Belmont Stakes Predictions
The 144th running of the Belmont Stakes is the most anticipated running of the race in several years as I’ll Have Another tries to become just the 12th winner of the Triple Crown and first since Affirmed in 1978.
I had a nice day in the Preakness Stakes, cashing in a Trifecta Box with Bodemeister, Creative Cause and I’ll Have Another. Hopefully, the Belmont Stakes will treat us at least as good.
Below, I have listed my top three Belmont horses in their predicted finishing order.
Win: Dullahan (9/2) - Dullahan has an excellent opportunity to rain on I’ll Have Another’s parade. He is certainly the better value play given I’ll Have Another’s short odds. Dullahan should be fresher than I’ll Have Another after sitting out the Preakness Stakes. Plus, his stalking style sets up very well for the longest of the Triple Crown races. He finished second in the Palm Beach Stakes and won the Blue Grass Stakes before closing hard to finish third in the Kentucky Derby. One also has to like the experience of Dullahan has in his corner with trainer Dale L. Romans, who has over 1,000 career victories, including a win with Shackleford in last year’s Preakness.
Place: I’ll Have Another (2/3) - I don’t expect I’ll Have Another to go down without a fight. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see he and Dullahan go right down to the wire as they both have strong finishing kicks. I’ll Have Another could certainly win the Belmont and the Triple Crown along with it. He has won four consecutive races after all. However, there is also several things putting the odds against him. For starters, New York racing stewards won’t allow the colt to wear the nasal strip he wore in winning the first two legs of horse racing’s crown jewel. Also, the horse’s preparation was altered when regular exercise rider, Jonny Garcia, missed more than a week of working with the horse when visa issues delayed his arrival to New York. And, besides these little hiccups, there is a whole slew of history working against the colt. We have seen 11 horses come up short in their bid for horse racing’s holy grail since Affirmed last swept the board. Four of those horses took second place and four more finished in third.
Show: Union Rags (5/1)- I really like this horse, which underachieved in the Kentucky Derby by running a disappointing seventh. After sitting out the Preakness, I expect him to get a little redemption this Saturday. Union Rags has finished third or better in six of seven career races with four wins. With the blood of Seattle Slew and Secretariat pulsing through his veins, he certainly has the pedigree. I also like the fact John Velazquez will be getting the mount instead of Julien Leparoux, who has struggled in his last two rides on the colt. Velazquez rode Animal Kingdom to a Kentucky Derby win last year. He also has a Belmont Stakes victory under his belt with Rags to Riches in 2007.