Ride On Curlin Odds to win the 2014 Belmont Stakes
by Trevor Whenham - 5/26/2014
California Chrome is going to get the bulk of the attention - both from the media and bettors - heading into the Belmont Stakes. It's deserving and to be expected. For bettors who aren't interested in bets at even money or worse, though, the search is on for horses that can give the champ a test and potentially deliver some value.
One of those horses that really stands out is Ride On Curlin. It's no surprise - his second-place showing was impressive in the Preakness, and California Chrome had to work harder to beat him than anyone else he has faced. Ride On Curlin also has a back story that you can't help but embrace - an impossibly small stable taking on the big boys with their first real stakes horse.
He's easy to like, but can Ride On Curlin win the Belmont? And, of more interest to bettors, what are Ride On Curlin's odds to win the 2014 Belmont Stakes? Let's take a look at that and at four other factors that will be important to bettors as they decide how to deal with this horse:
Ride On Curlin's odds to win the Belmont: Sportsbook.ag has Ride On Curlin installed as the clear second choice to win the race behind California Chrome. He sits at +500, with Tonalist the third choice at +700. The odds for this horse have remained reasonably stable since they were posted. That stands in contrast to the favorite, who has seen his odds climb from as low as -140 to +110 now.
Public perception: Ride On Curlin's reputation has improved with each of the Triple Crown races. In the Derby he was a disappointing seventh, but as people looked at the race closer, and saw how horribly he was ridden and how much he was still able to overcome and achieve, they have given him more credit for the effort. In the Preakness he was closing like a freight train, and he gave California Chrome by far the biggest test he has faced all year. He has still not won a big race, but he has worked hard and shown off his incredible toughness, and he now he sits as the second choice in the Belmont in early betting. Regardless of how you feel about his chances in this race, it is to the credit of the public that they are capable of looking past the flashy storylines and recognizing a little horse with big talent.
Fatigue: Ride On Curlin joins California Chrome as the only two horses who are challenging all three legs of the Triple Crown. They are doing it how it is supposed to be done, but that means that they are facing an immense challenge - and perhaps a disadvantage given the amount of racing they have been doing compared to their fresher opponents. The Derby didn't take a lot out of the horse because he was so far out of it early that he was saved from a big effort. The Preakness was a much bigger effort, though, and it's hard to know how much he has left in the tank for another race just three weeks later. He is training reasonably well, but you can't help but worry a little. After all, Afleet Alex in 2005 was the last iron horse to win the Belmont, and many have tried and failed since.
Jockey: You would think that the saddle of a horse of this caliber would be somewhere where jockeys would be fighting to be. Thanks to circumstances, though, John Velazquez will actually be the third rider to be aboard the horse for a Triple Crown race. Calvin Borel rode him in the Derby and did such a horrible job that firing him was a very easy decision. Joel Rosario took the reins for the Preakness, and he rode the horse very well. Normally he would have been an automatic choice to ride again, but he also rides Tonalist and will be on that horse instead in the Belmont. It was simply a business decision - Ride On Curlin's trainer trains only four horses, so there isn't a lot of future potential rides to think of when choosing a ride now like there is for Tonalist and trainer Christophe Clement. That means that Velazquez gets his shot. The good news, though, is that Velazquez knows this track as well as anyone, and he has won the race twice. He is certainly not a consolation prize.
Breeding: Ride On Curlin's breeding to win this grueling race isn't perfect, but it is more than solid. Sire Curlin was a stamina machine. He was second in the Belmont, and he won five different times at a mile and a quarter. On the dam side, though, the damsire is Storm Cat. He is one of the best sires of our time, but his success has tended to concentrate at distances of nine furlongs or shorter. He's not incapable of producing stamina warriors, but it's not what he has done best.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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