Friday, June 4, 2010

Belmont Racing Roundup

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito has already won the Belmont Stakes (G1) – twice with long shots – but this time he has a chance to win with the 3-1 morning line favorite Ice Box who heads a field of 12 entered in the $1 million Belmont Stakes.

Ice Box was my long shot pick to win the Fountain of Youth. Ice Box finished fifth in that contest, beaten 12 lengths by Eskendereya, but he came back a month later and won the Florida Derby (G1). I had an exacta with Ice Box and Super Saver in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

With Super Saver and Lookin At Lucky skipping the Belmont, Ice Box is the only horse left that I like on the Triple Crown trail and he is the only horse that I am confident about in the Belmont. I don’t know if he will win but I believe that he will finish first or second and that is how I will plan my wagering strategy.

At 12 furlongs, the Belmont is the most grueling of the Triple Crown races. Ice Box definitely has the breeding to get the distance and other horses I believe that has the best potential to do well in the Belmont are Spangled Star (30-1), Fly Down (9-2), Drosselmeyer (12-1) and Stately Victor (15-1).

Last time out, Spangled Star ran a 101 Brisnet Speed Figure – his best yet – in the Withers Stakes (G3). I believe that Spangled Star has room to improve off that effort and I like his breeding. His sire, Distorted Humor, sired the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (G1) winner Funny Cide. On the distaff portion of Spangled Star’s pedigree, he gets plenty of stamina influence from his damsire Kris S. and the Classic Champion thoroughbreds Roberto and Alysheba.

In addition to a speed figure progression, I also like to see good work outs just before a race and a bullet work on May 21 tells me that Spangled Star may be ready to run another good race.

If you throw out the Louisiana Derby (G2), Fly Down is undefeated for the year with a first-place finish in an allowance race in February and he cruised to a 6-length victory in the Dwyer Stakes (G2) last month. In the Dwyer, Fly Down ran a 101 speed figure – his best yet – and I believe he should improve off of that effort.

Fly Down was sired by Mineshaft and gets plenty of stamina influence from A. P. Indy and Seattle Slew. His damsire, Fly So Free also imparts stamina and has produced several route winners – most notably, Dubai World Cup winner Captain Steve.

The speed figure progression and recent bullet work out indicates to me that Zito has Fly Down ready to run another good race.

Drosselmeyer has been in the money in seven of eight starts and I look for him to run a good race in the Belmont. Distorted Humor is also the sire of Drosselmeyer and on the distaff side he gets plenty of stamina influence from Moscow Ballet, Nijinsky and Slew o Gold.

Drosselmeyer’s speed figures have been good and Steve Haskin, Senior Correspondent of The Blood-Horse, noted that his recent bullet work out was the best of all the Belmont entrants.

Stately Victor has the pedigree to win the Belmont and if he takes to the surface he could be very tough. Stately Victor gets plenty of stamina from his sire Ghostzapper and Awesome Again. On the bottom of the pedigree, Dynaformer and Roberto add plenty of stamina influence.

Well there you have it. Those are the horses I believe have the best potential to do well in the Belmont.

If you have never checked out the Daily Racing Form FormBlog hosted by Dan Illman you may want to give it a look. Every week, usually on Wednesday, they have a Handigambling contest where posters can make wagers with a fictional bankroll of $100 dollars on a pre-selected race. The Belmont is this week's race and the poster that makes the most money with the fictional $100 wager will get a free Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan from the DRF.

Here are my Handgambling picks:

Handigambling – Belmont Stakes

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito has already won the Belmont Stakes, twice, but this time he has a chance to win the Belmont with a favorite – Ice Box (6). This year’s Belmont appears to be wide open and I like several long shots that should have the ability to get 12 furlongs: Spangled Star (2), Fly Down (5), Drosselmeyer (7) and Stately Victor (9).

