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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