Here’s my capsule, horse-by-horse view of the Belmont Stakes:
1 GOVERNOR MALIBU in the money all 7 races lifetime, including wins in the Federico Tesio (a big win among minor tracks) and the Gander. 2nd in the Peter Pan last time out, in his first Graded race. Best speed figure at Belmont of this field with a 94 in the Peter Pan. A quick 23.6 turn time from that race, and a slower speed figure at that from prior suggests he’s got more in the tank today. Might require a slow, dead pace to win. Track bias should help him out (see Destin)
2 DESTIN won the Tampa Bay Derby and SF Davis along with his maiden debut. 6th in the Run for All Those Roses. As with Governor Malibu, Track bias is favoring early/presser types in routes this meet: 37% have won of his type, and 17% from first 3 posts. Only horse to improve on 2nd call first race after a layoff. 3 works at Belmont since then, 2 very fast. Needs a slow/slowing pace to win.
CHERRY WINE is yet to prove successful at top company, tho he did finish 2nd in the Preakness, 3rd in the Blue Grass and 4th in the Rebel, so he does belong here. With his 100 in the Preakness, he’s likely recovered in full from his winter layoff. Hit gate as he left the track, a miscue which may have cost him the Preakness. Deep closer, great stretch kick is best of this field.
Needs moderate to slow fractions to win.
SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS won the Southwest stakes. 5th in the KY Derby. Full pace recovery, while posting scores in the 90s last 4 races since his 2 months off. Owns 1 prior shipping win and has waited since the KY Derby to stretch from 10 furlongs. Generally needs above average pace for a win.
STRADIVARI won maiden level in 2nd try, then a 62k allowance. Both were won by double digit lengths. 4th in the Preakness. Very hard to rank him at all, as he is outclassed in all of the variables I use.
6 GETTYSBURG won his 3rd shot at maiden and hasn’t done much since. Todd Pletcher claimed him for this race. Only pure sprinter of the field, and a 2.2 second turn time gain between his last 2 races, leading field in those categories.
7 SEEKING THE SOUL broke maiden last out in his 3rd try. Only early closer of the field. Might bounce, as he increased speed figure by 9 points in both of his last 2 races.
8 FOREVER d’ORO also broke maiden in 3rd try. Has rather tight pattern of Brisnet figures, around 90 for all 3 lifetime races. Still, he seems outclassed here.
9 TROJAN NATION still technically a maiden, was 2nd in the Wood Memorial, 16th in the KY Derby. Only horse attempting to recover from a speed bounce.
10 LANI still a mystery horse tho he did post Brisnets in both of his North American races. 9th in the KY Derby, 5th in the Preakness. Best AWD numbers in the field (Tapit/Heavenly Romance, out of Sunday Silence). 3 Belmont works in prep, last one was very fast.
EXAGGERATOR, your Preakness winner as predicted here, is a classic deep closer, waiting for a pace collapse. Only horse here with small gain past his best at age 2. Winner also of the Santa Anita Derby,Delta Downs Jackpot and the Saratoga Special. Fastest by pace of this field. Good reliable figure patterns.
BRODY’S CAUSE won the Breeders Futurity and the Blue Grass Stakes. 7th in the KY Derby. Generally requires a fast pace. 3 shipping wins, and is also stretching out from his KY Derby effort.
CREATOR won the Arkansas Derby and then finished 13th in the KY Derby. Only thing I see in his favor is the fact that he put in 4 works, 1 at Belmont.
Suggested odds for selected horses: Lani 29-1. Governor Malibu 5-1. Cherry Wine 22-1. Suddenbreakingnews 22-1. Exaggerator 3-1. Gettysburg 7-1. Destin 2-1. Overlays: Destin, Gettysburg, Governor Malibu.
Top 4: Destin, Exaggerator, Gettysburg, Governor Malibu.