Friday, June 9, 2017

He's Going the Distance - 2017 Belmont Stakes Analysis

To quote some of the lyrics from “Going the Distance” by Cake:

Because he's racing and pacing and plotting the course
He's fighting and biting and riding on his horse
He's racing and pacing and plotting the course
He's fighting and biting and riding on his horse
He's going the distance
He's going for speed
He's going the distance

The Belmont Stakes is one of the toughest races to handicap. Horses are being asked to go two or more furlongs farther than they have ever gone before. For some entrants, they are trying a fast track around two turns for the first time. These three year olds are developing and maturing each day and many are more likely to improve than regress here. While pedigree seems to be playing less and less into the winners of the longer races for these young horses, you can’t simply ignore it. One of these horses will win. One of the will have to “go the distance”

Rather than get into great detail on the pace of this race, you can see my pace analysis video exclusively at US Racing. (This is my author link, all of my work for US Racing is compiled here and the video will be posted shortly).

So let’s get down to business.

Above you can see my figures and assessment for the field.

2 Tapwrit (6-1) – This son of Tapit has the breeding to run all day long. He was one of the many who had a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby yet still managed to grind his way from fifteenth to sixth. I’ll give him a pass on being unprepared at the start of the Bluegrass two races back and expect him to give chase to a contested early pace and make a big late run.

7 Irish War Cry (7-2) – Like so many others, we’ll give him a pass on his Kentucky Derby performance. I am expecting an effort similar to his big win in the Wood Memorial, but question his ability to command the last three furlongs here.

11 Epicharis (4-1) – While I am writing this, I am hearing that he was treated for lameness in Thursday morning but expects to run. He has shown a versatile running style, both on the front end and from off the pace. He ran a huge race only to lose in a photo to Thunder Snow in Dubai after a strong effort coming off the pace in Tokyo in the Hyacinth Stakes two back. I simply question his soundness and if he can get the distance here.

10 Multiplier (15-1) – Again owns the top Pace Based Speed Rating (PBSR) in this group as he did in the Preakness. The slower fractions here should help his chances, but I am not seeing the most likely winner here being a closer. I suspect that he will be short, but factor in your exotics.

 6 Lookin At Lee (5-1) – I underestimated him going into the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Yet despite a clean trip, he wasn’t going to catch Always Dreaming in the Derby. Once again, he has a big late move, but I still don’t think it is enough for him to win. I only added him  here since I am not sure that Epicharis will run.

Potential for Value:  Moderate (you’ll have to do that on the bottoms of your tickets)
Confidence:  Low (My most probable pace scenario is only at 30% likelihood)

So what am I toying with playing?

Win/Place/Show – 2
Small Exacta – 2, 7 with 2, 6, 7, 10, 11
Small Trifecta – 2, 7 with 2, 6, 7, 10, 11 with 2, 6, 7, 10, 11
Small Superfecta  Box  2, 6, 7, 10, 11

We'll see what the weather looks like and if there are any scratches or changes first.

So sit back and enjoy the race!