cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/05/2014 12:16 PM

Chrome faces 10 in last leg of Crown

June 5, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Trainer Billy Gowan let out a whoop when Ride on Curlin landed a midpack post for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.

You look for any possible edge when facing California Chrome, the 3-5 favorite to become horse racing's 12th Triple Crown champion, and first in 36 years.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will face 10 rivals on Saturday, not a good omen in the quest for racing's ultimate prize. This would be the largest Belmont field ever beaten by a Triple Crown winner. The 11 previous Triple Crown champions never faced more than seven rivals in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, the longest of the three races in the series.

Since Affirmed became the last Triple Crown winner in 1978, three Belmont fields with the same history on the line also drew 11 horses in 1981, 1988 and 2002.

None of that bothers Art Sherman, California Chrome's trainer

''They better worry about me,'' he said.

Ride on Curlin is one of the handful of challengers with a realistic chance of pulling an upset. Gowan's colt is the 12-1 fourth choice from post No. 5.

''I feel good about my post,'' Gowan said after the draw Wednesday morning. ''My horse is doing really well. He's sound. He's happy. He's eating everything, so we're ready to roll.''

After a trouble-filled trip to finish seventh in the Derby, Ride on Curlin uncorked a strong rally in the Preakness to get second, only 1 1/2 lengths behind California Chrome.

''Hopefully, another five-sixteenths of a mile and we'll be able to catch him as opposed to the Preakness, but that Chrome is going to be hard to catch,'' Gowan said.

Ride On Curlin will have a new jockey for the Belmont in Hall of Famer John Velazquez, a two-time Belmont winner with the filly Rags to Riches (2007) and Union Rags (2012).

Post positions are not a huge factor in the Belmont. In a race this long over a track with sweeping turns, jockeys have plenty of time to strategically position their horses.

California Chrome will break from the No. 2 post under Victor Espinoza. Eleven Belmont winners have come out of that spot in the starting gate, the last being Tabasco Cat in 1994.

''I like No. 2,'' Espinoza said. ''Hopefully, it's my lucky number.''

Racing fans looking for an omen will see California Chrome listed No. 2 in the betting program, the same number as 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who won the Belmont by a record 31 lengths while setting the track record of 2:24 that still stands.

As in all races, trainers and owners like to avoid the extremes: the inside and outside posts.

Medal Count, 30-1, wound up on the rail. He ran eighth in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness.

Tonalist, 8-1, got post No. 11 as the third choice in his Triple Crown debut.

''I think we are fine with it,'' owner Robert Evans said.

The late developing colt was an impressive winner last month in Belmont Park's Peter Pan Stakes over a sloppy track. Tonalist has two wins in only four starts.

In contrast, California Chrome has already run 12 times with eight victories. He carries a six-race winning streak into the Belmont.

Wicked Strong was a distant second choice at 6-1 on the morning line and drew post No. 9. The colt is based at Belmont, and has one win in two previous races at the sprawling track.

Todd Pletcher recently became racing's leading money-winning trainer and owns two Belmont wins: Rags to Riches and Palace Malice last year.

Pletcher sends out Commissioner, 20-1 after finishing second in the Peter Pan, and 30-1 shot Matterhorn, fourth in that same race.

Matuszak was second in the Federico Tesio at Pimlico on April 19, making him the most well-rested colt in the race. The 30-1 shot is trained and ridden by Hall of Famers Bill Mott and Mike Smith, respectively.

Ride On Curlin and General a Rod are the only other horses besides California Chrome that will run in all three legs of the Triple Crown. General a Rod, 20-1, was 11th at Churchill Downs and fourth at Pimlico.

Commanding Curve, the Derby runner-up, is 15-1 in his first start since then while Samraat, the lone New York bred in the field, is 20-1.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/05/2014 12:18 PM

Chrome made 3/5 favorite for Belmont

June 4, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - California Chrome became the 3-5 early favorite on Wednesday to win the Belmont Stakes and become horse racing's 12th Triple Crown champion.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will break from the No. 2 post under Victor Espinoza on Saturday at Belmont Park. Eleven Belmont winners have come out of that post, the last being Tabasco Cat in 1994.

California Chrome will be listed No. 2 in the betting program, the same number as 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who won the Belmont by a record 31 lengths while setting a track record for the 1 1/2-mile race that still stands.

Wicked Strong was the 6-1 second choice and drew post No. 9. The colt finished fourth after an unlucky trip in the Derby, sat out the Preakness and comes into the Belmont off a five-week rest.

