This is a bittersweet day in my mind. It’s a Triple Crown race, and I love those – that’s the sweet part. The bitterness comes from the fact that the Triple Crown is over for another year at about 6:30 tonight. That means that racing fades back into obscurity, and many of the great three year olds that I have grown to know and, for the most part, really like won’t be heard of much anymore. It happens every year, but I still never get used to this feeling. Before I get all sad and start crying, though, let’s take a look at how I see this race breaking down:
When you have a heavy favorite like Mine That Bird in a race – he’s 2/1 on the morning line, and I expect him to be more like 3/2 at post time – then you really have just one choice to make – are you going to be with him or against him. For me, this is no real choice – I’m with him. He’s the best bred for the challenge of the distance. His jockey is riding with incredible confidence and is red hot. He’s worked well, and he’s settled into Belmont well after arriving. The pace scenario sets up well for him – there is no horse that is likely to run away on the lead, so it is likely to be a pedestrian opening mile, leaving him with lots of gas in the tank to make his big move at the end, and lots of room because of the scale of Belmont. In short, this little gelding who I have grown so fond of in the last five weeks is the clear class of the field in my opinion.
So how do I plan to take maximum advantage of that opinion? Well, it won’t be on the win bet – that’s for sure. As much as I like him, I doubt there will be value in him to win. The only way there would be is if his price went up, but I really don’t expect that. Instead, I’ll be looking to key him on top of exactas, trifectas, and superfectas . Keying one horse on top of exotics is a great way to minimize costs while giving yourself the best possible shot at profit. Because you only have one horse on top it also means that you can afford to throw in more horses in the other positions without driving your costs through the roof. Besides Mine That Bird, there are five horses that I like and will likely use in those exotics. I’m not convinced that Charitable Man is as good as people think he is, or that he will handle the distance,but he’s done well on this track and comes in on a high note so he can’t be used. I have similar concerns about the distance capabilities of Dunkirk as well as with his maturity. He’s such a classy horse, though, that I can’t afford to leave him out. Chocolate Candy was a disappointment in the Derby, but he came right from Churchill to Belmont, and he has been training well since. Synthetic horses often get better on dirt with experience , so he’s a nice value at his morning line price. Summer Bird has the same sire as Mine That Bird, and he made a nice move at the Derby that just came up short. He’s training well, he has a serious upgrade in jockey this time out, and I like his chances of hitting the board here. Flying Private showed tremendous improvement from the Derby to the Preakness, and I think he’s a decent horse with a good jockey aboard. I obviously don’t think he’ll win, but I could see him getting a paycheck again. I’ll likely use those five under Mine That Bird in all three exotics and see how it goes for me.
Be sure to watch the race, and good luck if you are betting on it.