Le Comte Stakes

The Saturday card at The Fairgrounds features 12 races with four stakes and a handicap race. The feature race is the $200k LeComte Stakes for three year olds. This race is the local prep for the Risen Star Stakes that will kick off the start for the Louisiana road to the Triple Crown. The race features a full field of 14, let’s see who will jumpstart their way to Louisville!

Fair Grounds Race 11 – Grade III 1 Mile & 70 Yards   Post Time – 6:21pm (Eastern)

Advance Weather: Partly Cloudy, 60s

I will start with #7 MO TOM (7/2), the Tom Amoss trainee comes in with a solid record. Out of four career starts he has 2 wins and 2 places, but, what I like about him the most is his running style. He has a stalker running style, enough speed to put himself into the game and get involved, but doesn’t need the lead to win. This is a big asset to have in a big field. Amoss also had high numbers in this 45-90 day layoff period, (wins at 26%), there is plenty to like with him.

Another horse who will get some play will be #13 DESTIN (6-1). He was victorious at first asking and then failed as a 30 cent on a dollar favorite last time, but he was involved from the start and pressed the pace before finishing second. He is talented and as most Todd Pletcher horses, will probably be over bet, and while he looks to have some ability and a nice stalkish running style, regular jockey Javier Castellano will not travel with him to the Fairgrounds. I know it’s early in the Triple Crown season and Castellano has plenty to ride at Gulfstream, it seems like this horse isn’t a part of Pletchers “A Team” and that makes me wonder if he is worth playing.

Finally, two wildcards in the race are #3 UNCLE WALTER (6-1) and #5 DOLPHUS (10-1). UNCLE WALTER will navigate two turns for the first time in his racing career and we’ll see if he can fire first off a little freshening. DOLPHUS has been sort of a buzz horse, however, after winning at first asking, he was defeated last time by #10 PINACLE PEAK (10-1) and #15 TOM’S READY (5-1) who don’t look to be the biggest contenders in this field.

There looks to be plenty of speed in this race, so that will lead me to playing MO TOM. His running style and trainer stats in this position should be further enhanced from having some speed in the race and the colt has done little wrong in his prior four starts. The race looks wide-open and should be an exciting start to the road to the Kentucky Derby via Louisiana!
My Plays:

Win / Place: #7

Exacta: 7/2,3,5,6,10,11,13

Good Luck!

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The Hidden Power of History

The course of human events strongly suggests that there is no political power without the control and manipulation of collective memory.

The bulk of human activity is driven by an individual and collective interpretation of events both past and present. Indeed, our perception of current events is shaped by our interpretation of past events. Yet our ability to accurately interpret the basics of “what” happened in the past is challenging, the “why” incredibly difficult, and forecasting what “will” happen is virtually impossible.

What’s known as the “Rashomon effect” holds that our point of view of any particular event dictates both our interpretation of such event and informs our subsequent response. We know that our innate prejudices shape how we view things; not only geometric points of views (as depicted in the film “Rashomon” by Akira Kurosawa) but cognitive points of views. When people use the cliché “history tends to repeat itself” it seems to have an element of truth. But given the linear nature of human events, that statement cannot be true (literally or metaphorically) and the cliché itself is an oversimplification. My contention is that while change is a constant, human nature remains essentially the same over the course of human history. Therefore, our interpretations of history (as shaped by cultural, ethnic, religious, economic, regional, ideological, philosophical, intellectual biases) drive collective behavior which gives the appearance of repetition. History isn’t something to be learned from so much as something to break free from and escape.

Given the limits of human knowledge and its disastrous tendency to superstition, herd behavior, and groupthink; we have nonetheless achieved significant advancements through scientific exploration. The power of freedom of thought and skepticism fight against prejudgment and resists the tendency of the human mind to believe what it has inherited from the past without examination, without skeptical critical thinking to shape and forge the future.

