Saturday is the culmination of the spring Triple Crown season. All the races that led up to the Derby and Preakness now come to the final chapter, the 143rd Belmont Stakes, also known as the "Test Of Champions". From this point on, there will be plenty of excellent races throughout the summer and those will, of course, be leading up to the Breeders' Cup World Championships in the fall. Right now, though, we focus on the 1 1/2 miles of the Belmont Stakes. Here is the analysis:
I honestly think that #6 Nehro is going to win the race on Saturday, but I am loathe to pick a horse that will likely be the favorite or the second choice in such a spot. Therefore, my top pick will be #5 Brilliant Speed, who comes with a much more attractive morning line of 15-1. Joel Rosario guided this colt to a win in the Bluegrass and a strong showing with a close-up 7th in the Kentucky Derby. I think the lack of dirt experience will be a moot point for this runner considering he appears to be bred to run this type of distance. I will put #6 Nehro in the place position. Again, I think he is likely the winner here, but it could present a problem that he seems to have second-itis. He has been second in three straight, including the Kentucky Derby. I like the fact, by the way, that the first two selections both skipped the Preakness after running decent races in Louisville. For third, I will put the Derby winner, #9 Animal Kingdom. He was very close to knocking off Shackleford and setting us up for a Triple Crown try tomorrow, but his win in the Derby and second in the Preakness were both top-notch efforts. Will he be able to do it a third time in a row? For fourth, I will go with a longshot in #3 Ruler On Ice at 20-1 on the morning line. He was the runner-up in the Tesio at Pimlico on May 7 and will be adding blinkers for this start on Saturday. He also has been working like a beast in the mornings, with bullets on four of the last five appearances. #12 Shackleford will round out the top five in here. He is just so darn tough, I think it takes a monumental effort to get by him. He almost showed that in the Derby and he outright proved it in the Preakness. The only question with him is the post position. Did drawing outside compromise his early speed to the point that he will not get the trip he needs to go 1 1/2 miles? Here is the play for the 143rd Belmont Stakes:
$5 WP #5
$1 EX BOX 3-5-6-9-12
$1 TRI 5-6-9 with 5-6-9 with 2-3-5-6-9-10-12
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!