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Wide Open Belmont May Produce Big Payday
By Carlo Campanella

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Without the possibility of a Triple Crown winner, or the presence of the recent Kentucky Derby or Preakness winners, the Belmont Stakes will not be much of a media darling or attract much attention from the average fan. In fact, it will be only the third time in the past 36 years that the Belmont will not feature a winner from one of the first two legs of the Triple Crown. The last time this phenomenon occurred was back in 2000 when "Fusaichi Pegasus" and "Red Bullet" both failed to show, allowing the 18-to-1 "Commendable" to steal the third jewel of The Crown, and leading a $213 Exacta payoff even with favored "Aptitude" finishing second. With an evenly matched field of up to 10 starters and the lack of a true favorite, this year’s Belmont is geared towards horseplayers and gamblers looking for another big score. The absence of the “horse to beat” will make this one of the most evenly matched and exciting Belmont Stakes in the last decade and allow horseplayers to find exceptional betting value in the Exacta and Trifecta pools.

The Belmont is known for producing upset winners and large payoffs. The 1.5 mile race, which is a .25 mile longer than the Kentucky Derby, is a true test of endurance that most young horses aren’t bred to handle. I've seen some of the best racehorses in the world fail at this extended distance and it’s the major reason why we haven’t seen a Triple Crown winner since "Affirmed" in 1978. Toss in the fact that these Triple Crown competitors were trained to peak for the Kentucky Derby and now those grueling five weeks between the first and third leg have left many of these warriors weak and weary. Since 1999, an amazing four of the seven Belmont winners paid at least $28 to win, including "Lemon Drop" Kid (1999) at $60, "Commendable" (2000) at $38, "Sarava" (2002) at $142, and "Birdstone" (2004) at $74.

With such accomplished favorites as "Smarty Jones", "Funny Cid," and "Charismatic" all failing to win the Belmont at short odds, it would appear that this year’s post time favorite is more vulnerable than ever before. No matter who you like, you can be sure that you’ll get a fair price! 

BELMONT STAKES 138 PROBABLE STARTERS
Purse: $1,000,000 added - 1 1/2 miles

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

Last Race

Bluegrass Cat

Todd Pletcher

John Velazquez

2nd Kentucky Derby

Bob and John

Bob Baffert

Garrett Gomez

17th Kentucky Derby

Deputy Glitters

Tom Albertrani

Edgar Prado

8th Kentucky Derby

Hemingway's Key

Nick Zito

Jeremy Rose

3rd Preakness Stakes

High Finance

Richard Violette Jr.

Eibar Coa

1st AlwN1X

Jazil

Kiaran McLaughlin

Fernando Jara

4th Kentucky Derby

Oh So Awesome

James A. Jerkens

Mike Smith

3rd Match The Hatch Stakes

Platinum Couple

Joseph Lostritto

Jose Espinoza

6th Preakness

Sacred Light

David Hofmans

Victor Espinoza

2nd AlwN1X

Steppenwolfer

Daniel Peitz

Robby Albarado

3rd Kentucky Derby

Sunriver

Todd Pletcher

Rafael Bejarano

1st Peter Pan Stakes

Also Possible

Cause to Believe

Jerry Hollendorfer

Russell Baze

13th Kentucky Derby

Sweetnorthernsaint

Michael Trombetta

Kent Desormeaux

2nd Preakness Stakes

Wilentz

Joe Orseno

Joe Bravo

1st Monmouth Allowance

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