Belmont Upset

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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 Stakes.

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 Regular jockey Chris Roosier has been replaced by Kent Desormeaux.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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