The official draw for the 141st Belmont Stakes took place earlier today and it certainly elicits some interesting responses. First of all, isn't it amazing that in five short weeks Mine That Bird went from 50-1 no-hope field clogger in the Kentucky Derby to the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Belmont Stakes. It certainly helps that situation that Rachel Alexandra is not present since she would be the favorite off her Preakness win and she would have Calvin Borel aboard instead of his riding Mine That Bird, which he will do on Saturday.
Secondly, there are only three horses listed in single-digit odds according to the morning-line. Mine That Bird (2-1), Charitable Man (3-1), and Dunkirk (4-1) are the only ones with everyone else 10-1 or higher. Who could be the most interesting longshot? Well, I'll have a little more on that later this week, but keep in mind that I did profile Summer Bird earlier during this three-week gap between the Preakness and the Belmont.
Finally, Flying Private ran 20th in the Kentucky Derby and improved to 4th in the Preakness. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas will send the only other horse besides Mine That Bird into all three races of the series. Chocolate Candy, Dunkirk, Mr. Hot Stuff, and Summer Bird all took the five weeks between the Derby and Belmont off to freshen up. Luv Gov ran in the Preakness after skipping the Derby. Charitable Man, Brave Victory, and Miner's Escape all missed both of the first two legs of the Crown.
It certainly shapes up as a fascinating group of ten horses and it should be another exciting rendition of the Belmont Stakes, even without a Triple Crown at stakes. By the way, kudos to ESPN for actually showing up and broadcasting some of the early card races on Belmont Saturday. The network neglected to show up for the undercards on Derby and Preakness days. Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone...GOODBYE!