The defining characteristic of this edition of the Belmont Stakes is that it is completely and utterly wide open. There is no clear and obvious winner - though Classic Empire will be bet like one by many. That means that you can make a case for a lot of horses in the 13-horse field. This is a race that has delivered more long shot winners than favorites in recent years, so big payoffs are very possible here. Here are four Belmont live long shots you can make a case for ( futures odds are from BetOnline ) with analysis on how to get rich betting the Belmont Stakes:
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Patch (+2500): I actually don't like much about what this horse has done on the track. He's lightly-raced and hasn't run a single race that impresses me in his four starts. He's completely underwhelming in my eyes and will again be badly overbet here like he was in the Derby because the casual public loves the story of him racing with just one eye. There are two things, though, that make it so that we at least have to consider the colt. First, and most importantly, he was bred to run in his race. His sire, Union Rags, won this race. So did his damsire A.P. Indy. And A.P. Indy is a son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, and Triple Crown winner Secretariat is his damsire. So, Patch has four Belmont winners within three generations. That's ridiculous. Needless to say, the distance isn't a particular concern here. Second, Patch has been upgraded significantly in the saddle. After Tyler Gaffalione rode him in the Derby and underwhelmed, John Velazquez is aboard for the Belmont. Velazquez has won this race twice - including in 2012 aboard Patch's sire Union Rags - so he is much more suited to this challenge. The horse needs to be at his absolute best to be a factor here, and there is a better chance of that happening with Velazquez in charge.
Twisted Tom (+2800): So, just about three weeks ago Chad Brown took a lightly-raced colt to a Triple Crown race. There were reasons to be doubtful, but Brown was very enthusiastic about his horse, and he was right - Cloud Computing won the race and delivered a very nice price at the betting windows. Now Brown is bringing another lightly-raced horse, this one making his graded stakes debut, to a Triple Crown race on the track where he dominates as a trainer. The colt rides a three-race winning streak into the race, and Brown raves about the horse and his chances over this grueling distance. He has breeding for the challenge, too - damsire Thunder Gulch won this race and the Derby in 1995. Brown just won his first Triple Crown race a few weeks ago, so can lightning strike twice this close together? It's far from the least likely thing possible.
J Boys Echo (+2000): I have a soft spot for this horse, and I can't entirely put my finger on why. Maybe it's the name - it sounds much more like something given to a quarter horse instead of a thoroughbred, so perhaps I like thinking of a barrel racing horse sneaking his way into a Triple Crown race. It's certainly not because of his last two races - the Blue Grass was a disaster for him as it was for so many others, and the 14th-place finish in the Derby was a real disappointment because the horse just didn't fire. Really what intrigues me is the race before those two debacles. In the Gotham Stakes he won handily against a decent field, and he looked like a real pro doing it. Combine that with some decent breeding, some positive karma because trainer Dale Romans went back to injured-and-slowly-recovering Robby Albarado in this race after he missed out on the Derby, and what is sure to be a pretty fast price, and it feels like we have a long shot worth considering - at least in the bottom of the exotics.
Hollywood Handsome (+4000): I don't like the way this horse has raced and don't see how he's good enough. He's bred to be a miler, and he's being asked to run 50 percent farther here. There are a lot of things not to like. But we can't ignore this horse entirely for two reasons. First, Florent Geroux has the mount, and he's a very good jockey who is going to win Triple Crown races. Second, trainer Dallas Stewart has a magical way of getting no-hope horses ready for Triple Crown races. He learned to dominate these races as an assistant for D. Wayne Lukas in his prime. And he has done well on his own. In 2013 his Golden Soul was second in the Derby behind Orb at a dizzying 50/1 to deliver a massive exacta. The next year he was again second with Commanding Curve, this time at 37/1. This horse isn't great on paper, but neither were those two.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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