RECAP of BWE for The BELMONT Saturday 7 June 2014

This week we went to Belmont for the 146th running of THE BELMONT, 3rd jewel of the Triple Crown. It is a G1 stakes race run at 1 1/2 mile on the dirt, for three year olds, carrying 126 lbs with a Purse of $1,500,000. The weather was clear and the track was rated as fast.

In our weekly Bet with El write-up for PREMIUM MEMBERS Only we mentioned that California Chrome had the physical and mental ability to win the race and that it was very much dependent on how the jockey, Victor Espinoza, would rate the horse. We also mentioned that it would spell disaster if California Chrome got stuck on the rail early on, something we predicted could happen and in fact did happen. That is not how this horse likes to run and Victor had to take him off the rail and come around other horses to get a clear path to run. However, by that time, California Chrome was beginning to run on fumes and ran out of gas in the long Belmont stretch to finish out of the money. California Chrome barely held on for 4th in a dead heat with Wicked Strong. The long drought of no Triple Crown winner for 36 years continues.

Noting that we picked California Chrome to Win and Tonalist as a Longshot: The fact that we have had no Triple Crown winner in 36  years points to the fact that today’s horses in the US are being bred for speed and not for stamina which The Belmont requires. The winner of this year’s Belmont, Tonalist, had stamina in his breeding as we mentioned in our weekly Bet with El write-up. Tonalist has Tapit as his sire and Pleasant Colony on his dam side. We knew that with that breeding and assuming he inherited the “right genes”, he could carry the distance. With Christopher Clement as his “patient” trainer and Joel Rosario as his jockey, we predicted that this horse could WIN. We picked him as our Long Shot in our weekly Bet with El. As we correctly predicted, Tonalist took the WIN by a nose, finishing IN THE MONEY. Tonalist went off at odds of 9.20 for a handsome return of  $20.40, $9.60, and $7.00 for the win, place, and show  respectively.

Additional thoughts re the outcome of the race:  Comments made by one of its owners after the race called for a change in the eligibility of entry of horses into The Belmont, specifically “only horses that had run in the KY Derby and the Preakness would be eligible to run in The Belmont”. Although at first blush that format may have merit from a fairness perspective, in reality the Triple Crown is not about limiting the field to only those horses that qualified for the KY Derby and then run in all three races.  Rather, the Triple Crown is for that horse that can effectively compete against any horse, fresh or not, so he is deserving of THE CROWN.

 A Triple Crown winner together with his jockey should be able to overcome any adverse condition, no matter what is thrown at him. The fact that California Chrome got boxed in and ran out of gas when he got into the clear says that he was not a horse worthy of the Triple Crown, however disappointing to his owners and all the rest of us.   We do not believe that a change in entry eligibility should be    entertained. THE CROWN has to go to the strongest, fittest, and best horse that demonstrates his mettle under any circumstance and condition to take the win . The Triple Crown races as structured today is a marathon endurance test in which a rather young horse has to show speed and stamina over a 5 week period.

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