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CASINO DRIVE - BEMONT CONTENDER OR PRETENDER?

6/7/08

The question on a lot of bettors minds heading into the Belmont Stakes on Saturday is Casino Drive, Contender or Pretender? The odds list Casino Drive as the 2nd betting choice at 5-2. Pretty steep considering the horse has only run twice and one of those races was in Japan. So why all the fuss? The fuss comes as a result of a few factors. One being, the lack of other high profile challengers in the Belmont. The other reasons stem from Cason Drives bloodlines, Jockey Edgar Prado and of course, his Peter Pan Stakes win.

Casino Drive has ties to past Belmont winners. Not only past Belmont winners, but the last two Belmont winners. He is half brother to 2006 Belmont winner Jazil and 3/4 brother to last years winner Rags to Riches. But the buzz doesn't end there. On board will be one of America's premier jockeys, Edgar Prado. Not only is Prado a proven winner, he also has played the role of Triple Crown Spoiler on two other occasions. In 2004 he won with 36-1 shot Birdstone ending Smarty Jones Triple Crown hopes and in 2002 on board 70-1 shot Sarava stopping War Emblems bid. Those wins are part of the reason Prado was chosen to ride Casino Drive.

Contender or Pretender? Really, there's no way to tell for sure. That's why they run the race. But the price simply isn't right to take a shot here. 5-2 on an unproven Colt with one race in the USA? No thanks. There are better choices out there, particularly for use in your exotics, at much better odds. Horses with a little more experience here, that are rested and lying in wait.

Casino Drives workout the other day was so slow it wasn't even clocked. His handlers say that was intentional. They say they want him to be strong on Saturday. They say his job in the Belmont is to pass horses in the stretch. Not a bad game plan considering that long Belmont stretch run is usually the undoing of Triple Crown hopefuls.

Just be happy there's some drama Saturday. What would a race of this magnitude be without added drama. Whether or not Casino Drive is a pretender or a contender is really irrelevant. It's the fact that we have to ask the question in the first place that adds the drama. The answer comes on Saturday as we all tune in to see if history can be made. Truthfully folks, if Big Brown is going to do it, I'd like to see him do it in Secretariat fashion and blow away the field. But however it goes, it figures to be exciting.

One final note - some nice scores have been made in the past betting on the Belmont Stakes. It's the added distances and the stretch run that have plenty of long shots hitting the board. So take some chances with your exotics. You might be handsomely rewarded. Good Luck and enjoy!


 

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