“Hey you, here’s a little secret, a hot tip you shouldn’t tell anyone. It’s a pearl. See that horse with one eye, he’s going to win the big one. Take it to the bank,” said no one ever. Until now.
Nothing against Patch, but this might not be the play of the day if Cloud Computing or Classic Empire made their way to New York for the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, but hey, that’s not Patch’s problem. Am I right?
Now, I know what you are thinking, since the heavies are taking this Belmont Stakes off, I’m letting my heart strings get tugged by the best story among those actually lining up. To this I say, do you know anything about me at all? I’m not the guy who yells, “Ooh, look at the pretty gray one, I’ll take him.” Or even worse, “His name is Greg’s Harmonica, I had a friend named Greg who played a harmonica, it a sign!”
Nope … not me. I’m here to cash a ticket, so this one-eyed wonder isn’t the pick because he makes for a great story, it’s because what’s going to happen next to him is actually going to set him up perfectly, even if he can’t see it.
Here’s the field for the Belmont Stakes:
1. Twisted Tom: So here are Chad Brown and Javier Castellano fresh off a Preakness Stakes win, but it’s going to take a lot more computing and some staring at the clouds to figure a way that Twisted Tom wins here. He hasn’t been tested in any real stakes capacity and doesn’t exactly post speed numbers that say there is a ceiling he’ll be breaking through. Now that said, I trust the Brown-Castellano combo and he shows stretch strength, so he’ll make my exotic bets.
2. Tapwrit: Recent history says he’s about to win. Tapit is the Belmont sire of all sires (see InstaBram below from last week for more). Plus, there is the roadmap of: race in the Derby, take the extra time off and come back in the Belmont fresh. The problem here is this guy was “unprepared” in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, which leads me to believe that maybe I shouldn’t assume anything. Clearly, he’s in every bet and clearly his best run can win, but I’m eyeing someone else.
3. Gormley: No, thank you. He got off to a good start at the Derby, got bumped and then backpedaled fast. He’s faded hard a few times, which means the distance here will be a huge problem.
4. J Boys Echo: He’s one of those “got crushed in traffic” at the Derby, so you can’t judge him on that. Maybe. He goes back to Robby Albarado, which in this case I think is a good call based on his experience riding him. And, because the field isn’t deep with big-time speed talent, clearly he has to be considered. Plus, his best races came on a New York track, including a win over Cloud Computing. The odds make him real, real tempting, too.
5. Hollywood Handsome: He does close, so if the pace is slow or the contenders are all off, maybe he slips into a triple or super bet, but his upside doesn’t scream contender here. I’m not going to dismiss him. In fact, I like him better then Gormley, but I’m not smelling a shocker.
6. Lookin At Lee: Amazingly this is the only entry who ran in both the Derby and Preakness. That can’t help his cause. The dream, inside trip made him a surprise second at Churchill Downs. Overlooked in his sixth-place finish at the Preakness was another very strong close. So assuming a better break, I’m not going to underestimate anything here.
7. Irish War Cry: He won the Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets and three of his other five lifetime races. Those other two were huge clunkers. More concerning was he doesn’t really have an excuse for the Kentucky Derby. Despite starting out of the 17 post, he was right off the pace and then weakened badly. Do that again and he’ll be off the board, which means big, fat payday number three for us Triple Crown gamblers.
8. Senior Investment: What a rally at the Preakness to finish third. And remember, Classic Empire decided to get Always Dreaming to run out of gas early. Only Cloud Computing had the goods to catch him. So without either of those two in front of him, logic says he might end up closer to the front at the finish line.
9. Meantime: He’s one of the few that seem to be OK here getting out front by the first turn. Considering his light experience and his last race at Belmont, in which he was caught in the stretch, it doesn’t seem very likely he’d lead from start to finish. Now, it’s not like he figures to go out particularly fast, so if the others don’t put too much pressure on him, he might hang around at the end.
10. Multiplier: He was no factor in the Preakness. So, were both he and the Illinois Derby race he won exposed for being not quite ready for prime time? Probably. My gut says this won’t be his day either.
11. Epicharis: With news of foot issues this week, I’m already jumping off this ship. If he does run, the biggest issue is trying to figure out what being runner up in the United Arab Emirates Derby meant. Thunder Snow won that race and then decided, at the most inopportune time, to not actually run in the Kentucky Derby.
12. Patch: So, Patch gets the 20 hole at the Derby, which means he was done before they opened the starting gate. Despite that, he was able to find himself midpack early but then checked and got bumped and became one of the famed Derby traffic victims. His previous race in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby also included a rough start, so now that they turned him over to John Velazquez, I wonder if some of those issues are mitigated. As you already know, I think he’s winning. Here’s why …
The Pick: Patch. The race looks like this to me ... who wants to front run? The only one from 1-10 is Twisted Tom, so maybe he does or, if he has a bad start, doesn’t. That means this, Patch should have no issue settling midpack or even right off pace early. Everyone else, with the exception of Meantime, is happy being multiple lengths off. So if they keep him out of trouble early, there is less of a likelihood they’ll he’ll run into recent issues again. I’m trusting Johnny V to time the move right and if so, it’ll be him nipping someone at the finish line.
The Full Milty — trifecta box: Tapwrit, J Boys Echo, Lookin At Lee, Irish War Cry, Senior Investment, Meantime, Patch.