Tonalist was made the third betting choice at 8-1 odds and will break from the No. 11 post. The colt has experienced on the track, having won the Peter Pan Stakes, although he is new to the Triple Crown trail.

Ride On Curlin, the 12-1 fourth choice, and 20-1 shot General a Rod are the only other horses besides California Chrome who will have run in all three legs of the Triple Crown.

Eleven horses were entered to take on California Chrome in his bid to win the Triple Crown for the first time since Affirmed swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1978.

Commanding Curve, second in the Derby, was listed at 15-1. Four horses were at 20-1: Commissioner, General a Rod, Medal Count (eighth in the Derby) and Samraat (fifth in the Derby).

Matterhorn and Matuszak, both new to the Triple Crown series, were listed at 30-1.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/06/2014 01:55 PM

Belmont Stakes Breakdown

June 6, 2014

The final leg of the "Triple Crown" takes place this Saturday as California Chrome will look to capture the 2014 Belmont Stakes and become the 12th horse to capture the Triple Crown. Anthony Stabile breaks down all 11 runners for the Belmont.

2014 Belmont Stakes Breakdown

PP Horse ML Odds Jockey (Belmont Record) Owner (Belmont Record)

1 Medal Count 20/1 Robby Albarado (0-4) Dale Romans (0-4)

Romans waited until late last week to announce that this colt was running but I think a lot of people, including myself, think he was just looking for attention and to make a splash and figured this horse would be a part of the field. He’s just one for four on conventional dirt and that win came in an off the turf maiden race in his debut at Ellis Park. He’s much better on turf and synthetics and though he has some bright spots in his pedigree for this distance I think he’s a cut below these, maybe more.

2 California Chrome 3/5 Victor Espinoza (0-3) Art Sherman (Debut)

12 is the magic number that surrounds this colt when it comes to his date with destiny this Saturday. Will we have 12 Triple Crown winners when the sun sets Saturday night? Will he be number 12 to fail in their attempt to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978? Will the 12 furlongs be his undoing? As it has been for the past 36 years, that final question is the most important one. So many of the 11 had the lead at the quarter pole, the point where the Kentucky Derby ends. But that last quarter of a mile…….1,320 of the most important feet of his life. It’s there where the men are separated from the boys. Everything, and I mean everything, has gone perfectly for the past two months for this guy. Nothing and no horse have been able to stop him. But the worm may have turned a bit at the draw. He gets stuck in post 2 and Social Inclusion opts to run on the undercard and not in here. There really isn’t any clear cut speed in here and I wouldn’t be surprised if he found himself on the lead. Maybe for once, he’ll be forced to do some heavy lifting, especially in the early going. I think there is a horse that can stop him in here but ultimately I think it will be the added distance. The Triple Crown will go unclaimed for another year. As for wagering purposes, I’ll be using him on the bottom end of my gimmicks but not on top.

3 Matterhorn 30/1 Joe Bravo (0 for 2) Todd Pletcher (2-16)

He was recently sold to the connections of third place Kentucky Derby finisher Danza so it’s almost like he’s pinch hitting. They even put Bravo on him, Danza’s jockey. He’s eligible for an entry level allowance contest but it’s the Belmont Stakes. You might as well be ambitious and hope he wants that added distance. If he doesn’t, that allowance race will be waiting for him at the end of the month. Pletcher won this in 2007 with the fantastic filly Rags to Riches and last year with Palace Malice. He’s looking to become the first trainer to win consecutive Belmonts since his old boss D. Wayne Lukas did it three years in a row from 1994 to 1996. With all of that said, I don’t like him for a penny.

4 Commanding Curve 15/1 Shaun Bridgmohan (Debut) Dallas Stewart (0-3)

He’s one of the more popular answers to “If you don’t like California Chrome then who do you like?” A hard charging second in the Derby he has trained brilliantly the past five weeks. He’s fresh and it certainly it appears like he’s going to love the distance. But here is the problem with horses like him, deep closers: they don’t win the Belmont Stakes!! I know common sense dictates that if they come running at the end of a 1 ¼ mile race they’ll surely appreciate the extra quarter of a mile but there is very little place for common sense when it comes to horse racing. Can he get a piece of the pie? Absolutely. Can he win? Well, he would need the race to completely fall into his lap. I’ll use him on the bottom of my gimmicks but not on top.