The purpose of studying history is not to memorize arcane facts and dates of brutal wars and the reign of incompetent rulers, but to understand the implications of a philosophical and inquisitive human spirit ever seeking to improve the conditions of mankind. This is evidenced through the advancement of learning and knowledge and the mastery of trades, artistic expression and the development of culture. In spite of such progress there’s the ever present specter of fanaticism, superstition, and intolerance which again and again threatens to wipe away the gains of civilization and plunge nations and peoples into chaos, dissension, civil war, despair, and poverty. This is a constant struggle throughout the course of human events and why a clear grasp and understanding of history is so vital to mankind’s future peace and happiness.

If there is a God, it exists within the human mind’s ability to think critically about itself, its past, its current environment, and its future in order to break free of the shackles of the past and shape the future of human civilization in a positive direction.

Merry Christmas!

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Turnback the Alarm Handicap

Friday is the start of arguably the best and biggest weekend in horse racing, the Breeders’ Cup Championships. Horse racing’s equivalent of the World Series, Stanley Cup Finals or Super Bowl. In addition to the Breeders’ Cup, it is closing weekend at Belmont Park and one of my favorite stakes races of the year is the Friday feature at Belmont, the Grade III 200k Turnback the Alarm Handicap.

The race is a favorite of mine for a few reasons, first the name and timing is perfect. The race is traditionally run on this weekend, right before daylight savings time ends (on Sunday). The race is actually named for the champion filly Turnback the Alarm, who won five Grade I races at NYRA in the early 1990s. The other reason I like this stake so much is it seemingly changes every year. One year it’s raced at Belmont, the next at Aqueduct; when run at Belmont it is a mile and 16th around one turn, at Aqueduct it’s a mile and 8th around two turns. Now that we have turned back time, let’s go forward in handicapping this year’s edition of the Turnback the Alarm Handicap!

Belmont Park Race 8 – 8.5 Furlongs (1 & 1/16ths Miles) Post Time – 5:08pm (Eastern)

Advance Weather: Sunny, 60s

This is a crazy race to try and figure out to say the least. The first thing I do when looking at a race is to find who is going to be the speed, well this race has almost no speed at all. If I had to guess, #3 DELIGHTFUL JOY (5/2) or #4 HOLIDAY’S JEWEL (20-1) will set the pace which will most likely be fairly soft. Combine that with horses that like to close, it is going to make it difficult to close into the potential slow fractions.

DELIGHTFUL JOY will be my top pick in the race. She has won two in a row and even though she is coming off a bit of a layoff, Chad Brown has strong numbers in this kind of a layoff (wins at 30%). She has the speed to put herself in the game and may even be on the lead but she can’t afford to hit the snooze button and let HOLIDAY’S JEWEL get too comfortable on the lead. If she sets the pace, she may take them all the way around.

The other horse that interests me in this field is #8 PANGBURN (5-1). Her recent workouts have been outstanding (four straight bullet workouts) and any horse that is trained by Anthony Dutrow warrants consideration. He always spots his horses real well and has solid stats across the board in this position.

Horses to fill out my exotics will be #5 CALL PAT (4-1) and #7 STIFFED (12-1).CALL PAT returns to a level where she can compete and if STIFFED can get out of the gate cleanly, she has potential to not stiff the betting public.

My Plays:

Exacta: 3/5,8

Trifecta: 3/5,8/5,7,8,9

Good Luck

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The Preakness Stakes, Pimlico, Baltimore

The Preakness is by far the most unique and maybe the most overlooked of the 3 races that comprise horse racing’s Triple Crown. What makes it so unique? For one, while those attending the race get excited just like at the Kentucky Derby or Belmont, this really is the “local people’s race.” Maryland race fans and the people of Baltimore trade the conspicuously pretentious fashion, over-the-top hats, and syrupy sweet mint juleps of the Kentucky Derby and the long-standing tradition of formal attire at Belmont Park for tarty Black-Eyed Susans, soiled T-shirts, bikini contests, and one hell of a raucous infield party with equal parts spontaneous nudity and fistfights.

