Belmont Stakes Profile: Charitable Man
by Trevor Whenham - 05/27/2009
Last race: Charitable Man was a very impressive winner of the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont last time out. That race, which fell a week after the Derby, featured an impressive field of accomplished and promising runners. He stalked the pacesetter around the track, took over the lead at the top of the stretch, and pulled away to win by about four lengths. He was the 8/5 favorite in the seven-horse field.
Career Highlights: Last fall Charitable Man looked like the best of his class. After a stunning 12-length win in his maiden debut, he came back to win the Futurity Stakes at Belmont over a deep field that included Derby favorite Friesan Fire. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile should have been next, but an injury to his shin required surgery and sidelined him for seven months. He returned in the Blue Grass Stakes. He was a dismal seventh there, but he clearly didn't take to the synthetic surface of Keeneland. He's won three of four career starts.
Jockey: Alan Garcia. Garcia has been in the saddle for all four starts, and he's not going anywhere. He's only 23, but he has had an impressive start to his career. He's one of only five jockeys to have won a Breeders' Cup race in his first try. He's also the defending Belmont champion, having scored the unlikely upset with Da' Tara last year.
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin. McLaughlin has been one of the best trainers in New York since returning from training for 10 years in Dubai in 2003. His biggest success has come with 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor. He also won the Belmont that year with Jazil. McLaughlin's horses are always ready to race, and this won't be an exception.
Pedigree: This race runs in Charitable Man's blood - his sire Lemon Drop Kid ended Charismatic's Triple Crown dream by wining the 1999 Belmont. That's the most prominent indication that he'll be able to get the distance, but far from the only one.
Racing style: Charitable Man won't look to set the pace unless he has to, but he'll be close to it. He seems to be at his best when he gets a classic stalking ride - hiding a few lengths of the lead before moving up to take over control as the finish line nears. He won his maiden race in wire-to-wire fashion, and could probably take that approach if no one else steps up to take the lead - a possibility given how the race is shaping up.
Belmont prognosis: This horse won't be the favorite here because of the Derby winner and the Preakness winner as well if she returns. If it weren't for that, though, then Charitable Man could easily have the lowest odds. He's very classy, he's 2-for-2 on this track, he'll get the distance, and he's been carefully managed to get to this race. He's a very legitimate contender, and he seems very likely to factor in to the final results. He'll be featured throughout my exotics, and I'll take him to win as long as his price has some value as well. A win would be far from an upset.