5 Ride On Curlin 12/1 John Velazquez (2-17) Billy Gowan (Debut)

After a magical mystery tour courtesy of Calvin Borel in the Derby, things went a bit better in the Preakness, though Borel gave him the business early on aboard Ria Antonia, the main reason this guy was so far back. Despite the early annoyances, this colt came running on late and appeared to be a real threat to California Chrome turning for home. He, of course, never got to him but he should did put a bit of a scare into all of the Chromie Homie’s. His sire just missed in this in 2007 when he was beat by Rags to Riches, who was ridden by his new pilot Johnny V. Velazquez came back to win this again aboard Union Rags in 2012 and knows Belmont better than anyone. A lot of people say this is a riders’ race. If that’s the case, he may very well be in the best hands. I don’t think he’ll win but I would not be surprised if he did. Using him in all of my gimmicks.

6 Matuszak 30/1 Mike Smith (2 for 15) Bill Mott (1-5)

The team the brought you 2010 upset Belmont winner Drosselmeyer at 13-1 bring you an even bigger longshot here. Smith came back to win aboard Palace Malice last year and is looking to become the first jockey to win consecutive runnings of this since Laffit Pincay, Jr. did it three years in a row from 1982-1984. I’m the biggest Mott fan around and even I’m having trouble finding something good to say. He’s a plodder and I guess they’re hoping to grab a piece of it but I think it’s a stretch.

7 Samraat 20/1 Jose Ortiz (Debut) Rick Violette, Jr. (0-2)

Perhaps the New York-bred will stand up and defend his turf from the invading Californian looking for immortality. Hell, if things can go all Hollywood for the West Coast folks why not for the hometown hero? I know one thing, if this thing turns into a street fight on the far turn, this guy will be tough to get rid of. His biggest issue is getting to that point. I feel like he was one of a few in Louisville that didn’t have any trouble, he just didn’t fire in the lane. With the lack of speed in here, I’m also wondering if they revert to his old running style and put him in front. Too many question marks for me to endorse but I wouldn’t mind him getting some revenge for fellow New Yorker, Funny Cide.

8 Commissioner 20/1 Javier Castellano (0-7) Todd Pletcher (2-16)

As it is every year, the biggest question these horses all have to answer is whether they’ll handle the distance of “The Test of the Champion” or not. One thing is for sure….if this race was based on pedigree, it would be all over and they’d declare this guy the champ now. He’s by A.P. Indy, who was by Seattle Slew and out of a Touch Gold mare. All three of those horses won the Belmont!!! All three!!! You get Castellano and Pletcher, you’re defending Eclipse champs in the jockey and trainer and trainer categories, at a price that will likely be in the 20-1 range on a horse that Pletcher has given every opportunity to show he belongs. The talent is there, he just needs that proverbial late bulb to go off. I’m not willing to bet that it’ll happen Saturday but I will use him in my gimmicks and will tell you that if you’re one of these people that just like to play the longer shots, this is your guy.

9 Wicked Strong 6/1 Rajiv Maragh (0-3) Jimmy Jerkens (0-2)

In 2000, Commendable became the first horse EVER to win the Belmont having last raced in the Kentucky Derby. Since then, it’s happened six more times. This year, Medal Count, Commanding Curve, Samraat and this colt will try to bump that number up. And when you look closely, Wicked Strong may have the best chance of them all. After a huge win in the Wood Memorial, he stumbled at the start, found some traffic trouble early and was stuck behind a wall of horses late from post 20 in the Derby last out, yet still kept coming to finish fourth. It’s funny to me that no one has even mentioned that fact that he probably bounced a bit in the Derby, which would set him up perfectly for a career best effort she he take that step forward. He’s had five weeks to get ready for this from the comforts of his own stall over a track he loves for a trainer who comes from one of the greatest racing families the game has ever seen. When a guy named Jerkens leads a horse over to the paddock, especially going a distance of ground, you can be sure they’ll be fit. I think he’ll be right there at the finish. Using him in all of my wagers.

10 General a Rod 20/1 Rosie Napravnik (0-2) Mike Maker (0-1)

Another who was a little late coming to the party, I’m wondering if his connections sensed that there would be a lack of clear cut speed in here if Social Inclusion defected, like he did, and if that was something they could take advantage of. Look, plain and simply the lead is his if he wants it. California Chrome’s people would LOVE a target, I don’t think Samraat’s folks really want to put him on the engine and I don’t see any other true speed type in here. He didn’t have the cleanest trip in the Derby and was stopped cold in the Preakness behind the fast fading filly Ria Antonia and came running late to be fourth. He’d have been much closer with a better trip. Again, my biggest issue with him is the distance. I don’t think he can get it and think the only shot he has a chance at getting any kind of piece is by stealing it on the front end. I’m passing but he may wind up being the most important piece of the Belmont puzzle this year.

