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Belmont Stakes Exacta and Trifecta Picks

6/11/11

Of the three triple crown races, the biggest scores have been made in the Kentucky Derby, not the Preakness or Belmont. In the Derby, their tends to be more live dogs. Nice priced long shots with a great chance to win. By the time we get to the Belmont Stakes, the field has generally been weeded out. You've mostly got your handful of contenders still left over from the first 2 legs along with some long shots that quite frankly have no shot.

Our strategy however, stays the same. We'll pick 5 or 6 horses we feel have a chance to win, and hope that of those, the ones that come through for us are the long priced horses. But we won't ignore the favorites here. You can't. They're too good.

Animal Kingdom 2/1 deserves to be favored. What's not to like? If the Preakness was a tad longer we'd be rooting for a Triple Crown winner on Saturday as Animal Kingdom simply ran out of track down the stretch. He won't have that problem on Saturday in the Belmont, the longest race most of these horses will ever run. Animal Kingdom looks like he can run all day. As much as we hate to pick a favorite to win a race, if he's the best horse, you have no choice. He may very well be the best. There's no way he's not there down the stretch.

The next short priced choice you'd have to consider is 4/1 Nehro. Like Animal Kingdom in the Preakness, Nehro ran out of track in the Derby. He was right there charging down the stretch and has the advantage of not having run in the Preakness. This is a fast closing colt that was 2nd in the Louisiana Derby and the Arkansas Derby. In the Kentucky Derby, due to a wide trip, jockey Nakatani made an early move for the lead. That shouldn't be a problem in the Belmont. The Belmont Stakes sets up nicely for a closer like Nehro. There will be plenty of room and time to make that late move. This colt has to be used in exotics. Winning is not out of the question.

Shackleford at 8/1 is another one we can't ignore. When you think of a speed horse, you think of a horse that bolts to the lead each time out and generally fades down the stretch. Shackleford doesn't fade! You know he's going to be out in front and he has the pedigree to get the distance. The only question with Shackleford is if he can hang on with the extra Belmont distance. He'll be there in the stretch so he's another must use in exotics.

Many "experts" believe Mucho Macho Man 12/1 can't handle the distance of the Belmont but his 6th place finish in the Preakness may make for a little value here. He's listed at 12/1 at some offshore sportsbooks. At that price he's worth a shot.

There are 3 more worth looking at as far as hitting the board. Santiva, Master of Hounds and Brilliant Speed. We're going to toss Master of Hounds. Over the last 3 months he's flown over 18,000 mile. I don't know about you, but if I flew that many miles, I'd be pretty beat. That leaves us with Santiva, currently 12/1 and Brilliant Speed at 10/1 to round out our 6 horse exacta box and or our trifecta box.

Animal Kingdom
Nehro
Shackleford
Mucho Macho Man
Santiva
Brilliant Speed

There you have it. The excitement of the Belmont Stakes is always lessened when we don't have a Triple Crown to root for, but there's still some drama and anticipation as we all tune in to see of Animal Kingdom and live up to his billing. Enjoy the race and good luck!

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