Belmont Stakes 2013: Analyzing Longest Shots from Morning Line

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJune 7, 2013

Trainer Todd Pletcher has had a discouraging Triple Crown campaign. Could his longest shot, Midnight Taboo, be the surprise horse that breaks his 2013 dry spell?
Trainer Todd Pletcher has had a discouraging Triple Crown campaign. Could his longest shot, Midnight Taboo, be the surprise horse that breaks his 2013 dry spell?Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Three horses had matching 30-to-1 odds in Wednesday's morning line for the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes—Kentucky Derby competitors Frac Daddy and Giant Finish, as well as new shooter Midnight Taboo.

The 1.5-mile track at Belmont Park lends itself to a lot of unpredictability and plenty of time for horses to reposition themselves. Thus, it's worth taking a look at the three horses that would currently generate the biggest bang for the buck on a prospective wager.

It's a deep field featuring 14 entries in the final leg of the Triple Crown, but that doesn't mean one of these long shots can't stun spectators in Elmont, New York and the many others tuning in on Saturday.

Below is a glance at every horse's starting post and connections, followed by a more detailed analysis of the longest shots to win the Run for the Carnations.

Note: Statistics of race history and jockeys, unless otherwise indicated, were obtained via


Post Positions and Complete Field

Post No.






Frac Daddy

Ken McPeek

Alan Garcia



Freedom Child

Tom Albertrani

Luis Saez




Todd Pletcher

John Velazquez



Giant Finish

Anthony W. Dutrow

Edgar Prado




Shug McGaughey

Joel Rosario




Kiaran P. McLaughlin

Irad Ortiz Jr.




D. Wayne Lukas

Gary Stevens



Midnight Taboo

Todd Pletcher

Garrett Gomez




Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano



Will Take Charge

D. Wayne Lukas

Jon Court




Rudy Rodriguez

Julien Leparoux



Palace Malice

Todd Pletcher

Mike E. Smith



Unlimited Budget

Todd Pletcher

Rosie Napravnik



Golden Soul

Dallas Stewart

Robby Albarado


*Odds were obtained from morning line numbers, courtesy of America's Best Racing on Twitter.


Frac Daddy

The No.1 post position historically churns out the most winners at this event, but with such a big field, it's quite a deficit to overcome. Even with nine competitors at the Preakness, it was something orb couldn't fight past in finishing fourth, falling short of his Triple Crown bid.

Frac Daddy is among the bigger horses in the field. Thus, he has the physicality that translates ideally to this type of venue.

Trainer Kenny McPeek made his strategy for this sizable horse public on Twitter, indicating that it would be a pedal-to-the-medal type affair:

Darting out in front may actually be the best route if Frac Daddy is to flip the rail to his advantage. By cutting off the riders in front of him for inside leverage, it will cause a traffic jam behind him, which is somewhat similar to how Oxbow was able to win wire-to-wire in the Preakness.

Also bear in mind that Overanalyze won the Arkansas Derby just ahead of Churchill Downs, but the runner-up in that race was in fact Frac Daddy. He also finished ahead of Oxbow that day, so there is at least some history to consider Frac Daddy as a decent 30-to-1 shot.

He may not ultimately win, but if Frac Daddy is able to establish the early pace and use his size to remain out in front, he could make things interesting entering the final few furlongs.


Giant Finish

A strong workout on Tuesday in which Giant Finish breezed four furlongs in 49.04 seconds at least somewhat raises his profile.

When Giant Finish came in 10th place at the Kentucky Derby, it was somewhat of a surprise. It's also worth noting that 12 of the past 14 winners of the Belmont Stakes elected to skip the Preakness, which is the strategy Giant Finish utilized.

For what it's worth, jockey Edgar Prado is a two-time winner of the Belmont Stakes, and his experience at this track can't be underestimated.

It was a masterful mount for Prado in 2002 aboard Sarava, who was a 70-to-1 long shot but still won, thwarting War Emblem's Triple Crown bid.

In 2004, he pulled off a similar feat with Birdstone, who was listed at 36-to-1 prior to the race but passed Smarty Jones on the final straightaway. While War Emblem finished eighth in the 2002 race, Smarty Jones came in second in his chase for the individual Triple Crown.

As it stands, this would actually be the least surprising triumph for Prado at Belmont Park. If any jockey aboard these long shots can capture the final jewel in this year's Triple Crown, it's hard to bet against Prado given his sensational resume.


Midnight Taboo

In his most recent race just under a month ago, which was at Belmont Park, Midnight Taboo pulled off an extremely impressive maneuver to get to the outside down the final stretch. He managed to salvage a second-place finish in the allowance race.

That type of success at this track creates at least some positive momentum to draw on, and the New York-bred horse would certainly be an inspirational dark-horse story all the natives could appreciate.

Being fresh is vital entering this grueling physical test, and since he did not run in the Preakness, Todd Pletcher's longest shot may be more than just a mere pacemaker, which is what The Daily Racing Form's Marcus Hersh initially labeled him as:

The biggest disadvantage Midnight Taboo faces is his post position of No. 8, where he has Oxbow to his left and Revolutionary to his right.

Midnight Taboo is not quite cut out for that type of competition so close to his proximity, but perhaps he can be a factor if he maintains their early pace. With a veteran jockey in Garrett Gomez in the saddle, this could be a Cinderella story worth monitoring.