Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Early Horse Betting on the 2009 Belmont Stakes

According to Phil Simms this morning, so many people are betting for the underdogs, that the favorites are getting better odds. Is this a matter of Remote Viewing, or is this a wish to regain the money they didn't win in the Kentucky Derby? Point of fact here: 9 out of the last 12 winners of the Belmont did not run in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. The Belmont favors the rested horse by 75%.

At this time, race favorites are Mine that Bird (with and easy inside rail run) and Rachel Alexandra (opened 4.5 odds) have been dropped to 5.4 and 11.4 respectively. Dunkirk (banged about at the Derby in the first turn but has been at Belmont since, skipping the Preakness) is at 4/1 and Charitable Man at 9/2.

The race will take place on June 6th, just a week from this Saturday. Many of the horses listed have still not confirmed 100%. The Belmont is 1.5 miles.

The Kentucky Derby is 1.25 miles, and the longest race that the young horses have raced up to that point. This is the reason the winner is seldom the favorite. It's always a brand new race for the 3 year olds. This year, it was wet which adds additional advantage to the stronger horse with more endurance, and sometimes fewer races to have tired them before the Derby.

The Preakness is the shortest of the races and offers some advantage to the sprinters, if they were not too tired after the grueling Kentucky win.

At the Preakness, Mine that Bird was closing, after a tough run, on Rachel Alexandra when she won the Preakness. She is big enough. Her jockey, Calvin Borel changed to her from Mine that Bird and he is confident. She won from the 13th post position. She was moved to the lead position by the first gate and never gave way. She likes to run in front and has won previous races by a combined 43.5 lengths. This is notable because she had a 4 length lead going down the Preakness stretch and only won by one length. Her jockey said that she was tiring at the end of the race, and he had to hold her together, which he did and she did, but this wouldn't bode well for the Belmont, the longest race any of them have ridden.

Musket Man (with good early speed) was 3rd in the Derby and third in the Preakness, followed by Flying Private and Big Drama.

At the Belmont we will see Mr. Hot Stuff at 35/1 who is now at 25/1. Summer Bird opened at 40/1 and is now down to 30/1. Chocolate Candy was 16/1 and now 15.1 with little interest. Luv Gov was the biggest longshot at 50/1 and hasn't changed. Flying Private is still at 20/1 and Miner's Escape is still at 25/1.

Chocolate Candy came alive in the second half of the derby from 8th position, way on the outside, to finish 5th. He had an easy trip at the Derby and rested during the Preakness. This is a colt bred for endurance and he's had a five week training period at Belmont to become familiar with the track and to peak. He will have Jockey Garrett Gomez on his back. Apparently, Gomez has worked him at Belmont and likes the way the colt runs. He had had time at Belmont to get used to dirt. He was raised in California on synthetic tracks.

Watch here how Chocolate Candy comes from behind and then fights off the other competitor with a second acceleration.

Musket Man was bred to be a 6 furlong specialist. The Kentucky Derby is 5 furlongs, so the Belmont should be his race. He won the Tampa Bay Derby at 1 1/16 miles and the Illinois Derby at 9 furlongs. At the Derby, he was boxed in on the inside, and running right behind the leaders the whole race. He made a little run but was outrun by Mine that Bird and didn't seem to make an effort afterward. I wonder what might have happened if he had been able to lay back a bit with a little more breathing room in the early part of the race? And, he's been racing every month since last October. He's a professional, but still young for that kind of schedule.

Charitable Man is fresh. He's bred for this distance. He's been at this track and won 2 for 2. He shows a nice maturity, being comfortable letting the speed horses take the lead and run out of steam. He seems to have plenty left at the end and is able to turn it on when asked and accelerate away from a pack.

Dunkirk will have Jockey John Velasquez on board. Velasquez won the 2007 Belmont for these owners on Rags to Riches. Dunkirk has less experience than any other horse, and if you watch the videos of his few races, he can be a little loapy in the turns. This may have been the reason for his rough start at the Derby. It will be important for him to have an experienced Jockey like Velasquez, and an advantage to have had this time at Belmont to get used to the track, the turns, and his stall.

-- More as we get closer to the race --

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