I’ve been away from covering sports, as I’m focused on moving from WA to TX. The Lone Star State beckons with opportunity to grow in my day career. The side career with handicapping I fully intend to continue once I do have a firmer financial footing.
Meanwhile, the Belmont Stakes is this Saturday. Avoiding the stacked undercard, here’s my capsule thoughts on each horse.
WInner of the Long Branch at Monmouth on a sloppy track. Prior to this, was 7th in the Wood Memorial. 2nd in the Private Terms and Jimmy Winkfield (99 BRIS for the latter). Lone sprinter of the field. From 49 route races at Belmont during the meet, 45% have been sprinters and from posts 1-7.
My odds: 7-2
One win in 11 starts, his maiden debut last summer. Increased from 86 to 94 last time out, finishing 2nd in the Preakness. That 94 score matched his lifetime best.
Concerning the gain, he will likely take more $ than others.
Finally figured something about him since his 7th place result in the Kentucky Derby. He managed a 95 Brisnet score. Julien Leparoux and Koichi Tsunoda haven’t yet appeared at Belmont yet.
Prediction: 10th and last.
TAX was 15th in the Kentucky Derby, bouncing from 3 triple figure scores to an 83. Prior shipping win, prior stretchout win, off since May 4.
BOURBON WAR: 8th in the Preakness, bounced from 94 to 85. Only late closer in the field. Also, only horse here 2nd after layoff who increased at 1st or 2nd call.
SPINOFF was in contention in each of 4 lifetime starts before a tough 18th place finish in the KY Derby. Similar to Tax, there’s reason for a bounce back, owing to prior shipping and stretchout wins, plus the one month layoff.
SIR WINSTON won his 2 lifetime races at Woodbine last fall at age 2. No success yet in his Graded efforts in 2019, tho his BRIS numbers have climbed for the most part. Peaked at 101 last time out, finishing 2nd in the Peter Pan here at Belmont. That race proved he had shaken off enough rust following a winter layoff. It also was a rather wide trip.
INTREPID HEART won his first 2 starts, then finished 3rd in the Peter Pan, with scores from 91 to 96 between all 3. Does not rank in any of my variables.
WAR OF WILL, your Preakness winner, continues to have best AWD numbers of his fields (War Front/Visions Of Clarity, out of Sadler’s Wells). Unfortunately, he doesn’t rank anywhere else in my variables.
TACITUS ranks as the true speed of the field. Last 3 BRIS numbers: 96, 103, 95, a solid pattern. Never worse than 4 in all 5 starts. Also owns prior shipping and stretchout wins, and last raced a month ago. Best works of the field, 3 at Belmont, all fast, 1 a bullet.
Top 3: 10-1-7 Tacitus, Joevia, Sir Winston.
Overlays: Joevia, Sir Winston
Tacitus and War of Will should be used as likely favorites over the likely overlays (whom I also would play straight wins on)