Kopitiam Bot

News · Lifestyle · Tech

Belmont Stakes 2018: The Field, Morning-Line Odds And Post Positions

(Source: www.forbes.com)

This year’s Belmont Stakes doesn’t seem to have given rise to the same frenzy that we saw three years ago, when American Pharoah came to Belmont hoping to become the 12th Triple Crown winner in U.S. racing history. Perhaps, having seen a Triple Crown winner in their lifetime, the general public isn’t quite as keen about seeing another; this happened in the 70s, when Secretariat won in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977, and Affirmed in 1978, followed by another attempt by Spectacular Bid in 1979.

It’s likely that the very rarity of the event is what gives it its cachet, so it would make sense that the second realistic possibility of a Triple Crown winner within four years has wrought a more subdued reaction. It’s also true that Triple Crown winners have come in waves: three in the 1930s, four in the 1940s, three in the 1970s. Will we see another such wave begin this weekend?

Unbeaten in his five lifetime starts, Justify will be the deserving favorite. He has the talent and the stamina to win mile-and-a-half Belmont—the longest he and his rivals have ever run—and a jockey who knows Belmont’s unusual configuration (it’s the only mile and a half track in the United States) as well as he knows his own backyard. But he’ll be running his third race in five weeks, something only Bravazo has also done, and his sixth since mid-February, something no one else in this field has done. Is he ripe for defeat? Or ready to cruise into history?

Looking for betting advice? Here you go.

Belmont Stakes 2018 field, post positions, and morning line odds

1) Justify

Owner: China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Starlight Racing, WinStar Farm Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Mike Smith

Morning line odds: 4-5

Justify will arrive at Belmont Park on Wednesday afternoon, and racing fans will no doubt track his flight across the country, as media awaits his first step onto New York soil. His every movement between now and Saturday will be scrutinized, with some observers looking for a way to beat him, and others looking for confirmation that he’ll be the next Triple Crown winner. Purchased for $500,000, he’s earned nearly $3 million on the track, a pittance compared to what his stud career would produce if he wins this weekend. This post position does him no favors and leaves him few options, as being on the rail means that unless he’s gunned from the gate to make the lead, the horses to his outside are going to dictate the flow of the race. As TwinSpires’ Ed DeRosa pointed out on Twitter:

The last winner from post 1 was Empire Maker in 2003.

The last post 1 to hit the board was Medal Count (!) in 2014

The last favorite from post 1 was Big Brown, who was last at 3-to-10 in his Triple Crown bid.

— Ed DeRosa (@EJXD2) June 5, 2018

2) Free Drop Billy

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables LLC

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Robby Albarado

Morning line odds: 30-1

He’s been rested since a 16th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, bypassing the Preakness with an eye towards this race. Despite lifetime earnings of $625,000, he hasn’t been to the winner’s circle since last October in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland; he’s got seven top-three finishes in nine starts, but only two of them have wins. His sire Union Rags won this race in 2012, and he’s got a stalking style that has often proved effective. Can he return to the form that took him to two wins and two seconds last year?

3) Bravazo

Owner: Calumet Farm

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Luis Saez

Morning line odds: 8-1

He’s tied with #10 Blended Citizen for the most races under his belt, and they both come to the race with three wins. He ran great to get up for second—and nearly the upset win—in the Preakness Stakes three weeks ago, and some observers think that the half-length he lost by would have been obliterated if the race had been a little bit longer—which the Belmont Stakes is. He’s landed in the top three six times in his ten career starts and has earned $736,000. He’s unlikely to let Justify get too far ahead of him and has a proven late kick that could be dangerous.

4) Hofburg

Owner: Juddmonte Farms Inc.

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Morning line odds: 9-2

He was a buzz horse before the Kentucky Derby, when he had just one win, and that in a maiden race, to his credit, and he’s a buzz horse now, after his seventh-place finish that looks worse than it is, given that he had a troubled trip. He skipped the Preakness and only one other horse here is as lightly raced as he is, with just four lifetime races and a six-month layoff after his first start last September. He’s a son of Tapit, who has sired three of the last four winners of the Belmont Stakes, and his damsire, Touch Gold, won this race in 1997. Expect him to be a factor.