11 Tonalist 8/1 Joel Rosario (0-3) Christophe Clement (0-1)

His biggest claim to fame is his Peter Pan win over a suspect bunch over a sloppy track he’s bred to love. He dragged Rosario to the lead that day and pretty much improved at every point of call. He has just a maiden win from three other starts but was second to Constitution in the Gulfstream “allowance race to end all allowance races” back on the Fountain of Youth undercard. His PPs aren’t super-imposing by any means. But these eyes know the real deal when they see it and he’s the real deal. His rider seemed to think so considering he gave Clement a two race call for the Peter Pan AND Belmont having not been on his back in almost six months. Speaking of Clement, sure he’s better known as a trainer of turf horses but the one thing you surely need when training a turf is to build stamina. He’s a fantastic trainer, period, and he’s brimming with confidence. I love his outside draw because he can see how it all plays out inside of him and make a decision from there. I truly think he’s the one that stops history from happening. My pick to win the Belmont Stakes.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/06/2014 01:57 PM

Family tradition: Jerkens aims for upset

June 6, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Serious handicappers will pour over the pedigrees of the Belmont Stakes contenders, looking for horses whose lineage suggests the stamina and the class needed to beat California Chrome and deny racing its 12th Triple Crown winner on Saturday.

The process could be simplified by checking the bloodlines of the trainers. No one has been better groomed to knock off a champion than Jimmy Jerkens, who sends out Wicked Strong.

The 55-year-old Jimmy Jerkens is the son of Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens, nicknamed the ''Giant Killer'' for his training upsets.

The elder Jerkens beat the mighty Secretariat twice in 1973, in the Whitney Handicap with Onion and in the Woodward Handicap with Prove Out. He also pinned loses on champions Buckpasser, Kelso and Skip Away.

Now the son gets a chance to carry on the family tradition with Wicked Strong, 6-1 on the morning line.

It won't be easy. California Chrome, the 3-5 favorite, enters the 1 1/2-mile Belmont on a six-race winning streak. The flashy chestnut colt with four white feet and a prominent blaze became famous with his victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

All he needs is the Belmont to complete the Triple Crown, and secure his place in history. Weather permitting, a crowd of around 100,000 is expected to cheer him on.

''It will take a combination of things to beat him, that's for sure,'' Jimmy Jerkens said. ''Everybody else will have to run the race of their life and California Chrome will have to throw in a clunker.''

Following in his father's low-key tradition, Jerkens has prepped Wicked Strong with a minimum of fanfare. His horses exercise at Belmont's training track, apart from the main strip where most of the Belmont runners have been working and galloping for the race.

Although removed from center stage, Wicked Strong caught the clocker's attention last weekend with a crisp five-furlong workout in 59.10 seconds.

Wicked Strong spied Palace Malice up ahead and took off after him. Jerkens gave exercise rider Kelvin Pahal a hand signal to slow down, preventing an even quicker drill.

''Most of the time you like them to run horses down but I think it might have been too much, trying to catch Palace Malice,'' Jerkens said.

You can't blame the colt for trying to keep pace with last year's Belmont Stakes winner.

Wicked Strong, named as a tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing victims, showed promise late last year, missing by only a half-length in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct.

He ran poorly in two races over the winter in Florida, a mystery Jerkens still can't unravel.

Wicked Strong came north to deliver his defining moment in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, rallying from well off the pace for a 3 1/2-length victory.

The Kentucky Derby was a nightmare. While California Chrome had an ideal trip, Wicked Strong stumbled at the start. He quickly regrouped, only to wind up in a traffic jam. He finally shook loose to finish fourth, a respectable effort considering the difficulties.

Jerkens opted to skip the Preakness and regroup for the Belmont at the colt's home track.

''I guess we always had it in the back of our minds that the Belmont would be one where he would have the best shot of all the Triple Crown races,'' Jerkens said.

For the first time in six decades, Allen Jerkens, 85, is not stabled at Belmont. ''The Chief'' as he is affectionately known on the backstretch opted to remain in Florida year-round with his horses. Jimmy worked as his father's assistant for 20 years before heading out on his own in 1997.

The younger Jerkens learned many valuable lessons in that apprenticeship, including the wisdom that produced so many of his father's memorable upsets.

''You can't concede races to horses,'' Jerkens said. ''You have to take a shot.''

