The dynamic behind the 144th Belmont Stakes changed abruptly on Friday morning with the scratch of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, I'll Have Another, due to what is being called severe tendinitis. This has, of course, taken almost all the drama out of the race since the Triple Crown try we were all hoping for is now not a possibility. However, we must be thankful that any possible injury to the horse was detected in advance of the race and now we must get on with the task at hand, which is analyzing the eleven horses remaining in the race. Here is the analysis:
Closers don't usually fare well in the Belmont Stakes for some reason. Rational thought would suggest that the longer distances would tire out the front-runners, allowing the come-from-behind horses to be more of a factor. However, history shows that just is not the case. The pacesetters in this Belmont Stakes appear to be #2 Unstoppable U and #9 Paynter. Unstoppable U is a lightly-raced colt that has won both lifetime starts over the New York tracks. Paynter was a cruising winner of his last race, an allowance start at Pimlico on Preakness day. He also was part of the Santa Anita Derby field, running 4th after not getting a good start. The next flight ought to include #3 Union Rags, #6 Ravelo's Boy, #7 Five Sixteen, #8 Guyana Star Dweej, and #12 My Adonis. Of these, Union Rags and My Adonis appear to be the only real contenders. Union Rags had a horrible time of it in the Kentucky Derby and there has been a rider switch to John Velazquez in the interim. My Adonis ran second behind Hansen in the Grade 3 Gotham earlier this year. As far as those deep closers, you have #1 Street Life, #4 Atigun, #5 Dullahan, and #10 Optimizer. Dullahan was the hot horse during Derby week and ran third at Churchill Downs. closing stoutly to gain that position. Street Life is well-considered off his third in the Grade 2 Peter Pan on May 12. Optimizer has been in the gate for both the Derby and the Preakness, running 11th and sixth respectively. Here are the selections:
MICHAEL'S TOP FOUR SELECTIONS: Paynter, Unstoppable U, Union Rags, Dullahan
They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again soon for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!