Everfast Odds to win the 2019 Belmont Stakes with Expert Predictions
Heading into the Preakness, this horse, which was the last entry into that race, was very easy to toss out. He had done absolutely nothing in his career to make us think he belonged in the race in any way. So, of course, everything went his way, he had the race of his life, and wound up grabbing second place. He seemed to be an overlay at nearly 30/1, but instead he was the cause of some large serious payoffs for the exotics. Now we have to figure out if it was just a fluke - lightning striking on a clear day in Baltimore - or if the horse can be a factor again here.
Last race: The colt broke badly in the Preakness and ran 11th in the 13-horse field for more than three-quarters of a mile. He found some momentum rounding the final turn and was moving forward three wide. War of Will, the eventual winner, had gotten to the front through a massive hole on the rail - which was running fast on the day. Somehow, Everfast was able to swing into the rail from three or four lanes out and followed the same hole forward. He was no threat to the winner, but he just nipped Owendale for the second biggest check. It was, without exaggeration, by far the best race of his career - and the best racing luck he has ever had.
Career highlights: The colt's owner, Calumet Farm, has won the Derby eight times, and two Triple Crowns - with Whirlaway and Citation. In modern times and under current ownership, they most recently won the Preakness with Oxbow in 2013. They deserve respect in the Triple Crown. But with this colt they seem to have lost their minds. He broke his maiden in his debut in August at lowly Ellis Park in a race that proved absolutely nothing, but they must have thought he was channeling one of those Triple Crown winners of theirs or something with the effort. They threw him into a graded stakes next time out. And he showed he wasn't good enough. But they didn't care. The Preakness was the eighth time he had ran in a graded stakes. He was second in the Holy Bull, but that was the only other time he was better than fifth - and he went from there to finish eighth in the Fountain of Youth and ninth in the Florida Derby. And he was dead last in the 14-horse Kentucky Jockey Club at the end of his two-year-old season. The horse kept telling his connections he wasn't ready. And they kept throwing him back anyway. And because there is little justice in the world, they were rewarded with a $330,000 payday in the Preakness. Before the Preakness, the colt had been fifth in the Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard, so this is his third race in five weeks.
Jockey: Luis Saez. Joel Rosario was aboard the colt for the first time in the Preakness, but that effort obviously wasn't enough to convince him to ride the horse again. Instead, Rosario is riding Sir Winston, a colt he also has ridden only once. So Saez becomes the sixth rider for this horse in 12 starts. Last we saw Saez on the Triple Crown trail he was celebrating a Kentucky Derby win only to have it taken away via disqualification. Saez has not won a Triple Crown race, topping out with a second in the Preakness last year aboard Bravazo.
Trainer: Dale Romans is a much better trainer than he has shown in the handling of this colt. He won the Preakness in 2011 with Shackleford for his lone Triple Crown win, and he has finished third in the Belmont four different times. He is a very capable trainer. He has also won three Breeders' Cup races and a Dubai World Cup.
Pedigree: The breeding may be the easiest thing to like about this colt. He is a son of Take Charge Indy, who won the Florida Derby in 2012, but an injury in the Kentucky Derby derailed his career. Take Charge Indy is a son of A.P. Indy. That horse won this race himself, is the son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, and has Triple Crown winner Secretariat as his damsire. That's some serious breeding for this race, and it shows - A.P. Indy has several Belmont winners among his descendants. Everfast's damsire is Awesome Again, who has the distinction of both winning the Breeders' Cup Classic himself and siring Ghostzapper, who won that race as well. Among other top offspring, Awesome Again sired Preakness winner Oxbow and Belmont runner-up Paynter.
Running style: In every stakes race, he has found himself well back of the leaders early on - though whether that is strategic or just because he isn't very fast is an open question. In the Preakness and the Holy Bull, he mounted a charge, but more times than that he has failed to do so.
Belmont outlook: I remain very pessimistic. But you know how that worked out for me last time.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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