Twelve horses are set to take to the track at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY on Saturday, June 9th for the 2012 Belmont Stakes. Check out our Belmont Stakes picks and which horses we think that could be well on their way to capturing the third jewel in the Triple Crown!
There have been a number of horses that have tried their best and failed in the third leg in the Triple Crown, several of which really appeared to be in a heck of a lot better shape than I'll Have Another is in right now. It is incredibly rare to see a horse like this go into the Belmont Stakes 1) with so many contenders going against it and 2) without being an odds on favorite. This is nothing like Big Brown or Smarty Jones, both of which were considered to be upset tremendously at the Belmont Stakes after winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Though the only horse that has even remotely challenged I'll Have Another in either of his last two races is Bodemeister, who isn't running here at the Belmont, there is still a definitive level of skepticism surrounding this Triple Crown contender.
The horses that are really going to be considered in the running are Union Rags and Dullahan. These are the two colts that are going to be the second and third favorites on the odds to win the Belmont Stakes, and many figure that they are going to be in the trifecta as well. We aren't quite 100% sold on Union Rags, though. The horse is a good one for sure, but he has run into a heck of a lot of traffic and trouble over the course of the last several races that he has been in. This isn't a good sign at the Belmont, though at least there is more time to make up for blunders.
That time though, is exactly what makes Dullahan an impressive looking horse. This is a colt that closed quickly to third place in the Kentucky Derby, and had the race gone another furlong or two, perhaps we would be discussing a very different horse. Dullahan won't be in trouble this time around as he was at the Kentucky Derby with so many horses in the field, and unlike I'll Have Another, who ran just three weeks ago at the Preakness Stakes, Dullahan has been off since the Derby.
Trying to find contenders aside from these horses are few and far between. We really don't think anything of some of the real longshots to win the Belmont Stakes like Guyana Star Dweej, Optimizer, Five Sixteen, Ravelo's Boy, Unstoppable U, and Atigun, and we really question why any of these horses are going to try to take the 1 ½ mile jaunt around Belmont Park.
There are three very interesting horses that we have not yet discussed, though. The likeable colt of the bunch is Street Life, a New York horse through and through. He was one of the favorites at the Peter Pan four weeks ago, and quite often, horses that run in that race and run well turn out to be contenders at the Belmont. We would rather be backing Mark Valeski, the horse that won the Peter Pan, but he ended up bowing out.
Many are on the back of Paynter right now as well. This is a horse that has only run four times in his career, but two of those runs featured Beyer Speed Ratings of 100+. There aren't many in the field, save for I'll Have Another that can boast multiple triple digit speed ratings in their careers, but we have a real question for Trainer Bob Baffert. Why run Bodemeister in the past and now run Paynter in the final leg of the Triple Crown? It is clear that this horse isn't as stellar as Bodemeister was, and if the best Baffert horse couldn't take down I'll Have Another in two tries, what makes us think that Paynter is going to be a contender?
And that leaves My Adonis, the last horse that was welcomed into the Belmont Stakes field this year. The reason that My Adonis was put into the field had nothing whatsoever to do with his past performances. This colt has run and run a lot, and he has the distance to finish this race. However, he really hasn't run all that well, and he hasn't challenged the best in the world either for the most part. Graded stakes races have been atrocious to My Adonis. However, this is a horse that is going to be able to come out and get to the rail and the lead early. There was a ton of speed in the Kentucky Derby, but none of it whatsoever here at the Belmont. Is My Adonis just a rabbit to try to draw I'll Have Another into an early speed race? Perhaps.
Without the presence of My Adonis in this field, we probably would have backed I'll Have Another to win the Triple Crown. It's hard to say that we would want anything less than to see a horse finally win the three biggest races in the sport in the same year for the first time since 1978, but this is a bad, bad spot for I'll Have Another to be in. He has to start right to the inside of My Adonis, who is going to get out of the blocks quickly. If I'll Have Another wants to get to the rail, he is going to have to flash some speed. If he does that at this distance, will he have that kick left in the tank to get the mile and a half in? That's what we're not sure about.
We think that money bet on My Adonis is money well spent this year. He has fantastic odds to win the Belmont Stakes, and he could be the horse that ruins this for everyone else. If he proves to have the distance to get the job done, My Adonis could turn up on the board.
In the end though, we think that the horse to beat at the Belmont is Dullahan. We think that he might be the most talented of all of the horses, and he is clearly going to be the best closing horse that the field has to offer. Back the closing horse to get the job done at the Belmont Stakes, and take I'll Have Another out of your exotics for what could be a great payday if he doesn't win the Triple Crown.
2012 Belmont Stakes Superfecta Pick: Dullahan – My Adonis – Street Life – Union Rags (5-12-1-3)