Bettors need top be aware that there is no bigger contributing factor to the success in the Belmont Stakes than the pedigree of the horse. The mile and a half race is a brutal challenge for horses – further than they have ever been asked to run, and further than most are bred to run. In order for a horse to succeed in this challenge they need to have the support of generations of stamina behind them. That means that pedigree analysis is a particularly important part of handicapping this race – more so than any other race on the calendar each year.
Pedigree analysis is an art and a science, and it takes a lifetime to learn everything there is to know. Most people don’t have the time or enough interest to develop that kind of expertise. Luckily, there is a shortcut to this aspect of handicapping. With some quick analysis, bettors can get a decent idea of whether a horse is suited for the challenge. It won’t be a perfect insight, but it’s better than nothing, and it will put you ahead of most people. Here are six things to look for in the first three generations of the pedigrees of the Belmont entrants:
Names you recognize – This seems silly, but it it is a good starting point for bettors. If you are a casual or semi-avid horse racing fan then you probably pay attention to the biggest races, and you have absorbed the names of horses over the years. Most of the biggest races are over longer distances – a mile and an eighth or longer. If a name you recognize shows up in the pedigree, then there is a decent chance that he will provide a stamina influence. If you don’t recognize many names, don’t worry. Much of what matters will show up in the next five steps.
Horses that won Triple Crown races – All three of the Triple Crown races require stamina, so horses that have won those races will have the stamina to pass to their offspring. Past winners of the Belmont would be the most valuable here, but are not the only thing to look for. This is easy to research as a quick search on Google can provide the lists of previous winners. In this case and in all others, more is definitely better. One horse that has a Triple Crown race winner in the pedigree is a good thing, but two would be even better, and three would be better still.
Horses that won Breeders’ Cup Classic – After the Triple Crown, the next place to look is the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Horses in this race are racing against the best of the best, and doing it over the Classic distance of a mile and a quarter. Horses that have won this race are very useful for stamina purposes in a pedigree.
Sires of other Triple Crown winners – If a horse hasn’t won a Triple Crown race himself then the next best thing is if he has sired one or more winners of the race. If he has sired winners of the race then he obviously passes down significant stamina to his offspring, and is an asset in the pedigree of his progeny in terms of this race. This can take a little more digging around to discover, but Wikipedia has excellent information about many sires, and would almost certainly list a sire if his offspring had won such a major race.
Sires of other Breeders’ Cup Classic winners – As with the last case, if a horse can sire a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner then you know he can pass on top level stamina, and a good deal of speed to go with it.
Winners of other major races – Once bettors have exhausted the possibilities in the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, they can expand their search if they’d like more insight into a thoroughbred or you aren’t sure if a horse is suited for the challenge. You can look in the pedigree for winners of major longer races like the Dubai World Cup, or the Travers and the Haskell, which are the two major summer races for three year olds. The top races like the Jockey Club Gold Cup or the Pacific Classic can also provide valuable insight. If there are European horses in the pedigree you could look for winners of overseas Classics as well. In all of these cases, it’s important to remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether a horse has the capability or not. You don’t need to exhaustively look at every horse in the pedigree. Once you do it for a while you’ll quickly be able to get a sense of whether a horse has stamina influence in his pedigree or if he is lacking. If he has the influences then he might not handle the distance, but there is a better chance that he will than if the influences aren’t there.