Pimlico Race Track, affectionately known as “Old Hilltop,” has just as rich a history as Churchill Downs, Belmont Park or really any track in the United States for that matter. Opened in 1870, this year marks the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes. Sure, Maryland’s day-to-day racing product may not be as high-quality as in Kentucky or New York, but that enhances the importance of Preakness weekend. To quote my good friend and longtime colleague Steve Munday about Pimlico, “the cracked wood, peeling paint and mustiness only add to its charm.” Like Baltimore, it’s old, rundown, beat up, quirky, and not a damn bit apologetic about it.

The most unique thing about the Preakness, however, is that while we all love to watch, bet, and handicap races, this race is the only one of the year where everyone roots for the same horse. Sure, some of us will bet against American Pharoah on Saturday, some won’t. But whether we cash a ticket or not, we all want a potential Triple Crown on the line heading into the Belmont Stakes.

There is no other race of its kind in horse racing. So instead of saying “Pimlico is a dump” or “there won’t ever be another Triple Crown winner;” get your Preak on for a full 8 hours! It really might be the best experience in horse racing.

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Volume IV – The Final Dozen

On the cusp of the greatest racing spectacle in the United States we humbly offer our final Derby Dozen poll. It’s been a fun ride and we sincerely appreciate our contributors’ time and effort to our thrice weekly poll. As for the race, it’s obvious that Baffert’s duo deserve much respect, but once you get past them (if you can), this has the look of a wide open affair. It’s worth noting that only one entry in the 20 horse field failed to garner a single “oh what the hell” vote from our panel (see the ballots) – Itsaknockout. He seems destined to help cross-promote the Pacquiao / Mayweather fight out in Vegas and add to Todd Pletcher’s poor Derby starters vs. Derby wins record.

Enjoy this weekend’s races, we wish all of you the best of luck!

Here’s the brainpower the Derby Dozen:
Brian Zipse from Horse Racing Nation
Rob from Amateurcapper
Nicolle Neulist
Geno from EquiSpace
The Turk
Tencentcielo
Tony Bada Bing from Horse Racing Nation
Paul Mazur
Dylan Jarmulowicz
Andrew Mangini
Melissa Nolan

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WirePlayers Derby Dozen Volume III

Like a classic Playboy centerfold, our list of Kentucky Derby contenders is a bit top-heavy. Dortmund, American Pharoah, and Carpe Diem seem like world beaters with impressive, if not gaudy records. Next we have several contenders seemingly a cut below. The question is whether you buy into that line of thought or not. A few of our voters clearly do not and that’s reflected on their ballots and comments. The Derby presents a terrific puzzle to be solved; and those with the correct answer shall be richly rewarded.

Here’s the brainpower the Derby Dozen:
Brian Zipse from Horse Racing Nation
Rob from Amateurcapper
Nicolle Neulist
Geno from EquiSpace
The Turk
Tencentcielo
Tony Bada Bing from Horse Racing Nation
Paul Mazur
Dylan Jarmulowicz
Andrew Mangini
Melissa Nolan

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WirePlayers Derby Dozen Volume II – Just Getting Good

It’s t-minus 45 days till Derby 2015 and it’s far from over in trying to dope out the top contenders (and sleepers). In the three weeks since our last poll not much changed at the top, but American Pharoah and Carpe Diem made major moves up the ladder. Ocean Knight and Ocho Ocho Ocho disappointed mightily last time out and fell off our list completely so we called up Prospect Park and Far Right from the J.V.