$2 Win/Place – 2 = $4

$3 Exacta – 6 /2-5-7-9 = $12
$3 Exacta – 2-5-7-9/ 6 = $12

$2 Trifecta – 6 /2-5-7-9/2-5-7-9 = $24
$2 Trifecta – 2-5-7-9/ 6 /2-5-7-9 = $24

.50 Superfecta – 6 /2-5-7-9/2-5-7-9/2-5-7-9 = $12
.50 Superfecta – 2-5-7-9/ 6 /2-5-7-9/2-5-7-9 = $12

Total = $100


  1. Tough year for handicapping. Second half should be something of an unknown.

  2. Barry,

    Aint that the truth. I needed Ice Box to finish first or second along with Drosselmeyer and Fly Down. With him not running his race it cost me about $900.00.

    I still have hope that Winslow Homer or Laus Deo can be a factor later in the season.

  3. Calvin,

    Your piece in Horseplayer Magazine "Key Classic Sire Lines" is very thought-provoking. Do you have any ideas on the lines that may produce the next Triple Crown winner?

    All three 2010 Triple Crown race winners go back to BOLD RULER and all trace further back to SICKLE (DROSSELMEYER, SUPER SAVER, LOOKIN AT LUCKY).

    There was no NEARCO on top this year, but DROSSELMEYER and LOOKIN AT LUCKY were from dams descending from NEARCO/NORTHERN DANCER and SUPER SAVER from a dam from the NEARCO/BOLD RULER sire line.

    AFFIRMED was from the SICKLE line of PHALARIS while SECRETARIAT and SEATTLE SLEW descend from the PHAROS side. Is there any sire line still in existence from the PHARAMOND II line? With all the in-breeding of the more dominant PHALARIS lines, perhaps finding PHARAMOND II will be the missing link for the next Triple Crown winner.

    Great stuff.

  4. Amateurcapper,

    Thanks for reading the blog and the kind words.

    You ask a good question and one would think that the Mr. Prospector sire line, since it has been so close, would be the next line to produce a Triple Crown winner.

    Since 1991 there have been eight descendents of the Mr. Prospector sire line that have won two legs of the Triple Crown: Hansel (1991); Thunder Gulch (1995); Real Quiet (1998); Point Given (2001); War Emblem (2002); Funny Cide (2003); Smarty Jones (2004) and Afleet Alex (2005).

    I really like the Fappiano line of Mr. Prospector and I’m looking forward to see how well Birdstone and Summer Bird fare in the breeding shed. I believe they have a good chance to be good producers.

    Distorted Humor is the best stallion of the Forty Niner line and I believe that Winstar Farm is on a mission to make him the number one sire.

    The sire line of Pharamond II has produced six winners of Triple Crown races: Capot (1949 Preakness, Belmont); Bold (1951 Preakness); Tim Tam (1958 Kentucky Derby, Preakness); Spend A Buck (1985 Kentucky Derby); Lil E. Tee (1992 Kentucky Derby); Silver Charm (1997 Kentucky Derby, Preakness).

    Montbrook and Lite The Fuse are a couple of Pharamond II stallions at stud. Einstein went to stud in 2010.

    Thanks for the question. It, too, was thought provoking and I have an idea for a blog that I hope to post in the next few days.

  5. How bad was Buddy's Saint injury ? Is he schedule for late year racing.

  6. Barry,

    I don't know that answer to that question but if I hear any news, I'll pass it along.

  7. Hi Calvin
    I'd like to hear what you think on Amateurcappers line of thought, too.. I'll keep an eye out for your next Blog. Catching up, but as usual..really great information.
    . a short list of 2 yo's I'm watching (I'm sure you noted them previously :) Well Connected (Dynaformer) Brethern (Distorted Humor) Imagining ( Giant's Causeway) & the dam sires are AlL AP Indy. I'm thinking this is A good influence here?

  8. SR Vegas,

    Thanks for the input.

    I've been doing some research for my new blog post and it has developed into quite a project - very detailed and time consuming.

    Hopefully I'll have a new post in the next couple of days, so keep checking back and thanks for following the blog.