coldfacts I like your numbers 1-2-4-9 I just dont like the top 2 betting favorites in the tri so if you key Chromester in 4th and box them otherwise and win, a lot of begginners will be tearing tickets up and cursing if you have "THE WINNING TICKET"

05 Jun 2014 11:37 AM

Oh my bad you also have Matuszak which is all good because now you have one of the bombers.On that note If I had to take one of the bombers in your bet it would be the 3.Why, because you have the inside posts block of 1-2-3-4.You might be aware as I am that inside posts have been very favorable to long shots expected by the betting public as a group to run up the track.Belmont at 12 furlongs might favor the inside posts.

05 Jun 2014 11:42 AM

I maybe off line tomorrow so my picks below.

8-Wabberjack - Like the name to be honest

4-Kid Cruz - Beginning of a big day for Irad

5-Ever Rider - Extra Distance helps him catch Ground Transport. Nice confidence booster for Victor.

11-Salto - Maybe the cut back in distance works for him

5-Coupe de Grace - SI and Bayern cancel out each other on the front end

8-My Miss Sophia -  Too fast to catch

6-Princess of Sylmar - Breeders Cup Revenge

6-Waterway Run - Took the lightweight in a wide open race.

5-Moreno - Makes all

4-Grandeur - Always Competitive, First Time Lasix gives him a boost

9-Wicked Strong- The list of TC spoilers continues.

7-Ghurair - Towers above these

Good Luck All

05 Jun 2014 11:44 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Met Mile: Do you have a take on Shakin' It Up and Central Banker?  I am inclined to go against, as neither has won beyond 7f.  Their last race was also strange: what looked like a closers' race, but on a speedy strip.

I don't really want to go beyond Palace Malice, Goldencents and Normandy Invasion.  NI was supposed to face WTC but scratched on Oaks day. I assumed it was injury, but there's this tale about the connections being offended by Churchill Downs.  Whatever.  Distance, weight, odds - I give NI a chance to turn the tables.  I wonder about the long layoff for Goldencents, though.

05 Jun 2014 11:49 AM

To continue this long shots dont have good won loss ratios so they need confidence and to get that during the race they need a good trip.If you have 1-2-3-4 and 3 are long shots chances are at least one of the long shots and maybe two will have luck which is involved in a GOOD TRIP.

05 Jun 2014 11:50 AM
Monarchos Matt

There's so much negativity surrounding ROC and I don't understand it. Is he more worn down than CC for some reason, despite running the same first two legs of the Triple Crown? Refresh my memory, was he gaining or losing ground on the winner over the final furlong of the Preakness? (Consider that rhetorical). Is he more run down than General A Rod? Samraat? We shall see.

05 Jun 2014 11:50 AM

Rusty Weisner;

As far as I know, NBCSN will indeed be broadcasting the undercard races, while the main broadcast on NBC will show the Belmont Stakes and the Met Mile.

05 Jun 2014 11:51 AM
Rusty Weisner


I don't like Tonalist, but I respect your trying to beat CC underneath (though you can always box up your underneath horses in a "key").  Here's another true story, though -- On Derby day I did my betting at the track.  There was a brief shower and right after the Derby a rainbow appeared. A Triple Crown unicorn may be next.

05 Jun 2014 11:57 AM

My early picks are

1Benji P3 1with 1 6 4 w 2

$50 P3  1 w 1 6 4 w 4-9-11

super 2w 4,7,9,11 w same+ 1,8,9,10 w 4,5,7,8,9,10,11

Tri 4,7,9,11 w 2w 1, 4,7,8,9,10,11

05 Jun 2014 12:04 PM

Monarchos Matt;

It sounds like Ride On Curlin trained much better at Belmont this morning than he did over the last couple of days, so that has definitely boosted my confidence in his chances. I think he's sitting on another sharp effort this Saturday.

05 Jun 2014 12:05 PM
Monarchos Matt


I actually prefer Shakin It Up of the two, who actually did win the 8.5f Strub. I just like that in his 7f races, both wins and losses, he is always gobbling up ground late. He seems to be begging for that extra furlong, and he'll get it here, with a strong pace to boot. Beyer figures in my experience tend to hold up better for 6-8f races than anything else, in my experience, so it's worth pointing out that his (and Central Banker's) 107 is tied for the 2nd highest in the field (behind PM).

Normandy Invasion is logical, but was just so far behind PM when those two met that I have trouble using them both, as neither are true milers. GC would be useable at 10-1, but he won't be...he'll probably be second choice...but either way, the layoff and surface switch are good reasons to be against. The other of last year's 3 yo crop that could be tough is Moreno. Still finalizing this one though.

05 Jun 2014 12:23 PM

I havent decided on how I project they will run the race Saturday,I prefer to see more data points on race day.

They could run at a crawling pace or one of the outside posts colts like Tonalist or A-Rod or both could break well and try to get the fence.As far as the break I dont see any of the middle starting posts colts breaking well and making a sustained effort to get on the fence which includes Samaraat and Roc.

5,6,7,8,9 will be content to establish a tracking position.

05 Jun 2014 12:37 PM


A handicapping contest sounds good to me! We'll use the same style as usual, with everyone picking one horse per contest race, and scoring based on mythical $2 win/place wagers on each selection. The winner gets bragging rights until the Breeders' Cup! :)

The contest races shall be all of the stakes races at Belmont Park on Saturday. I'll post my selections sometime tomorrow. Good luck to all!

05 Jun 2014 1:01 PM

It's decision time! Here are my selections for the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes:

05 Jun 2014 2:04 PM

Belated correction.

On an entry on this blog, I wrote:

“Birdstone was 6 lengths back”

It was an error.

It should have been:

“Birdstone was 5 lengths back”

I read the wrong line on the Equibase Chart.

05 Jun 2014 4:47 PM

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