Finally we have another chance for a horse to win a Triple Crown. It’s been 36 years since it’s happened, but we had a couple real shots in recent years with Smarty Jones giving us the ride. It takes a lot to even get into this position, let alone to do it once you’re there. It will be a great day for everyone (horse racing, Belmont Park, fans) if California Chrome can get things done Saturday. It’ll be one of those “I remember where I was when” moments.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t go like it went for Smarty Jones in 2004. Rock Hard Ten and Eddington, two horses built to come from behind, rushed to the lead at the instructions of each trainer. They were never going to win the race that way. What they clearly were doing was burning out Smarty Jones before he got to the top of the stretch. It’s not that easy for a horse to slow down when two horses on either side of him are pushing hard. Those two horses fell apart and then Jones got caught by Birdstone down the stretch. It was an unfortunate situation that never should’ve happened. Race your horse in the Belmont to win the race, not to prevent another horse from winning the Triple Crown.
I’m riding high off my Preakness picks, so I’m hoping to deliver for you again. There will be over 100,000 people at Belmont Park tomorrow and some of them will have winning tickets. The information below will help you get an idea for where to lay your money.
1 – Medal Count – 20-1
Do you remember him from the Kentucky Derby? Neither do I and I didn’t like him going into the race either. He’ll be closing late, however, and that’s a good thing.
2 – California Chrome – 3-5
The champ is here. He’s the best horse, but does that mean he’ll win? I’ll be betting against him at the window because that’s the smart thing to do, but I’ll be hoping he wins the Triple Crown to bring some glory back to horse racing. Faces tougher competition than the Preakness, but always seems to be in the spot he wants to be at the top of the stretch.
3 – Matterhorn – 30-1
Finished 4th in the Peter Pan behind two mediocre horses also running in this race. Next.
4 – Commanding Curve – 15-1
He gobbled up stragglers to come out of nowhere in the Derby. That was the best he’d ever run. I need to see it again before I become a believer.
5 – Ride On Curlin – 12-1
One of the two horses that have a chance to beat Chrome. You may remember his father coming up second best to the filly Rags to Riches in 2007 and went on to be one of the best horses of his generation. Son can match father and was bringing the heat at the end of the Preakness.
6 – Matuszak – 30-1
His last two outings were races when he got beat by Kid Cruz. Kid Cruz was smoked in a weak Preakness. Thanks, but no thanks.
7 – Samraat – 20-1
I liked Samraat going into the Kentucky Derby, but that was because of his speed. Speed doesn’t do you well at the Belmont. Expect him on the front early and fading to the back of the pack when things get serious.
8 – Commissioner – 20-1
He’s certainly built for the distance, but is getting less respect than #11 Tonalist because he lost to him on this track a few weeks ago. He might be worth a flyer for the back of the exotics, but he’s probably a notch below the best here.
9 – Wicked Strong – 6-1
The other horse that can beat Chome had a terrible post in the Kentucky Derby, but still managed to grab fourth and was charging the whole second half of the race. He’s raced a couple times at Belmont before and even won here last October. Watch out.
10 – General a Rod – 20-1
There’s plenty of excuses for his Kentucky Derby and Preakness performances, but I’m tired of them. If you’re good, you find a way to perform. Get this horse back on the roids because he ain’t giving enough right now.
11 – Tonalist – 8-1
He’s only raced four times, so he’s not exactly battle tested, let alone in a race of this size and magnitude. He won the Peter Pan on this track, which is nice, but it’s possible he blew his load in the process. He’s getting some love, but I don’t see him in the top three.
How to bet the race:
This is a new section after I gave the top two and three of the top four in the Preakness and realized people might not have been smart enough to bet the race properly. So here’s what you do: bet Ride on Curlin and Wicked Strong with some light win bets and then put them on top of California Chrome in an exacta and a trifecta. Fill out your trifectas with the same two horses (because one of em won’t beat Chrome) and then add in Medal Count, Commissioner, and Tonalist. It doesn’t pay to bet Chrome on top of top in exactas and trifectas like the Preakness because it’s a much less predictable race. Take your shot against him and be happy if you lose because a Triple Crown just happened.
Projected order of finish:
1 – California Chrome
2 – Wicked Strong
3 – Ride on Curlin
4 – Medal Count