Betting on the 136th Running of the Belmont Stakes

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Betting the 136th Running of the Belmont Stakes ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

Betting the Belmont Stakes

By Tom Wilkinson
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Betting on the 136th running of the Belmont Stakes will revolve around Triple Crown hopeful Smarty Jones. The Pennsylvania bred horse comes into the Belmont Stakes undefeated and will go off as the heavy favorite against horses he has already dominated. I’ll take a look at this year’s Belmont Stakes and try and find some horses to hook up with Smarty Jones. I’ll also look at any horses that have a small chance of upsetting his Triple Crown bid.

The Belmont Stakes is a grueling mile and a half race that wears down nearly every horse. North American horses are just not bred to run that far and many trainers don’t like running their horses that distance because it is such an endurance race. What many trainers have done lately is run their horses in the Peter Pan Stakes as a prep race to the Belmont. The Peter Pan is run two weeks prior to the Belmont and gives trainers a good steppingstone race since it is run at a mile and an 8th. In recent years, horses such as A.P. Indy, Colonial Affair and Lemon Drop Kid ran in the Peter Pan before winning the Belmont.

This year’s Belmont Stakes starts and probably ends with Smarty Jones. His Kentucky Derby and Preakness victories were nothing short of dominating. He is getting high praise from other trainers and jockeys who think he is a monster horse. “He looked like a superstar,” said Bobby Frankel, who trains Master David. “He looks like a cinch in the Belmont unless something goes wrong. He likes off tracks, he likes fast tracks, he’s always in the race and doesn’t need anyone to set the pace for him. He’s a complete horse.” Jockey Gary Stevens, who was aboard Preakness second place finisher Rock Hard Ten said, “That horse is as good as any horse I’ve seen and I’ve seen some good ones and I’ve been on some good ones,” “I was on a good one today. Smarty really reminded me of Secretariat the way he pulled away.” That is very high praise from two of the top names in horse racing and as we bet the Belmont we have to start with Smarty Jones.

Can anyone beat Smarty Jones in the Belmont? The answer is probably not, but it is horse racing, and anything can happen. Let’s take a look at the possible contenders and see if anyone has an outside chance. Preakness runner-up Rock Hard Ten is a small contender only for the fact that his best races still lie ahead of him. The problem is that he was so soundly beaten I don’t see that much improvement this quickly. All the other Preakness finishers are not even worth a mention since they finished even farther back. Horses that lost in the Derby and may be back in the Belmont depending upon their situation are Master David, The Cliff’s Edge, Friends Lake, Castledale, Birdstone, and Tapit. Of those horses I give outside chances to The Cliff’s Edge and Master David. The Cliff’s Edge was my upset pick in the Preakness before being scratched, and if he runs in the Belmont he could make it interesting for a while. Master David was my selection in the Kentucky Derby and anytime Bobby Frankel is getting huge double-digit odds it is at least worth a small look. One horse that is entered in the race and has not faced Smarty Jones is Royal Assault. He is trained by Nick Zito and gets Pat Day, one of the best jockeys in the world, to ride him. Zito is quoted as saying of Royal Assault “He can go a mile and a half.”

The Belmont Stakes continues to dash the hopes of Triple Crown hopefuls. Since 1979 we have had nine horses win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness only to fall short in the Belmont. Five of those horses ran in the last seven years. Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, War Emblem and Funny Cide all failed in the grueling Belmont Stakes. When betting this year’s Belmont Stakes we will see Smarty Jones go off as the “odds on” favorite to change recent history. It will take a huge effort from a competitor or a collapse by Smarty Jones to keep him from the Triple Crown. I am not betting Smarty Jones to win at odds of 1-2 or lower but I will include him in some exacta and trifecta wagering. I fully expect Smarty Jones to win but I am taking small longshot bets on Master David, The Cliff’s Edge and Royal Assault. I will box these horses along with Smarty Jones in exactas and trifectas and see if I can make the Belmont profitable.

In sports, and in horse racing, anything can happen. The media and the public are going to be handing the Belmont Stakes to Smarty Jones before the race even starts. I am as impressed as anyone by the domination that Smarty Jones has shown in staying undefeated heading into the Belmont. I believe Smarty Jones will win, but I also know that huge locks in all sports continue to lose when the media and the public fall in love with them. It happens all the time in the sports betting world when everyone you talk to has the same side. We will see on June 5th if Smarty Jones can make history by not only winning the Belmont, but by winning as the overwhelming public choice as well.

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