Belmont Stakes Predictions 2014 June 6, 2014Posted by Jim Berkin in Horse Racing.
Tags: Belmont, predictions
So will we finally have a Triple Crown winner after all these years?
The morning odds certainly think we will, with California Chrome a heavy favorite at 3-5. The racing world would love a big positive boost of publicity for the sport, especially as (sadly) the sport continues to wane in popularity, especially against other forms of gambling. I guess that means if you believe in conspiracy theories & the mob fixing everything, California Chrome is a certainty.
Despite the black helicopters over my house, I’d put California Chrome as a favorite, but not as the horse-to-beat-against-a-weak-field favorite he was in the Preakness. The Belmont field has a few legitimate spoiler horses who have the potential to take this race. With Chrome running hard to get the crown, barring any freakazoid reason for him to be pulled, I would put together a number of boxed combo bets with him & the following possible spoilers, which I’ll discuss in order of what I think is their likelihood of paying off as winners or merely in the money:
Tonalist ran a great Peter Pan stakes a month ago on a sloppy Belmont track and gained speed and power as he went. The biggest factor for me every year in the Belmont is the distance involved – a lot of route horses simply run out of gas when asked to run a mile and a half, so I always look for the ones who can keep pace and reserve the energy for at least a mile or so before turning it on at the end. Tonalist is a likely candidate for such a finish, and his last speed figures and speed figure potential for Saturday is in the same league with the amazing numbers of California Chrome. And he’s 8-1!
Right up there with Tonalist, I’d put the surprise of the Kentucky Derby, Commanding Curve. The late surge stretch run he did, almost catching Chrome, made me think he’d be the horse to watch in the longer Belmont since he would have passed Chrome on that Derby run if there’d be another quarter mile. All he’d have to do is rest up by skipping the Preakness (check) and keep in top form (check – his works at Belmont are the best out there, better than Chrome). He’ll also probably do better in a smaller field, and one where he isn’t all the way on the outside. With less traffic to negotiate & a better position for a late burst run…. well, it could happen. And he’s 15-1!
After those two, I think Wicked Strong, the #4 Derby finisher, will challenge again here. Well rested after skipping the Preakness, Wicked Strong also has the power to finish well at a mile and a half. The other wild card is Ride On Curlin, who ran a great Preakness and finished the Derby strong, but in each case, I think the jockey had a lot to do with it. He’s got a new, third, rider this time, so who knows?
If I had to grade them, I’d give California Chrome an A, Tonalist and Commanding Curve A-, Wicked Strong B+ and Ride On Curlin B.
My ten cent superfectas, fifty cent trifectas and one dollar exactas will be designed accordingly.