Teresa Genaro

5) Restoring Hope

Owner: Gary and Mary West

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Morning line odds: 30-1

The Tapit bloodlines are in action here, too, as the U.S. leading stallion is this horse’s damsire, but so far, they haven’t done much good, as Restoring Hope has won just once in five starts, breaking his maiden in February at Santa Anita. He’s finished in the top three four times, finishing third twice, and he’s coming off a 12th-place run by 24 lengths in the sloppy Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard. He can run near the pace or off it, which may be useful here—he’s going to be a longshot, but imagine the outcry if this fellow Baffert trainee denies his stablemate a Triple Crown.

6) Gronkowski

Owner: Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: José Ortiz

Morning line odds: 12-1

He caused quite a sensation earlier this year when his connections announced that he’d run the Kentucky Derby following a win in a qualifying race in March. Before long, the human Gronkowski announced that he’d purchased a share in the horse and would be in attendance at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, but alas, illness prevented him from shipping race.  Shortly thereafter, his owners transferred him from the barn of England-based Jeremy Noseda to Chad Brown, winner of the 2017 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer. He sold for $400,000 as a yearling in England and earned almost $136,00 on the track in six races, all in England, all on turf or synthetic surfaces, none on dirt, none longer than a mile. He brings a record of four wins and a second to Belmont, and he’s sure to inspire a good deal of excitement on Saturday…likely before the race, not after it.

7) Tenfold

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Morning line odds: 12-1

A very good third in the Preakness, less than a length behind winner Justify, convinced his connections that coming back three weeks later, at a distance longer than the Preakness, puts this son of Curlin (second by a neck in the 2007 Belmont) in good position for an upset. The ubiquitous Tapit is here, too, as the sire of Tenfold’s dam Temptress; there’s distance affinity both top and bottom in this pedigree. Still, he’s yet to win beyond a first-level allowance, and supporters will have to hope that he’s a horse that bloom the older he gets.

8) Vino Rosso

Owner: Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez

Morning line odds: 8-1

Impressive winner of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial back in April was ninth in the Kentucky Derby after breaking from post 18. This more favorable post at a longer distance is likely to put him in a more advantageous position, and he’s a rested horse, having skipped the Preakness. Two-time Horse of the Year and 2007 Belmont runner-up Curlin is his sire, and he’s got stamina through Street Cry on his damside. He may well be the wise guy horse—there’s always one—especially if the track is fast.

9) Noble Indy

Owner: WinStar Farm and Repole Stable

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Morning line odds: 30-1

The second of two from Pletcher, and the second of two co-owned by New York’s own Mike Repole, who has never hidden the fact that he covets winning big races at the tracks he grew up attending. He’s got a champion jockey in the saddle and will need to revert to the form he showed when winning—barely—the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby after finishing 17th in the Kentucky Derby. He’s done his best running near the lead and from this post is in good position to get a jump on Justify.

10) Blended Citizen

Owner: Greg Hall and Sayjay Racing LLC

Trainer: Doug O’Neill

Jockey: Kyle Frey

Morning line odds: 15-1

A veteran of 10 races, he’s among the most experienced runners in the field and comes to the Belmont with a graded stakes win over this track, having taken the Grade 3 Peter Pan in May. His jockey Kyle Frey isn’t a common sight on New York tracks and he’ll be riding in his first Grade 1 race on Saturday. It’s to his credit that Belmont’s unusually wide, sweeping turns didn’t stymie him in the Peter Pan. The $85,000 two-year-old purchase has earned more than $400,000 on the track, and while his off-the-pace style doesn’t usually work in the Belmont, he’s an intriguing option.

More Info: www.forbes.com

%d bloggers like this: