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Belmont Stakes Picks

6/5/10

Let’s go back to the year 2008. Big Brown had just crushed his foes in the Kentucky Derby and cruised to an easy victory in the Preakness Stakes. It looked like he couldn’t be defeated in the Belmont Stakes. The son of Boundary was made a huge favorite, but due to circumstances unknown he was unable to finish the race. That left the door wide open for 38-1 shot Da ‘Tara, who wired the field.

We could see another wire job this year, but the payoff isn’t likely to be as high due to the fact that a Triple Crown isn’t on the line.

Trainer Nick Zito brings 3-1 favorite and Kentucky Derby second place finisher Ice Box along with 9-2 shot Fly Down to the Belmont Stakes. Both horses have a strong closing kick. Jockey Jose Lezcano had the mount on both colts, but decided to stick with Ice Box. He is likely to have Ice Box closer to the pace this time around. The colt is working well and is bred for the distance.

John Velazquez picks up the mount on Fly Down who won the Dwyer Stakes by 6 lengths last out over Drosselmeyer who is also in this race. If he repeats his form in that Dwyer win he will be ultra tough here. Our top pick will be a colt that has twice been defeated by Fly Down.

That colt is Preakness Stakes second place finisher First Dude. The big lanky colt covers more ground in one stride then some horses do in two strides. He runs well on the front end and it appears that he is only now figuring this racing thing out. To put it in simpler terms, First Dude is only now getting good and realizing his potential.

We like First Dude to win the Belmont Stakes after falling short in the Preakness Stakes behind Lookin at Lucky because of his quick early foot. The son of Stephen Got Even will break sharply from the 11 post and set a dawdling pace. Jockey Ramon Dominguez knows the Belmont track very well and will make sure to save something for the end of the race.

First Dude has the pedigree to run all day. His Tomlinson Rating of 352 is among the best in the field. Stephen Got Even is well known as a sire of routers. His broodmare sire, Smart Strike, is one of the leading sire in the entire nation. He sired runners like English Channel, Lookin at Lucky, and Curlin. There is no doubt about First Dude’s ability to go 12 furlongs.

Our “second” choice will be the talented Dwyer Stakes winner Fly Down. He registered a powerful victory last out despite having slow fractions to chase. Something tells me that this colt is going to be a star. Whether or not he scores his first huge win here or not, he is one of the best colts in this crop of three-year-olds. Jockey John Velazquez won the 2007 Belmont Stakes with Rags to Riches. That is his only win in a Triple Crown race, but he has a hell of a shot to take his second thanks to Fly Down.

We really like Interactif as a long shot possibility. The son of Broken Vow is training up a storm and he rarely runs a bad race. He is in the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher who conditioned 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches. He has enough early foot to put himself in good position. Jockey JJ Castellano is on a hot streak and could be the difference maker for the talented colt. Keep an eye on him.

Here are some picks and plays that we like for the Belmont Stakes.

WIN on #11 FIRST DUDE

Exacta: 11/5,6,7,9,10,12

Trifecta: 11/5,6,9,10/5,6,7,9,10,12

Superfecta: 11/5,6,9/5,6,9,10,12/5,6,7,9,10,12

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