Originally posted at ThoroFan.
Who knew that the Belmont Stakes would be the most intriguing wagering event of this year’s Triple Crown? Bettors really couldn’t ask for much more out of a race then they will get on Saturday, between a huge field, likely off track and the first three finishers of the Derby and winner of the Preakness all coming together.
The Belmont is always a quirky race and the best horse on paper rarely wins. That’s where the expected pace plays a huge factor. A quick glance at Thorograph’s expected race setup paints a very interesting picture.
Now granted, this is not necessarily how it will shake out (Oxbow was projected to be in a similar spot in the Preakness), but it gives us a good sense of where horses will be heading into the first turn. UNLIMITED BUDGET intrigued me as soon as I heard she would run. It really made no sense since all of her siblings were sprinters and owner Mike Repole has what would seem like a far more legitimate horse in OVERANALYZE. Granted, he’s very aggressive spotting his horses, but they also tend to run very well.
The other thing to consider is that her Thorograph figures this year are significantly better than the majority of the field. I loved her in the Kentucky Oaks, and she was certainly flattered with Midnight Lucky came back to win the Acorn. There’s no worse feeling for a gambler than jumping off a horse that you liked only to have them beat you, so she’s worth a play on the off chance that she has it very easy up front and just keeps going. 8-1 isn’t a great price, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she drifts up a bit.
Back to OVERANALYZE. Don’t let the Dixie Union in his pedigree fool you. His siblings were all much better going long. He gets a big rider upgrade to Johnny Velasquez and is another one I really liked in the Derby. So again, I’m not ready to hop off the train just yet. The off track is a big question mark. You have to balance whether he didn’t care for the track at Churchill or just was too far back to make any sort of run. He’s pretty slow, but not any slower than anyone else. Getting 12-1 on Todd Pletcher and Velasquez at Belmont seems too good to be true, especially on the Arkansas Derby winner who has a win over the Belmont surface.
Then there’s REVOLUTIONARY. I hated him in the Derby and was genuinely surprised he ran as well as he did. Clearly he’s a tricky horse to ride and having Castellano back in the saddle is key. Trip is always a concern, but he seems to overcome it. I don’t necessarily agree that he’s an underlay at 9-2, but more than likely he’ll be one that takes a fair bit of money should the track come up wet. I wasn’t sold on his pedigree, but several of his siblings have run their best figures routing. People said last year a son of Dixie Union couldn’t get 12 furlongs and he did.
Obviously you’d be foolish to toss ORB and OXBOW. Of the two, I prefer the latter both from a price and consistency standpoint. I think ORB will be coming late, but he’ll have a lot of horses to circle and it wouldn’t surprise me if he comes up short. On paper, he’s definitely the fastest, but in a race like this he’s worth trying to beat.
$100 BANKROLL PLAYS:
$10 Exacta OVERANALYZE, REVOLUTIONARY/OXBOW, UNLIMITED BUDGET, ORB, REVOLUTIONARY
$2 Trifecta: OVERANALYZE, REVOLUTIONARY/OVERANALYZE, REVOLUTIONARY/ OVERANALYZE, REVOLUTIONARY, UNLIMITED BUDGED, ORB, OXBOW, FREEDOM CHILD, FRAC DADDY