Based on the voting and our panelists’ comments there’s a difference of opinion as to whether American Pharoah is the real deal or simply used his high cruising gear to dominate an overmatched field of lightweights (or, as Dylan put it, “a quality field of maiden breakers”). Well, with the marquee Grade 1 Derby preps around the corner we’ll have a better idea of who’s who and what’s what. Until next time, enjoy the Dozen (individual ballots):

Here’s the brainpower the Derby Dozen:
Brian Zipse from Horse Racing Nation
Rob from Amateurcapper
Nicolle Neulist
Geno from EquiSpace
The Turk
Tencentcielo
Tony Bada Bing from Horse Racing Nation
Paul Mazur
Dylan Jarmulowicz
Andrew Mangini
Melissa Nolan

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Playing Possum Gotham

Living in the megalopolis this winter has been absolutely brutal, same goes for winter racing at NYRA. Aqueduct has once again been dead all week as NYRA cancelled Thursday and Friday racing, but, Saturday offers hope as the weather looks good for racing to resume. Saturday is the biggest day of racing during the Inner Track meet with three stakes, a big pick six carryover and the feature 400k Grade III Gotham Stakes. The field features 10 three year-olds battling for valuable Kentucky Derby points in this prep race for next month’s Wood Memorial.

#4 EL KABEIR is the 8/5 morning line favorite in this race and may go off even shorter than that. To like him (especially at that price), you have to ask yourself a question. Was dueling with #3 CLASSY CLASS (7/2) the reason he lost to Far From Over in the Withers Stakes, who completely stumbled at the start and ran one hell of a race or is it that EL KABEIR is better off going shorter and around one turn? I think it’s the latter; he looks like a 7 furlong/1 turn mile horse to me. Do not get me wrong, I think he’s a good horse and will win some big stakes this summer, but it won’t be going this far and especially around two turns.

The two I’m going to play in this race is CLASSY CLASS and #8 TENCENDUR (8-1). CLASSY CLASS dueled the whole way last time and this race has more speed than the Withers. So jockey Junior Alvarado should let them go and sit a close up third or fourth and make one run around the far turn. He made a nice run like that breaking his maiden last fall at Belmont Park. TENCENDUR is interesting at a price for trainer George Weaver. He finished fourth in the Withers beaten only 4 lengths at big odds. He seems like a classic Weaver horse who keeps improving with each start while moving up in class. He made a nice move in breaking his maiden, then in his next start runs in a stakes race and outran his odds. I would not be surprised if he was to get a piece in this race.

Good Luck!

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WirePlayers Derby Dozen Volume I

Sure it’s cold and there’s snow covering most of the country, but spring is just around the corner and they’ll be loading the gate for Kentucky Derby #141 in 65 days. You heard me, 65 days! That means it’s time we get off our lazy duffs and put together a list of Derby contenders. If we didn’t, then how would millions of people across the land know how to waste their hard earned cash on Derby future wager pool #3 this weekend?

Every three weeks we’ll rank the top 12 Derby contenders as voted on by 12 Derby enthusiasts from across the Twitter and Blog lands. Most of our voters are seasoned Derby Dozen veterans, but we’d like to offer a warm welcome to Nicolle Neulist who replaces my long time friend and all around good dude Derek Brown (word has it, Derek is working on a new project that includes building up a trendy cocktail lounge empire in Washington DC; but I could be wrong). It’s nice to see Nicolle come out the gate fast and fearless with some bold opinions. Now if only her highest ranked Derby contender KEEN ICE started his races that way (individual ballots).

We present to you Volume I and guess what, we have a tie for 1st!

Here’s the brainpower the Derby Dozen:
Brian Zipse from Horse Racing Nation
Rob from Amateurcapper
Nicolle Neulist
Geno from EquiSpace
The Turk
Tencentcielo
Tony Bada Bing from Horse Racing Nation
Paul Mazur
Dylan Jarmulowicz
Andrew Mangini
Melissa Nolan

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Steward’s Corner

This past weekend at Gulfstream Park there were a few decisions that occurred off the racetrack that profoundly affected the racing results. Before going any further, I want to preface that I know racing stewards have a tough job, just like any official in organized sports. This just stood out as something more than a tough day at the office. In Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes, Upstart was disqualified after a steward’s inquiry and jockey objection for interference during the stretch run. In reviewing the replays, especially the head on view, it looked clear to me and many others I know, that the inside horse, Frosted, clearly lugged out, which in turn caused Upstart to waver out and “apparently” interfered with Itsaknockout.

