BELMONT STAKES UPSET
Big Brown entered the 2008 Belmont Stakes as an
overwhelming favorite. The son of Boundary had never lost a race in
his career, and had delivered crushing blows with ease to his
opponents in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Trainer Richard
Dutrow guaranteed a win, and the public bet him as if he were a
lock. Early in the race he was bumped around hard and never got into
a groove. Kent Desormeaux pulled him up and out of the race as Da
‘Tara went wire to wire at odds of 38-1. Let that be a lesson
learned: there is no such thing as a lock.
The Belmont Stakes is one of the best races of the years when it
comes to finding a high price winner. One of the reasons we haven’t
seen a Triple Crown winner in so long is because colts are waiting
in the wings to “snipe” the Belmont Stakes. They sit out of the
first two legs of the Triple Crown, or skip the middle leg, and come
with everything they have got in the final leg. Jazil is a classic
example of this strategy. He finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby,
and waited for the Belmont Stakes where he won and returned $14.40.
Let’s take a look at some of the best bombs in this year’s Belmont
Summer Bird - He is best known
as the “other” bird in the race. His last performance was a hard
charging 6th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. That race was just
his fourth career start and he desperately needed the experience. He
flashed tons of ability when he earned a BSF of 99 for finishing
third in the Arkansas Derby. Regular jockey Chris Roosier has been
replaced by Kent Desormeaux. That is quite an upgrade. Trainer Tim
Ice will add blinkers for the first time. You can expect to get odds
of at least 10-1 on him. He is a HUGE threat to win and is great
value at that price.
Chocolate Candy - There was a
lot of reasons to like this son of Candy Ride going into the
Kentucky Derby. There are even more reasons to like him in the
Belmont Stakes. He will be switching riders, with Garrett Gomez in
the irons this time around. Gomez is thirsty for a Triple Crown win
and wouldn’t have taken this mount if he didn’t feel he was ready to
run a peak race. He has been running well this year but hasn’t been
able to beat top foes yet. This could be his chance. Chocolate Candy
is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer who is more than capable of
handling a top runner. Look for him at odds of 10-1.
Miner’s Escape - Nick Zito does
well in the Belmont Stakes. His win in 2008 with Da ‘Tara at odds of
38-1 is a testament to that. He brings Miners Escape, winner of the
Tesio in his last start this year. Like many of Zito’s horses, this
one looks like an outsider. He has been improving with each race,
and is very well bred. I like the stalking style he has taken up in
his last two races. Zito does well for owner Robert LaPenta, who
also owns Breeders Cup Juvenile winner War Pass. Jockey Jose Lezcano
is winning 23% of his races. He will be in with a shot at odds of
20-1 or better.
Brave Victory - If you like
Charitable Man at 3-1, you have to give this one a look at 15-1. He
is Zito’s second entry and will be making his sixth start in a
graded stakes. His best finish in those six races was a third last
out in the Peter Pan. Jockey Ragiv Maragh lost the whip in that one,
but has retained the mount for this race. The son of Lion Heart will
need a fast pace to set up for his closing style.
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