2010 Belmont Stakes: Ranking Contenders for the Final Triple Crown Race
We don't like to brag in these parts, but we're feeling like professional handicappers after the first two legs of horse racing's triple crown.
You want a Kentucky Derby winner? We nailed it.
You need a Preakness champ? We got that, too.
You're dying to know who will win the Belmont? Same here.
I spent many of the weekends of my early adult life at the Long Island racetrack and yet, I'm feeling rather baffled as to who will win the 2010 Belmont Stakes.
The field is simply too wide open, with Derby winner Super Saver and Preakness winner Lookin at Lucky staying away from New York.
The sportsbooks have stated their early favorites, but your winner is likely in the longer shots.
Let's take a look at the odds and some thoughts on the horses.
10. Interactif (12-1)
This is a grass and synthetic beauty that is getting some love with Todd Pletcher training.
I don't think the sand of Belmont is a good fit here.
9. Stately Victor (15-1)
Eighth place at the Kentucky Derby would be good for most horses. Not this one.
His running style is tailor made for Belmont. That's how unimpressed I was with the horse at Churchill Downs.
I'm staying away.
8. Game On Dude (10-1)
I love the name.
I love the pedigree—with Bob Baffert training and Martin Garcia on the mount, there's plenty to like.
I don't think traffic will be a factor, but I hate the eighth post position at Belmont.
That's why I jump off the bandwagon right there.
7. Make Music For Me (10-1)
This horse is getting love simply because it's one of four Derby holdovers.
For me, it was the most unimpressive fourth place finish you'll ever see in a Derby. Sure, it came from the back of the field with a huge end rush.
I'm off this horse for the glass-half-full reasoning. Why was this horse in the back of the field for so long? I don't think it has enough to run the kind of even-keeled race with a late push that will win here.
6. Dave In Dixie (20-1)
Calvin Borel is the big-name jockey in the field but he's trying to fight off some bad karma.
He had a very ugly ride in the Preakness an even worse ride in the Belmont last year.
I left off Spangled Star (30-1) and Stay Put (20-1), the other early longshots in this field, because I don't think they've showed enough to even be in the field.
This horse has some guts. Combine that with Borel's motivation and he could get in the money.
5. Fly Down (9-2)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
If you go by the horse liking the track, this is a no-brainer pick. Thusly, he's a top-of-the-pack odds pick.
Fly Down won the Dwyer at Belmont in a six-length demolition of the field.
John Velazquez is a stud, so to hedge my bets, it would be no shock if Fly Down actually won again. Nick Zito knows what it takes to win here.
That said, I just don't like being where the easy money is.
4. Ice Box (3-1)
A lot of pundits are saying that this horse was the true winner of the Kentucky Derby if you look at who ran the best race. Traffic relegated Ice Box to a second-place finish.
That's rubbish. Traffic is a part of the game. Sure, the horse won't have to deal with as much of that at Belmont. Yes, the horse won the Florida Derby. But this is the Triple Crown, man.
Something tells me this is a horse who rises or falls to the level of the competition. If you look at what he did at Kentucky against the best of the best, he should win this going away.
I just don't see it happening. I see jockey Jose Lezcano getting lulled into a slower race and never quite jumping at the right spot.
3. Uptowncharlybrown (10-1)
Strength and stamina win at Belmont. That's why I'm liking this horse.
It has shown an ability for patience combined with the power to turn on the after burners at the right spot.
A third place finish at the April 17 Lexington Stakes is nothing to get excited about, but I'm looking at the horse's full resume.
There's a feel-good story here as well. Trainer Kieran McLaughlin took over when 62-year-old original trainer Alan Sewald passed away April 12.
Rajiv Maragh is the only reason I'm not picking the horse—not a big fan of this jockey, but the horse has enough to overcome his shortcomings.
If he is able to pull off the win, the winners' circle could be mighty crowded. The horse is co-owned by 59 partners.
2. First Dude (7-2)
If you believe in the power of the trainer, your money is likely going here.
Dale Romans took third at the Derby with Paddy O'Prado and second at the Preakness with this beauty.
So what can be learned from Ramon Dominguez's ride in Maryland?
First Dude has even less speedsters to contend with in New York, so he's likely going to jump to the front again.
I just don't think this horse has the closing power. Look for another second. Same 11 hole from the post as the Preakness and same result.
1. Drosselmeyer (12-1)
I'm putting my streak in serious jeopardy here because this horse is a wild card.
This horse ran second to Fly Down at the May 8 Dwyer at Belmont. There were plenty of lessons to be learned there.
But the reason I'm high on this horse is the jockey.
Mike Smith became a legit jockey in New York on the tracks at Saratoga and Belmont. He knows every intricacy of this track.
It's bizarre to me that he needs a win at Belmont to complete a career Triple Crown. He's taking over the horse from Kent Desormeaux and I think he's just the change that this horse needs to take a big race.