A Belmont victory would be the first in the Triple Crown for either Jerkens.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/06/2014 01:59 PM

At retooled Belmont, stars align for TC

June 6, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Martin Panza celebrated California Chrome's charge to Preakness Stakes victory three weeks ago like most fans at the packed Pimlico Race Course - bumping fists, slapping hands and thinking ahead to Saturday and the possibility of the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

And then Belmont Park's director of racing operations thought about everything else: the tens of thousands of additional people who show up for the Belmont Stakes whenever a horse has a chance at history; the millions more in expected wagers; and the need for more of everything, from seating, concessions to bathrooms, security and about 1,000 additional workers.

Local officials and business leaders celebrated too, seeing the race and the added interest of a Triple Crown contender as a boon of sold-out hotel rooms, dinners out and free publicity, so long as the writers and broadcasters were aware the track is actually on Long Island, as NBC's Bob Costas noted Wednesday, and not in New York City.

If California Chrome triumphs, it will happen on Panza's turf - or rather, his dirt - at an marquee New York-area event that the track's new management team reimagined earlier this year as a fusion of sports and entertainment worth attending even when the Triple Crown is not on the line.

They have filled the undercard with high-stakes races, increased the day's total purse to $8 million - the second-richest day in American horse racing behind the final slate of the Breeder's Cup - and surrounded the action with music from rapper and actor LL Cool J, former New York Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams and Frank Sinatra Jr. singing ''New York, New York.''

''For the first year of us doing this, under this new format, it's not going to get any better than this,'' Panza said in an interview near his track office, which was filled with boxes of Belmont Stakes caps and bags of other race souvenirs.

''From our end, what we need to do now is observe how the day goes and see what we can do for next year, always thinking that there could be another Triple Crown on the line.''

California Chrome is the 12th horse to reach Long Island with wins in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, since Affirmed won all three in 1978.

Attendance for those 11 races averaged nearly 30,000 more than in years without a contender - going from a low of 37,171 in 1995 when Thunder Gulch and Timber Country split the Derby and the Preakness, to a record 120,139 in 2004 when Birdstone upset Smarty Jones in the last of a three-year stretch of Triple Crown contenders in the Belmont Stakes.

On-site wagering on the race-day program also surged in those years, according to track records, jumping from $6.8 million in contender-less 1996 to $9.2 million the following year when Silver Charm took the first two races, and from $8.8 million in contender-less 2007 to $13.3 million when Big Brown raced for history in 2008.

I'll Have Another's wins in Louisville and Baltimore sent attendance for the 2012 Belmont Stakes to nearly 86,000 and on-site wagering to $13.8 million even though the horse was withdrawn the day before the race due to a leg injury.

The head of the track's management team said ticket sales for this year's Belmont Stakes, with its emphasis on high-level racing and daylong entertainment, were already brisk before California Chrome broke from the gate at Churchill Downs in May.

More than 70 percent of tickets and premium tables for the race were sold before the Derby and all were gone before the Preakness, according to New York Racing Association president and chief executive officer Christopher Kay.

After the Preakness, Kay said, they added a trackside tent and additional seating to accommodate the surge of interest in a potential California Chrome coronation.

General admission and grandstand tickets costing $10 remained available through the track late in the week and more than 3,000 tickets, ranging from $12 for grandstand to $2,300 for a table for two at the Garden Terrace Restaurant, were available on the secondary ticket sales website

Good weather - 82 degrees and sunny, according to the National Weather Service - could push the crowd into record territory.

''Our intent is to make Belmont Stakes day an important day year in and year out,'' Kay said.

This year it has been an important day - and week - for business.

The largest hotel on Long Island, a Marriott with more than 600 rooms in Uniondale, and the ornate Garden City Hotel - where management said all of the owners, trainers and jockeys in the Belmont Stakes were staying and where the menu includes a cocktail named for each horse - have sold out under race-related demand.

Other hotels were also booked solid, officials said, forcing some out-of-town fans to find lodging in Suffolk County, about 20 miles east, or stay in Manhattan, about 15 miles west.

''This Triple Crown opportunity doesn't come too often,'' state hotel association chairman John Tsunis said. ''But, whoever wins in the race, the real winners will be Long Island and New York State.''

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/07/2014 09:27 AM

At the Gate - Belmont Stakes

June 6, 2014

The Triple Crown trail ends this afternoon, and we will be witnessing the first horse to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes since 1978 or we will be disappointed for the 13th time since the year I last wore a leisure suit.

I cannot help but to keep looking at the list of good horse that came up short in the Belmont Stakes. I’ll Have Another did not even make it to the race, out on the eve of the Belmont with a tendon injury in 2012.

The last two to come up short on the racetrack were Big Brown in 2008, who was eased at betting odds of 1-5, and Smarty Jones in 2004, who also was 1-5 but put in a valiant effort, run down in deep stretch by Birdstone.