In my opinion, Upstart was moving best of all and was influenced out by Frosted who started the chain reaction. The rider of Itsaknockout (Luis Saez), also may have been attempting to win an Academy Award as he stopped riding, seemingly baiting the stewards into making the eventual disqualification and change in order of finish. My point is that officials are important and a part of the game, however; the product of racing shouldn’t be dictated by the calls officials make. Just like in Major League Baseball, umpires are human, they make mistakes but you never want a game to be remembered by an umpires call.

Don Denkinger was a great umpire, but one missed call in the 1985 World Series led him to be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Denkinger may have gotten the call wrong, but he did not cause the St. Louis Cardinals to miss an easy catch on foul out and other subsequent plays that gave the game to the Kansas City Royals and eventually the win in the 1985 World Series.

Most fans just want the officiating to be consistent through the duration of a game. Whether it’s the physicality of a hockey hit, or the strike zone in baseball, just be consistent with the calls. Upstart got disqualified, ok, fine (agree with it or not). Then in the very next race the inside horse made contact twice with the outside horse, while lugging out badly down the stretch and after another review the results stand? These seemingly arbitrary decisions send mixed messages to the public and it has nothing to do with cashing tickets, it takes away from our ability to love and enjoy the sport for its own sake. Is a little consistency too much to ask?! We love racing and want to see fair results; cashing tickets are just a byproduct. Let racing be about the horses on the track and not the stewards in the press box.

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Upstart the Youths and Fountains at Gulfstream

While some of us are frosted (pun intended) here in the Northeast, it’s warm and sunny down in Florida at Gulfstream Park. Saturday’s card will feature the Grade II, $400k Fountain of Youth Stakes, their local prep race for the Florida Derby. The field of eight can be categorized into two groups, Upstart and all the rest.

Race 11 – 8.5 Furlongs (1 & 1/16ths Miles) Post Time – 5:30pm (Eastern)

Advance Weather: Party Cloudy, 70s

The race will likely have two clear betting choices in #6 FROSTED (5/2) and #7 UPSTART (8/5). UPSTART was super impressive in the Holy Bull Stakes last month, where he drew off in the stretch defeating FROSTED and #2 BLUEGRASS SINGER (8-1) rather convincingly. I played against FROSTED in the Holy Bull and I really cannot see playing him today either. UPSTART has been training well and is the unquestioned horse to beat in this race. Trying to find value horses to fill out exotic wagers however, is kind of confusing.

Starting with #4 GORGEOUS BIRD (6-1), he looked good in an optional 75k claimer on the Holy Bull under-card. Who he beat in that race cannot compare to this field and connections tend to spot their horses aggressively. There were two Todd Pletcher horses in that aforementioned race that were co-favored and did not run a step. Speaking of Pletcher, he has #5 ITSAKNOCKOUT (5-1) but neither of his first call riders (Javier Castellano or John Velazquez) is aboard. Luis Saez retains the mount and will have to negotiate two turns for the first time at a likely shorter than appetizing price. Finally, BLUEGRASS SINGER is probably better going around one turn but ran a respectable third last time out.

My Plays:

Win: 7

Trifecta: 7/4,5,6/4,5,6

Good Luck!

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Presidents’ Day Payday – Grade III General George Handicap

After a bit of a hiatus, Dylan is back on WirePlayers with a preview of tomorrow’s General George Handicap.

There are a few good stakes around the country Monday as we celebrate Presidents’ Day. However, the best one is the 39th renewal of the 7 furlong, $250k General George Handicap at Laurel Park. It is one of the busiest days of the Laurel meet along with the De Francis Memorial Dash in the fall. The race has a good mix of local veterans and invaders shipping from New York, Pennsylvania and California.

Let’s start handicapping with last year’s De Francis Dash winner, #5 ZEE BROS (7/2). While I like him as a racehorse, I do not think this middle distance of seven furlongs suits him best. You can argue the last race was a designed prep, cutting back to this distance but at a short price, I’ll let him beat me.

