The Belmont is quickly approaching. After Animal Kingdom pulled off an upset in the Kentucky Derby and Shackleford overcame 12:1 odds at the Preakness, the Belmont seems to be anyone's game.
Early lines for the Belmont have been released. The race is being built up as a three-horse race, as anticipated.
Let's take a look at the betting odds for each horse in the Belmont, along with a brief analysis of every horse, starting with the long shots.
Monzon is coming off of a sixth place finish at the Peter Pan, which isn't a very impressive run for a horse involved in the Triple Crown.
That being said, Monzon has decent speed. He reportedly ran a swift six-furlong drill in late May that has to be encouraging for jockey Jose Lezcano. Even so, this horse is in way over his head here.
I give this horse no chance at even showing in this race. A Sagamore Farm horse having 30:1 odds would have attracted a lot of bettors once upon a time. Unfortunately, that isn't the case here.
Isn't He Perfect finished ninth in the Preakness. He routinely finishes in the middle of the pack and could easily have a worse running at the Belmont than he did at the Preakness.
He has two career victories, but will probably finish better than at the back of the pack. He gets his name from the initial reaction his owner and trainer had upon seeing him.
Isn't He Average may have been a more fitting name.
Stay Thirsty had a 12th place finish at the Kentucky Derby. The Belmont is a longer race than the Derby, but a poor showing at the Derby is usually a good indication that the horse will struggle at the Belmont.
Stay Thirsty's opening odds are the exact same as they were at the Kentucky Derby. He took the Grade III Gotham stakes, which made his run at the Derby somewhat anticlimactic.
A top 10 finish is probably the best case scenario for Stay Thirsty, my friends.
Ruler On Ice bowed out of the Preakness and didn't run at the Kentucky Derby, which makes him one of the true enigmas of this race.
He's raced four times this year and shown all four times. He faces tougher competition here, but it's hard to completely discount a horse like Ruler On Ice.
Many people wrote off Animal Kingdom prior to the Kentucky Derby. Horse racing rarely works out the way it "should."
The Belmont will be Santiva's first race, since he took sixth in the Kentucky Derby. The one-and-a-half-mile track seems to adhere to Santiva's racing style, moreso than any other leg in the Triple Crown.
A sixth place finish at the Kentucky Derby could be an indication of even better things to come at the Belmont. Don't be surprised to see this horse show at the Belmont, though 15:1 sounds accurate.
He finished five-and-a-half lengths behind Animal Kingdom at the Derby. The added track length could make room for a huge upset.
Three horses have opening odds of 15:1. It's an intriguing group, and Brilliant Speed is perhaps the most intriguing of the group.
Brilliant Speed showcased tremendous closing speed at the Grade 1 Bluegrass stakes. Like Santiva, Brilliant Speed benefits from a long track. His racing style allows him to cover a ridiculous amount of ground in the final stretch of the race.
He might not have Animal Kingdom's ability to finish a race, but Shackleford is a testament that one good day can make for a huge upset.
Prime Cut missed most of his two-year-old season due to illness. He doesn't have the track record of many other horses running in the Belmont, but he has been turning heads as of late.
This dark horse candidate finished third in the Belmont Peter Pan. He worked five furlongs in 1:01. It seems as though he may be primed for an upset, but it's hard to gauge how he will handle the competition.
Master Of Hounds finished fifth at the Kentucky Derby, despite being a 30:1 long shot prior to the race. Inside draw isn't going to help him whatsoever at the Belmont, which makes the 10:1 a bit generous.
Drawing the rail isn't the end of the world for the horse, especially in a race this length. He will have plenty of time to overcome the draw, but he's still unlikely to show, even under ideal circumstances.
This horse would be a lot more likeable if he had 20:1 odds. It's hard to feel comfortable betting on him with 10:1 odds, despite a decent showing at the Derby.
Mucho Macho Man was built up as a horse that was "made for the Preakness." After an impressive third place finish at the Kentucky Derby, it seemed as though this physical marvel was going to dazzle spectators in a shorter race.
He's got phenomenal sprinting speed, but finished a disappointing sixth in the Preakness. Could it be that he simply had one bad run?
Mucho Macho Man is still a bettable horse. He doesn't have the edge on Animal Kingdom in stamina or sprinting speed, but 10:1 odds make him appealing. He's lost some of the mystique he had heading into the Preakness, which could be beneficial from a betting perspective.
A fourth place finish at the Kentucky Derby and first place finish at the Preakness have made for a successful stint at the 2011 Triple Crown for Shackleford, regardless of what happens at the Belmont.
He narrowly escaped Animal Kingdom at the Preakness. The longer track doesn't adhere to his strengths, but he has proven he can hold his own in a lengthy race.
I don't expect Shackleford to finish in the top three, due to the one-and-a-half-mile track length, but a top five finish seems to be in his immediate future.
Nehro backed out of the Preakness, but probably would have fared well, had he partaken in it. He finished second to Animal Kingdom in the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Steve Asmussen isn't going to be looking to put forth a horse who shows, he's going to be gunning for a victory here.
The Kentucky Derby is being built up as a three-horse race. It's hard to bet on a horse with this sort of layover, but Nehro has validated his odds nearly every time he has raced. Expect a top three finish.
Animal Kingdom narrowly lost the Preakness, which means he is no longer competing for a Triple Crown. Even so, two first place finishes and a second place finish isn't a bad outing at the Triple Crown.
Animal Kingdom has great straight away sprinting speed and tremendous closing speed. Horses who are built for all three legs of the Triple Crown are very rare, which is why winning all three legs is such an elusive feat.
His workouts have been incredible and the 2:1 are as close as you will see to a "sure thing." As we all know, there is no such thing as a sure thing. Animal Kingdom is the odds-on favorite, but stranger things have happened.