This Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, history could be made if a three-year-old thoroughbred chestnut colt named I’ll Have Another is able to win this year’s Belmont Stakes. It would mark the first time since 1978 and just the 12th time in the long and illustrious history of American horse racing that a horse successfully completed the Triple Crown by winning first the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness Stakes before going on to win this race.
Bovada has released a number of proposition bets for Saturday’s race and the following are the top three you should strongly consider wagering on to cash in on all the excitement this race is sure to generate.
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Will I’ll Have Another win the 2012 Triple Crown?
I’ll Have Another has been opened as a prohibitive 3/5 favorite to win this race, so a timely wager on ‘yes’ appears to be a no-brainer. Upon closer inspection, you have to understand the value in the ‘no’ bet considering that you get a chance to wager on the entire field to beat this horse, not just the one horse you think will be able to beat him.
The extra quarter-mile of distance in the Belmont Stakes, as opposed to the first two legs of the Triple Crown, is what makes this such a wide-open race. The overall Belmont Stakes field for this year’s race is not that strong, but he will be going against horses that ran only in the Kentucky Derby, such as Dale Roman’s Dullahan, who finished third, or some that skipped the first two legs altogether just to train for this race, such as Bob Baffert’s Paynter.
The other reason to bet no is the sheer odds against I’ll Have Another doing what no other three-year-old thoroughbred has done in 33 years. Since Affirmed last won the Triple Crown in 1978, there have been 11 horses that have successfully won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but they all came up short in the Belmont. The last was Big Brown in 2008. You always have to remember that there are just 11 all-time Triple Crown winners for a reason.
Winning Time of the 2012 Belmont?
Under 2:29 -120
Over 2:29 -120
The average winning time for the Kentucky Derby is just over two minutes with I’ll Have Another winning this year’s race in 2:01:83. Bovada’s ‘over/under’ prop bet time for that race was 2:02:50.
He has already showed great closing speed, so if any of the other horses in the field are going to have a chance to win it will have to be at a fast pace. The preliminary weather forecast for Elmont is calling for dry conditions, which should ensure a fast track.
Looking back at the last 20 Belmont Stakes, the winning horse has posted a lower time than 2:29 in 12 of the 20 races overall, but the time has gone over in three of the last four years. Drosselmeyer finished first in 2010 with a winning time of 2:31:57 and last year Ruler on Ice won in 2:30:88. The one caveat to these recent results is that there were no Triple Crown-caliber horses in the field of either of these races. Stick with I’ll Have Another’s ability to set the pace along with the past trends and take the under in this prop.
How Many Lengths will the Winner of the 2012 Belmont Stakes win by?
More than or equal to one length -225
Less Than one length +185
I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby by 1 ½ lengths and won the Preakness by a neck, but to gain a better perspective on what might happen in this race we turn to the past results. In the last 20 Belmont Stakes, the margin of victory was a length or greater 11 times. The winner finished ahead by a length of more in five of the last eight races, but overall there is no clear edge for selecting either margin of victory in this prop.
The longer distance of the Belmont does have a tendency to stretch the field, which is clearly reflected in the money line for this prop. However, for the sheer excitement that would be generated by a close finish on Saturday afternoon, go with the better return on ‘less than a length’ at +185.
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