#1 BOURBON COURAGE (5/2) is the likely favorite and is very similar to ZEE BROS. He is an honest horse, but does not win an awful lot, just once in the last two years (13 Starts). You can argue that he has faced the toughest company but I’m not sure seven furlongs is his best game. I will however, play him underneath in my exotics as he has too much back class.

My top picks in this race are #2 MISCONNECT (10-1), #6 BIG BUSINESS (6-1), and #8 CUTTY SHARK (12-1).

On paper, it looks like #4 SMASH AND GRAB (8-1) is going to go early. MISCONNECT has speed to put himself in the game and does not need the lead to win. He should sit a nice spot close up and is a monster at this specialty distance (two wins and a place in three races). BIG BUSINESS is my top pick in this race. Other than the Cigar Mile, he is right there in every race against very good company while being stuck out wide every time. Finally, locally based trainer Donald Barr sends out CUTTY SHARK whose versatile running style is intriguing at a price. He loves the Laurel surface and is proven at this distance going around one and two turns. Looking at his races, he is always driving late and determined to give it all. Donald Barr is a trainer I really respect and think is vastly underrated. His horses are also running really well so far this year (winning at 29%).

My Plays:
Exacta Box: 2,6,8
Exacta: 2,6,8/1
Trifecta: 2,6,8/1,2,6,8/1,2,6,8

Good Luck!

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I’m Bringing New People to the Racetrack, For Science

As we in the recluse community like to say (I assume, having not attended any of the meetings) “it’s terrifying out there.” But I’ve always considered the racetrack an isthmus of serenity. I typically run into my friends there and steal their picks for financial gain. This is one of the nuances of maintaining complicated friendships.

But I can do more. I can take my ambassadorship for the game further. So next Saturday I will be bringing two people to Saratoga that have never been to the racetrack before. Having completed high school science twice—once during the summer under unrealistic expectations—I feel that I have a solid grasp of running an experiment to determine how the next generation of potential fans experience the races.

As with any study that will be subject to peer review, one of the participants will be the control group. I’m not sure what that will entail yet, but they will be clearly identified by a sandwich board that reads “control.” I hope that will lead to interactions that will serve the racing fan science community for years to come.

I will also maintain strict confidentiality of the participants. Real names will be protected, so lets call them Spaul and Spacey. They represent an accurate and diverse cross section of society, pulled from the sub demographic pool of people that respond to my texts and have cars.

The inquisitive nature and eagerness of the participants has already been demonstrated. This morning I received no fewer than three messages saying “it’s next Saturday?” and “can I wear sweats?”

I was hoping they would get to experience the return of Wise Dan, to add a historical element to the experiment. It’s probably just as well. I am no position to explain colic.

So please, when you see my study participants at Saratoga next Saturday, act as you normally would. Authenticity is key. They are being closely monitored, so please do not feed them. Also, I promised them Shake Shack so I don’t want their appetites spoiled.

However, by all means help them handicap, but please don’t attempt to explain anything that happened in racing prior to 2014. These guys have the attention span of gnats.

Originally posted on Medium.

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The Grade 1 Belmont Stakes: Let’s Hope I’m Wrong Again

What can I tell you that you don’t already know? We’ve had three weeks to pour over the data, watch the replays, debate the “what if” scenarios and stay up late to watch the Social Inclusion midnight press conference. That whole “will he, won’t he, who cares?” narrative was maybe the fifth strangest storyline of the weeks leading up to CALIFORNIA CHROME’s Triple Crown attempt.

