As we hit the first Saturday in June and are all crawling back out from under the rocks we were under, it is time to think about the final leg of the Triple Crown (which was the first leg in 2020, the year we'd all like to forget).
Can Rombauer continue to make history by being the only "new shooter" to win the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes?
Not likely. The full article about this can be found here.
Here are my thoughts on the 2021 Belmont Stakes.
#2 Essential Quality (2-1) - This son of Tapit is looking to follow in the footsteps of half-brothers Tonalist and Tapwrit who won the 2011 and 2014 Belmont Stakes. He can get the distance with this breeding and will make a huge step forward off of a troubled trip in both the Kentucky Derby and the Blue Grass (which he won) after romping home in the slop three back in the Southwest. He should get a fair, contested pace here which sets up for a big run late.
#6 Known Agenda (6-1) - Son of the great Curlin and half-brother to 2010 winner Palace Malice. He is another off the pace type who will need a new rider as Irad Ortiz, Jr is out for a couple weeks after a spill earlier this week at Belmont. He is a serious contender in this race and should have a similar trip to what he had in the Florida Derby.
#4 Hot Rod Charlie (7-2) - He figures to be close to the early pace that is expected to be set by Rock Your World. His breeding may be what holds him back here as the long stretch on "Big Sandy" may be too much for him in the last two furlongs.
#3 Rombauer (3-1) - He ran a heck of a race in the Preakness against a contested pace that set up perfectly for him, but falls short today. The reason I liked him so much in the Preakness (hidden form) is the same reason I am going with Essential Quality on top of my tickets.
#1 Bourbonic could be a factor late on the bottom of your tickets, as could the fading front runner #7 Rock Your World. I like #8 Overtook's breeding, but question his class in this spot despite the fact that the Peter Pan has been a good pipeline for horses making their first Triple Crown start and winning the Belmont Stakes. I expect little from #5 France Go de Ina.
Bottom line is that early speed doesn't fare well in the Belmont Stakes. All the horses should have a clean race without 20 starters breaking at the same time like the Kentucky Derby.