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Belmont Stakes Racing

With the Belmont Stakes Racing just days away, this may be a good time to examine how the Belmont Park surface played during the day when the third jewel of the Triple Crown was run last year.

Only the dirt races will be evaluated as we will attempt to get a crystal ball look at how the surface may play this year when American Pharoah attempts to become the 12th runner to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Belmont Stakes Racing

With the Belmont Stakes Racing just days away, this may be a good time to examine how the Belmont Park surface played during the day when the third jewel of the Triple Crown was run last year.First, the track itself first opened in May of 1905. It is known as the ‘Championship Track’ because nearly every major champion in history raced at Belmont including all 11 Triple Crown winners.

The main Belmont track is nicknamed ‘Big Sandy’ and is the longest dirt track in North American at a mile and a half. From the top of the stretch to the finish line runners have to negotiate 1,097 feet.

The track is always well sported but when an event like a possible Triple Crown winner is in prospect, the people will come.

When Smarty Jones was trying to win the Belmont and complete the Triple Crown in 2004 over 120,000 people witnessed his defeat at the hands of Birdstone.

Belmont Stakes Racing

In the first race on Belmont Stakes day last year, the racehorse Jimmy Connors was stretching out from 7 furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth and he made the lead rather easily. The eventual 5-2 winner Wabbajack sat 2 and a half-lengths off the lead early before winning going away.

The second race was run at the same 8 and a half furlongs and a deep closer prevailed. Kid Cruz was dead last early at 3-1 but he got into contention at the top of the land and drew off to win by over 3 lengths.

The Brooklyn Invitational was next and it was run at the exact same distance of the Belmont Stakes so there is a good gauge there.

The third choice in the race Ground Transport made the lead but Joel Rosario aboard Norumbega had his measure all the way. That eventual winner was 5th early, was a length off the lead with a furlong to go and got up by a neck at 10-1. He was timed in 2.27.13 compared to the winning Belmont Stakes time of 2:28.52.

Sprinters were in the spotlight next in the 7-furlong Woody Stephens and Bayern got the ideal 2-hole trip and he drew off to win by 7 and a half-lengths.

Sophomore fillies went a mile in the next race, the 6th, and the winner Sweet Reason was 11th of 13 early, rallied to get within a length of the lead at the top of the lane and cashed by a half-length.

Older fillies and mares competed next in the Ogden Phipps Stakes and champion Close Hatches was in the garden spot early sitting third and won by a head when 3 horses were on the line together.

The 8th race was on grass, the 9th was the Met Mile and again the winner Palace Malice got a perfect garden trip and got up by a length.

The Manhattan on grass set up the stage for the Belmont Stakes. In the Classic last year Commissioner went to the lead at 28-1 and he almost pulled it off. He had a length and a half lead at the top of the lane but once again, the horse that sat third early, Tonalist, won a stirring stretch battle to get up by a head at 9-1.

All in all, the Belmont surface last year played fair, but runners that had tactical speed, seemed to thrive.

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Twenty Different Horses

Twenty different horses will run for a place in history at the 141 Kentucky Derby this weekend at Churchill Downs. There really isn’t anything else like The Run for the Roses in the world of horse racing and the fact that it is packed in to a super four-day stretch that includes the NFL Draft, NBA and NHL playoffs as well as Mayweather-Pacquiao has turned this in to the most loaded sports betting weekend of the year. Here is a quick look at the best bets on the board for this weekend’s Kentucky Derby.

The Favorite Twenty Different Horses

American Pharoah +275

Even the smallest margin can make a huge difference when it comes to Twenty different horses will run for a place in history at the 141 Kentucky Derby this weekend at Churchill Downs. There really isn’t anything else like The Run for the Roses in the world of betting on a race like the Kentucky Derby and when it comes to American Pharoah it’s his jockey Victor Espinoza that is expected to give him the greater edge in this race. Espinoza helped California Chrome win this race 12 months ago and he already has two Kentucky Derby victories on his resume so it’s no surprise that his horse is the favorite considering it’s already the most likely horse to win in this group regardless. American Pharoah’s excellent endurance will be among the biggest keys to its success and the ability to make snap decisions in the midst of the race is crucial and that is where Espinoza’s experience will really pay off the most. Anything can happen in The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports but American Pharoah has all of the attributes of a horse that should be favored to win.

The Contenders

Dortmund +325

Like American Pharoah, Dortmund is another Bob Baffert trained horse that has ahead a lot of success so far winning all six of his races to this point. Dortmund was also fortunate to get probably the best post-position of any horse listed among the favorites so if there is one horse that really has a strong chance at edging out American Pharoah it should be Dortmund.

Carpe Diem +900

Carpe Diem is the first of two horses on this list trained by Todd Pletcher and was listed even closer behind Dortmund before his post-position was revealed and it was learned he will start from the No. 2 spot. Starting on the inside track is never favorable and while this horse has the potential to overcome that starting spot it certainly won’t help Carpe Diem’s chances of competing with American Pharoah and Dortmund for the victory.

Materiality +1400

Anybody that is cautious about taking Carpe Diem from the No. 2 starting position will likely be just as wary when it comes to taking Materiality after it was announced that this horse will start from the No. 3 spot. The second of Pletcher’s top two horses that also happened to have a terrible post draw, Materiality will also be overlooked in many aspects but could still be among the top contenders to place.

Sleeper Pick

Far Right +3300

The best potential sleeper pick on the board is a horse that finished second to American Pharoah in the Arkansas Derby in Far Right. Another Pletcher entry, Far Right was a back-to-back winner in the Southwest Stakes and the Smarty Jones. The fact that this horse finished second to American Pharoah at the Arkansas Derby alone is reason to feel confident about its chances and at long odds it makes a lot of sense to take Far Right as a sleeper pick to at least place in this weekend’s Kentucky Derby.

Best Bet: Far Right +3300

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