It wasn’t like this when Smarty Jones, or even Big Brown, ran. Sure, BYO alcohol policies were more lax and there was just something about the connections of Big Brown that people couldn’t get behind. Turns out there were a lot of things, but we had moved on well before those came to light

Blame Twitter, prescription medications in our water, the lack of violent horse racing video games, but my internal monologue has transitioned from once coherent, linear thoughts to a constant, high-pitched scream. So it’s been hard to focus. But this is still a horse race and I’m still a handicapper. Fortunately, if you’ve followed my posts here or at various other credible, free online media outlets, you know that I am pretty horrible with the picks I give out. And believe me, you guys aren’t missing much. There’s no grift where I give out consistently terrible picks and quietly profit on the “real” bets somewhere else.

Remember last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf? I gave out the exacta and trifecta and if you played it you still lost money. Obviously you are all very smart handicappers, or at least know where to find credible advice. My ROI is negative one million. I’m okay with that and it should make you feel better about disregarding my picks whenever you see them.

You know the drill, there’s CALIFORNIA CHROME and everyone else. I have a hard time separating everyone else and I’m honestly amazed that one of these horses will run second. But there’s another part of the drill. A deep, quiet part of us that slips away to stash a few sips of self-loathing in a bottle. It’s a horse race and there is money to be made. I say, play with conviction. If you like CALIFORNIA CHROME, play him in exacta combinations with no more than two other horses. The deeper you go, the harder it becomes to turn a profit. Find value somewhere else in the multi-race sequences.

The best advice – and this is for any race – is if you liked a horse once, play him back when you like him least. I liked MEDAL COUNT in the Toyota Bluegrass and the Kentucky Derby. How stupid would I feel if he beat me in the Belmont? Also, and facts may prove me wrong again, it seems like wagering on the Belmont does not reward the obvious. So the second choice or flashy newcomer as an upset possibility feels the most unlikely of the potential scenarios.

Find your MEDAL COUNT. That’s really all I can suggest. But also find one other horse that would surprise you the third least if they won. For me, that’s WICKED STRONG, and he moves up the absurd angle ladder because I liked him in a race earlier this year.

$100 BANKROLL PLAYS:

$10 Win CALIFORNIA CHROME (Souvenir factor trumps all)

$25 Exacta: CALIFORNIA CHROME/MEDAL COUNT, WICKED STRONG

$5 Trifecta: MEDAL COUNT, WICKED STRONG/MEDAL COUNT, CALIFORNIA CHROME, WICKED STRONG/MEDAL COUNT, CALIFORNIA CHROME, RIDE ON CURLIN, WICKED STRONG

Originally posted at ThoroFan.

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Triple Crown Threats Since 1978

Summary of past 11 Triple Crown attempts since Affirmed won in 1978.

Previous Eleven Triple Crown Attempts

Year Derby / Preakness Winner Post Time Odds Finish Belmont Winner Post Time Odds Field Size
1979 Spectacular Bid 3/10 3rd Coastal 9/2 8
1981 Pleasant Colony 4/5 3rd Summing 8-1 11
1987 Alysheba 4/5 4th Bet Twice 8-1 9
1989 Sunday Silence 9/10 2nd Easy Goer 3/2 10
1997 Silver Charm Even 2nd Touch Gold 5/2 7
1998 Real Quiet 4/5 2nd Victory Gallop 9/2 11
1999 Charismatic 3/2 3rd Lemon Drop Kid 30-1 12
2002 War Problem 6/5 8th Sarava 70-1 11
2003 Funny Cide Even 3rd Empire Maker 2-1 6
2004 Smarty Jones 2/5 2nd Birdstone 38-1 9
2008 Big Brown 3/10 DNF Da' Tara 38-1 9

Nobody knows for sure how likely California Chrome’s chances are to win the Belmont Stakes, the final jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown. If you believe the hype his chances are pretty damn good and he’s certain to go off at odds on. If you review the table above, you’ll see his task is incredibly daunting. Which would of course make a California Chrome victory on Saturday all the more impressive.

He could very well be a special horse that comes around once every few decades. Or not. One of the many things that make horse racing so enthralling is it’s natural unpredictability. While this weekend there will be money won and lost by serious handicappers and casual fans alike, I encourage everyone to step back and savor the anticipation, the excitement, and relish in the unexpected.

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