It looks as if California Chrome is going be somewhere between 2-5 and 3-5 in the betting, and in an 11-horse field of runners that all have never been tested at 1 ½ miles, that price is going to be tough to take.

While the odds closer to post time will likely determine how much I wager on the race, there is no doubt I will be firing away earlier on the card on what is just a stellar day of racing. There are 10 stakes on the 13-race card with six Grade 1 races.

The Jaipur (G3) drew Ben’s Cat from Maryland. The eight-year-old has earned nearly $2 million in his career, mostly sprinting on the grass for trainer King T. Leatherbury. The gelding has won 25 of his 39 career starts.

Social Inclusion is the headliner in the Woody Stephens (G2), but at the morning line odds of 7-5 may be worth taking a stand against. The field is strong and includes the Todd Pletcher trained Havana, who was the runner up in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

My Miss Sophia is a very talented filly, but she is 6-5 in the Acorn (G1) which drew a solid field of 13. Fashion Plate, Fiftyshadesofgold and Sweet Reason sure look like they could win with their best.

The Ogden Phipps (G1) drew just six but when you line up Beholder, Close Hatches and Princess of Sylmar, you are going to have a horse race. Combined they have won a dozen Grade 1 races. It will be 13 after this race.

The Just a Game (G1) drew 10 fillies and mares led by Discreet Marq, who was a game second in the Jenny Wiley (G1) last out in her 2014 debut. She landed in the exacta in seven of her eight starts last year.

I am not sure how we are going to beat Palace Malice in the Met Mile (G1), but there are a dozen that will line up to try and beat the 8-5 morning line favorite.

In the race before the Belmont, a field of 10 will go 1 ¼ miles on the Manhattan (G1). The older turf division is not very deep right now, but the race has a wide-open field led by the Bill Mott trained Seek Again, who was beaten just a head last out in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1), beaten by two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan.

Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:

BEL Race 1 Alw $96,000N1X (11:35 ET)
9 Jimmy Connors 4-1
3 Spartiatis 10-1
7 Forever Thing 7-2
2 Bernardo 3-1

Analysis: Jimmy Connors put in a good effort at this level last out in a runner up finish behind Misconnect, who I like in today's Easy Goer. He picks up blinkers here and Espinoza and the stretch out to a route should suit. He is by Yes It's true out of a Bertrando mare. There is not a ton of speed signed up to go here and Victor may be able to shake loose in the early going.

Spartiatis was not a threat last out after a wide trip in a seventh place finish on turf and is back on the main track here. The gelding broke his maiden on the inner track three back and then ran a decent third on turf two back in his first start against winners, running into repeat winner Front, who beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his next start on May 22. Stevens takes the call for the low profile Blusiewicz barn. He should be in the mix here at a decent price.

Forever Thing makes his first start since winning second in the Long Branch last July. The colt broke his maiden over the main track here and the Pletcher barn is 26% winners with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff.

WIN: #9 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,9 / 2,3,7,9
TRI: 3,9 / 2,3,7,9 / 2,3,7,8,9

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:

BEL Race 9 The Metropolitan Hcp G1 (4:48 ET)
1 Palace Malice 8-5
13 Shakin It Up 6-1
9 Normandy Invasion 5-1
6 Central Banker 8-1

Analysis: Palace Malice draws the rail which could potentially get this guy in trouble, but he is coming off a pair of solid wins, taking the New Orleans 'Cap (G2) and the Westchester (G3) last out over the main track here at today's one mile distance He only had to beat three foes but he did it early, winning by nearly 10 lengths and nearly matching his career best speed fig which he earned two back. Last year's Belmont Stakes (G1) winner owns a solid pace profile throughout and his last work had the clockers buzzing. We will just have to settle for the short price.

Shakin It Up made a good ate rally, coming with a four wide bid and battling on gamely while floating outward with the jock unable to go to his left hand. Five from that race including the winner Central Banker are in here while Delaunay, who was fifth, came back to win the Aristides ((G3) on May 31 at Churchill Downs. The colt has earned triple digit Beyers in three of his last four starts and is coming off a career top. He won the Malibu (G1) at seven furlongs and can handle the extra furlong. Rosie takes the call and he makes his second start off a two month break and should be a fair price in this spot.

Normandy Invasion was actually favored over Palace Malice the New Orleans 'Cap but was no match for our top pick. The colt has had some foot issues and makes just his third start since running fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) last year. The one-turn mile suits but he tends to take a bit too much action at the betting windows. The Brown barn is 29% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 45-90 day break and should get a good trip sitting mid pack.

