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| Betting the Triple Crown
By Tom Wilkinson
Betting horse racing for the average fan revolves around betting the Triple Crown races in early May and June. Betting the Triple Crown includes the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Ill take a look at what makes betting the Triple Crown so intriguing to horse players and go over some things to look for when betting the Triple Crown horse races.
How difficult is it to win the Triple Crown? There have been just 11 winners of the Triple Crown, the latest being Affirmed in 1978. The biggest obstacle to winning the Triple Crown is winning the Belmont Stakes. Twenty times a horse won the first two races but failed to win the Belmont, with Funny Cide having been the latest. The Belmont is such a grueling distance that most horses are just not bred to run that far. The mile and half distance is just too much for many of the horses and they are not conditioned to run the extra distance. This has been the longest break between Triple Crown winners in horse racing history. The previous longest was the break from Citation winning in 1948 to Secretariat in 1973. As we look at betting the Triple Crown we will want to remember that betting the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness will be different than betting the Belmont. We have to really focus on distance and conditioning when betting the Belmont and we will specifically look at Belmont betting at a later time. The Derby and Preakness are very similar in distance and the handicapping is pretty much the same. We do get a few new horses that run in the Preakness but for the most part the Kentucky Derby winner is the favorite and the publics choice in the Preakness.
Ill take a look at the betting for each of the individual races that make up the Triple Crown and what goes into handicapping each race. The Kentucky Derby is usually a wide-open race that has as many as 20 horses entered each year. A lot of the handicapping focuses on prep races, dosage, beyer ratings and breeding. The Kentucky Derby has been full of surprises throughout the years and the favorite has not done that well, this year was an exception. Usually we look for horses coming off solid prep races but not necessarily having won the races. The Kentucky Derby is full of young horses and they are still learning. It makes for a very difficult, but exciting race to handicap.
The Preakness Stakes is somewhat different to handicap because the field is always smaller and the horses that can really win the race are very few. The Derby winner will almost always be the favorite and will rarely offer any value because the public will always want that horse to win. We all would love to see a Triple Crown winner and we want the Derby winner to keep that hope alive and win the Preakness. Betting the Preakness starts with the Derby winner and goes from there. We can look for a little value with horses that had trouble in the Derby or a horse that has been specifically pointed toward the Preakness.
The Belmont Stakes is the real test for any North American racehorse. The mile and a half distance is more than any of these horses have ever seen or likely will ever see again. The stretch run at the Belmont seems to last forever and can truly be a test of a horses stamina. When betting the Belmont we often overlook one of the handicapping factors that we used in the Derby, and that is the dosage index. Some horses are bred to run longer and the dosage index gives us a good idea if the horse can run long distances. It is very difficult for horses to run this far to begin with and what makes it tougher for a Triple Crown contender is the fact that he has already run two tough races in the past five weeks. The Belmont wears down even the best of horses and any horse that has run the Derby and the Preakness is very often tired and, therefore, beatable.
When we bet the Triple Crown we are betting three individual races with their own characteristics and differences. Let us keep in mind the things we went over for each of the races and see if we can make our Triple Crown betting more enjoyable and more profitable.
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Best of luck in your Triple Crown action!