Belmont Stakes Predictions: Potential Longshot Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 5/31/2011
The public is likely to be focused on a small group of horses this year in the Belmont Stakes. There are the two classic winners, of course -- Animal Kingdom in the Kentucky Derby, and Shackleford from the Preakness. As I write this both are pointing at the Belmont, and both were be legitimate contenders. Then there are a couple other horses that made some noise in the Derby and will likely be back for more -- Nehro and Mucho Macho Man. That’s pretty much it in terms of likely betting targets -- at least in a serious way. That leaves several horses that will go off at a high price. Some of them will justify their price, but a few present real upset potential in this comparatively undistinguished Belmont field, and they represent nice value as a result. Here are my Belmont Stakes predictions for three potential longshot picks that will be worth a look at a long price.
Master of Hounds - He was the mystery horse in the Derby, and will be only slightly less mysterious if he does wind up in the gate for the Belmont. The advantage he has this time, though, is that at least this time we have a sense of his dirt capabilities. He had only trained on dirt for a few days before the Derby and had never seen the surface before then, so it was a big leap expecting him to perform well there.
He didn’t threaten the winners, but the horse was quietly impressive in the Derby. He wound up fifth, but what was most impressive was his final three furlongs -- he was moving forward convincingly, and looked like he had a lot left in the tank.
There are several reasons to look at him in the Belmont. The second time on dirt will help him. Both his breeding and his training are pointed towards endurance, so the distance of the Belmont should be ideal for him. The wide turns and long stretch will suit him as well -- he’s a horse that needs time to get wound up, and he will certainly have that here. He’ll also likely be a bit sharper here than he was for the Derby.
This is only his third race of the year, but the five week turnaround is reasonable. Finally, you have to like the horse because they are making the effort to ship him over from Europe again. That’s not a cheap undertaking, so the fact that his connections think it is worth doing is an endorsement for his cause.
Stay Thirsty - Few horses in the Derby had any excuses for their performance, but Stay Thirsty had as much of one as any horse. He was brushed hard coming out of the gate, and he got into a fight for position about halfway through that was too enthusiastic for him and he faltered. He wound up 12th, but it was more of a frustrated 12th than an exhausted one.
The field won’t be as big in the Belmont and there is all sorts of room on the track, so he’s far less likely to get frustrated this time around. What stands out most about this horse is his incredible breeding. He’s built for stamina, and to win classic races -- sire Bernardini won the Preakness, grandsire A.P. Indy won the Belmont, and great-grandsire Seattle Slew is a Triple Crown winner. He’ll need to have the best day of his life in this race, but that best day would be enough to win.
Brilliant Speed - I’m going with yet another horse than ran in the Derby and then skipped the Preakness because horses that ran in the Derby have historically done well in this race.
Brilliant Speed was an invisible 7th in the Derby, and at first I wasn’t that impressed. When I went back and watched the race closely, though, it was more impressive than it seemed. He got forced five wide around the turn as he was making a move forward, and he was definitely moving forward down the stretch. It wasn’t enough of a move to threaten the leaders, but it showed real potential.
More significantly, he is a horse that has had most of his success on synthetic surfaces or turf, so the experience of running on dirt in the Derby -- and handling it well -- can only help him going forward. His running style suits the race well, his breeding means he should handle the distance, and he has shown he has some class.
I am not head over heels in love with this horse, but at the right price he’s certainly interesting.
Doc’s Sports will release our expert Belmont Stakes picks for the third leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 11. You can purchase our full Belmont package for just $20. You will get Doc’s win-place-show bets plus a variety of exotics for one low price, and if we don’t show you a profit then our next batch of horse racing picks come free of charge. Doc is an expert against the Belmont odds and he has been putting in lots of extra time on this race and thinks there will be some big profits on Saturday.
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