WIN: #1 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 1,13 / 1,6,9,13
TRI: 1,13 / 1,6,9,13 / 1,6,9,13 / 1,4,6,9,13

Live Longshots:
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

Belmont Park
R1: #3 Spartiatis 10-1
R4: #4 Upgrade 10-1
R4: #9 Positive Side 8-1
R5: #10 Kobe’s Back 15-1
R6: #5 Sweet Reason 10-1
R6: #1 Fashion Plate 12-1
R7: #2 Antipathy 30-1
R8: #2 Strathnaver 20-1
R9: #6 Central Banker 8-1
R11: #8 Commissioner 20-1
R11: #11 Tonalist 8-1
R12: #4 North Star Bay 10-1
R13: #6 Confrontation 8-1

Good luck today!

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/07/2014 09:57 AM

The Belmont Stakes: Horse-by-horse preview and picks

As California Chrome looks to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed completed the hat trick in 1978, the pressure now falls squarely on the diminutive shoulders of jockey Victor Espinoza.

With a nation rooting for an underdog turned superhero, California Chrome has gone from a colt who won the Kentucky Derby because, as pundits feel, the field was weak, to larger than life status with his impressive run in the Preakness. Espinoza now bares the burden of not messing things up.

Eleven horses have won the Triple Crown. Can the West Coast sensation make it a dozen? Here's a look at the 11-horse field for the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday:

1. Medal Count (jockey: Robby Albarado, odds: 20-1): Had traffic problems finishing in eighth place in the Kentucky Derby and becomes an intriguing choice here. He's also worked very well since that race and enters Saturday's 1 1/2 mile event as fresh as can be.

2. California Chrome (Victor Espinoza, 3-5): Is the 13th horse since Affirmed won to have a shot at the Triple Crown after winning the first two legs. (I'll Have Another won the first two legs but did not run in the Belmont). Has great tactical speed and deserves to be the odds-on choice. The post also won't be a problem because the inside horses are late runners.

3. Matterhorn (Joe Bravo, 30-1): Todd Pletcher-trainee has one win in four lifetime starts and certainly seems to be up against it here. Well-bred and was a decent fourth in the Peter Pan on this surface.

4. Commanding Curve (Shaun Bridgmohan, 15-1): Avoided the trouble that hampered so many contenders to finish second in the Kentucky Derby at odds of 37-1. Has just one lifetime win and a middle-of-the-pack Beyer rating. Finished just 1 3/4 lengths behind Chrome in the Derby but the winner took his foot off the gas late.

5. Ride On Curlin (John Velazquez, 12-1): His connections say the distance will suit him fine but how many horses are truly bred for the Test of Champions? You have to like his effort but he's certainly not fresh.

6. Matuszak (Mike Smith, 30-1): Beyer speed figures are just awful for this one who's won just once. Closed for second in the Tesio Stakes but was not gaining on the winner. Pass.

7. Samraat (Jose Ortiz, 20-1): Freshened since a fifth in the Kentucky Derby, this gritty colt loves New York but the distance really figures to be a major obstacle. Should be near the front but don't think he'll last.

8. Commissioner (Javier Castellano, 20-1): Another Pletcher runner who certainly has the bloodlines (A.P. Indy and Touch Gold) to win this one. He was soundly beaten in the Fountain of Youth and the Arkansas Derby but I'd put a couple of shekels on him if his odds climb.

9. Wicked Strong (Rajiv Maragh, 6-1): Chrome's biggest contender had a miserable trip in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness with an eye on the Belmont. Posted a monstrous win in the Wood Memorial in New York and is a major player.

10. General a Rod (Rosie Napravnik, 20-1): Has had legitimate excuses in the first two legs of the Triple Crown but that doesn't make him any fresher. He certainly fits with these horses but don't think he'll be able to get the distance.

11. Tonalist (Joel Rosario, 8-1): Figures to be too heavily bet for a horse which has not faced this type of competition. He has speed and a nice win over this surface. How long can he last?

Picks: California Chrome, Commissioner, Wicked Strong, Medal Count

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/07/2014 09:59 AM

Three live long-shot bets for the 2014 Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes produces big long-shot winners often enough to make bettors drool. Four of the last six winners have paid at least 13/1 and the win price for four of the last 12 winners has been more than $50 on a two dollar bet - much more in the case of 70/1 Sarava in 2002.

