The former Houston Handicapping Impresarios (Martha Claussen, Dr. Reid McLellan, and myself) are back for the third installment of the Triple Crown with selections and thoughts on the 143rd Belmont Stakes. As usual, I will be offering my selections and thoughts on the race in tomorrow's post, but Martha and Reid kick off the proceedings and it's ladies first:
MARTHA CLAUSSEN'S BELMONT ANALYSIS
Too many idiots dogging the bad Belmont; frankly I am impressed that they got a nice, full field of 12 and the undercard stakes are fantastic. The Belmont Stakes is known a the "Test of a Champion," and I am just not sure that either Animal Kingdom or Shackleford have enough left in the tank to conquer a mile and one-half. Steve Asmussen held Nehro out of the Preakness and that gives him a nice fitness edge from my perspective. Corey Nakatani has been able to get a good closing kick out of this Mineshaft colt and should break through on Saturday. In the Beyer department, Animal Kingdom is tops and cannot be ignored, but favorites have been beaten in so many Belmont Stakes, it would be hard to endorse him on top. I like 20-1 Stay Thirsty, who gets a rider change to my top jock, Javier Castellano. Has sported some nice works and Todd Pletcher is no fool! I am just not a Shackleford fan, so for my fourth horse, I looked at Master of Hounds (who was one of my Derby horses) and Santiva. Saw no works on Master, which I found troubling, so by default, Santiva is in.
Martha's Belmont Selections: Nehro, Animal Kingdom, Stay Thirsty, Santiva
Martha's Suggested Belmont Plays:
$5 WPS on #2
$5 EX BOX 2-6-9
$1Pick 3 - Race 9-11
If I can beat Aviate in the Foxwoods and Gio Ponti in the Woodford Reserve, the Pick 3 could be sweet!
1-2-4-7 with 2-4-5-9 with 2-6-9
Total Belmont Plays: $78
REID McLELLAN'S BELMONT ANALYSIS
Watching the Derby replay several times I decided I liked the move that #1 Master Of Hounds made from mid-stretch to wire, weaving through traffic before making a quick move to the inside and finishing strongly. He's had five weeks to prepare and this is his third race this year. I am hoping for 12-1 or more and am playing him to WIN. #6 Nehro also had the five weeks to prepare and will probably go off as the betting favorite and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in the Winner's Circle. #9 Animal Kingdom paired identical 103 Beyer Speed Figures in the first two legs and has impressed me as a legitimate classic three-year-old. Animal Kingdom is a grandson of Candy Stripes and a German stallion whose offspring prefer to win at distances over nine furlongs, Animal Kingdom is best bred to go twelve furlongs. #10 Mucho Macho Man has had a significant jockey change and if he had not raced in the Preakness, he would be my top pick. I just think "3M" has not had enough chance to build back the energy necessary for the "Test Of Champions". #12 Shackleford will have the lead to himself unless Isn't He Perfect or Prime Cut decide to take him on early. The grandson of Unbridled is big enough to get the job done, I just don't think he'll carry his speed the entire distance.
Reid's Belmont Selections: Master Of Hounds, Nehro, Animal Kingdom, Mucho Macho Man
Reid's Suggested Belmont Plays:
$50 WIN #1
$1 SPR 1-6 with 1-6-9 with 1-6-9-10 with 1-6-7-9-10-12
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tomorrow, it will be my turn to take a shot at the 143rd Belmont Stakes. Tune in again then for right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE