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Belmont Stakes Preview

Joseph CiracoCorrespondent IJune 5, 2009

When I bought the daily race form today, I really thought the Belmont Stakes was going to be a 2 horse race-between front running Charitable Man and late charging Mine That Bird.

 Now that I've handicapped the race, I see a few horses that could win the final leg of the triple crown. Who wins will depend on both the condition of the track tomorrow and the early fractions.

Charitable Man should be on the lead from the time the gate opens. The only other speed horse is Miner's Escape but based on previous races, he doesn't have the natural speed to compete with Alan Garcia and Charitable Man.

Based on his race at Belmont on May 9th, Charitable Man is capable of running the first mile of this triple crown race in just over 1:34. That should put Charitable Man in wonderful position as they come around the far turn at Belmont.

This is where I feel Dunkirk will make the first move at the front runner. I'm throwing out Dunkirk's performance at the Kentucky Derby. When a horse stumbles and is steadied in a 20 horse race, you can forget about that horse winning 99% of the time.

If Dunkirk can run like he did in the Florida Derby, where he ran 9 furlongs in just over 1:47, he will be in contention to win.

As the come to the top of the stretch, Charitable Man and Dunkirk should be a few lengths ahead of the field.  That won't last though-Mine That Bird, Flying Private and even Brave Victory should be mounting late charges.

I think Charitable Man will hold on and defeat both Mine That Bird and Dunkirk to win the Belmont Stakes. 

Charitable Man is 2 for 2 at Belmont and won his only race on an off track, so those are two very important things to take into consideration. 

Mine That Bird should also love any moisture on the track and the added distance but without a lot of speed to push Charitable Man, the early fractions should be very modest.

I really like Dunkirk to run a big race.  This $3.7 million dollar buy has been a bit of a disappointment so far, but he could steal the spotlight and it wouldn't shock me at all.

If you're betting this race, you should be thrilled because you should get a very good price on any horse, even the favorites.  Both Charitable Man and Mine That Bird should go off around 3:1, which is very fair considering only 10 horses are entered and a few really have no chance.

Charitable Man will make it 3 for 3 at Belmont and win the Belmont Stakes but it wouldn't shock me if Dunkirk passed Charitable Man with 100 yards to go and won.

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