Over that same time period, Afleet Alex in 2005 is the only favorite to have won the race, well below expectations. It has been such a long-shot friendly race, that while you would have spent $254 to bet every single horse in the last 12 years to win, you would have returned $473.20 - a healthy 86 percent ROI.

Given all that, it only makes sense to look beyond California Chrome and the rest of the top contenders and consider three long shots who could come through at a big price. Or at least fatten up the exotics a bit:

Matuszak (+5,000)

Bettors will never forget the 1999 Belmont because of the injury that cost Charismatic what was a very good shot at a Triple Crown. He faded in the stretch despite trying to run on a broken leg and two long shots beat him: Lemon Drop Kid and Vision and Verse. The latter was a 55/1 no-hoper who ran the race of his life on that day.

Why is that relevant? Vision and verse was trained by the great Bill Mott, who brings this apparent no-hoper to the field this year. He hasn’t won since breaking his maiden last fall and doesn’t seem to be fast enough to be a factor here. His breeding is excellent for this race, though, and he has trained very well since his last outing.

Could he be a horse finding himself just in time? Stranger things have certainly happened at the Belmont and Matuszak would certainly create some pretty nice payoffs if he did factor in the exotics.

Commissioner (+3,500)

There are some horses you just don’t like. They rub you the wrong way. This is one of those horses. He has run against several horses that have been in Triple Crown races this year and just hasn’t been good enough.

He’s a Todd Pletcher horse and that isn’t exactly a major strength this time of year. Though, Pletcher is much better in the Belmont than elsewhere. You really want to just toss this horse out, but two things stop you from doing it.

First, his breeding is ridiculously suited to this race. His sire, A.P. Indy, was the 1992 Belmont winner and is the son of 1977 winner Seattle Slew and grandson of 1973 winner Secretariat. Commissioner’s damsire is Touch Gold, who won the Belmont in 1997. You can’t pack more winners of one race into three generations of a pedigree, so we know the distance isn’t going to be an issue.

Second, he is ridden by Javier Castellano. Castellano is en route to running away with the national jockey title for a second straight year and he wins races in New York at an almost impossible clip. On this track, Castellano will get the best possible ride out of Commissioner.

General A Rod (+2,000)

The handling of this horse since the Kentucky Derby has been downright bizarre. He wasn’t considered for the Preakness until late, but then the connections had a change of mind and entered him.

Now, for two weeks he wasn’t considered for the Belmont, then suddenly he was being pointed here and a jockey - Rosie Napravnik - had been named. You shouldn’t like a trainer to make one knee-jerk reaction with a horse, never mind two in three weeks.

He didn’t run as poorly as his fourth-place finish would suggest in the Preakness, though. He faced enough adversity that many other horses would have quit, but he fought back and was gaining ground at the end. Another stride or two and he would have been third.

You should like the presence of Dynaformer in his pedigree and could see him being part of the superfecta at a decent price like he was at the Preakness.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/07/2014 10:00 AM

DDLohaus handicaps the Belmont Stakes......

Today I am torn….not sure if I want to bet with my head or my heart…I think it would be great for racing to have a Triple Crown winner. I am not convinced that this bunch of three year olds (as a group) is very good and I do think that California Chrome is the best of the bunch (at traditional distances) but as we all know the Belmont is a much different test…

I believe California Chrome is better than these but he has raced (and won) the previous two legs and that is sure to have taken its toll. Kentucky Derby selection Samraat ran well to the top of the stretch but faded; maybe he will get a bit of a better pace scenario and outlast them all. Wicked Strong should like it long and was a strong finisher in the Derby despite some traffic troubles; better trip may take this.

I think I have the perfect bet…

My Selections:

California Chrome
Wicked Strong

The Bets:
$50W California Chrome
$5Exacta Wheel All/California Chrome
$2TriBx California Chrome/Wicked Strong/Samraat

Good Luck

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:30432 Followers:38
06/07/2014 03:14 PM


12:06:34 PM

[Ticket #: 174865749] Racing ticket #14216831

06/07/2014 @ 12:06 PM RAC Jun-07 BEL R11 4.00 USD WPS 3,5,6
36.00 0.00

12:08:11 PM

[Ticket #: 174866013] Racing ticket #14216904

06/07/2014 @ 12:08 PM RAC Jun-07 BEL R11 1.00 USD EXA 2,6/2,3,5,6,7,8,9
12.00 0.00

12:08:57 PM

[Ticket #: 174866131] Racing ticket #14216940

06/07/2014 @ 12:08 PM RAC Jun-07 BEL R11 2.00 USD TRI 2,6/2,3,5,6,8,9/2,3,5,6,8,9
80.00 0.00

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: