Betting news, trends, odds and predictions from various handicappers and websites for Saturday 6/8/19
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By Anthony Stabile
PP - Horse ML Odds Jockey (Belmont Record) Trainer (Belmont Record)
1 – Joevia 30/1 Jose Lezcano (0-4) Greg Sacco (Debut)
Notes: Winner of the Long Branch at Monmouth most recently, the assumption is the connections are taking a shot at just wiring the field. He’s got plenty of speed and the leading rider at the meet but I don’t think it’s enough. He’s never run a race that is anywhere near fast enough to compete here and has to negotiate all of that added distance. Not for me.
2 – Everfast 12/1 Luis Saez (0-3) Dale Romans (0-10)
Notes: The Jekyll and Hyde of the crop, if you will, when you peruse his past performances. He throws a lot of clunkers in there but sometimes he runs a big one, like his runner-up finish in the Holy Bull back in February at Gulfstream when he was over 128-1 or last time in the Preakness when he finished second at almost 30-1. I don’t know about the rest of his starts but that effort last time was due in large part to a brilliant ride from Rosario. He realized the inside part of the track at Pimlico was the place to be and allowed this guy to make his stretch run along the rail. He’s never run two good races in a row. What makes me think he’s going to start in the Belmont? Pass.
3 – Master Fencer 8/1 Julien Leparoux (0-3) Koichi Tsunoda (Debut)
Notes: I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: the key to handicapping the Belmont Stakes is the Kentucky Derby. That sounds simple and generic but I cannot stress this point enough. Watch the replay of the Derby as much as you can. Isolate the runners coming back in the Belmont and look at how the finish up. You are NOT looking for the steamroll move, like the one this guy put in. Horses that make his move are optical illusions. They are picking up tired horses who are coming back to them just as much as they are picking them up. I’ll explain what you’re looking for later. This colt did not have a good time last week, missed a touch of training and simply hasn’t impressed at all in the morning. Some will chalk it up to the Japanese horses training differently but I’m not buying it. He’s not for me.
4 – Tax 15/1 Irad Ortiz, Jr. (1-5) Danny Gargan (Debut)
Notes: In a race like the Kentucky Derby, especially this renewal, that’s often filled with traffic and bad trips, this gelding had one of the easiest trips in recent memory and didn’t run a step. Maybe he didn’t handle the wet track. That could very well be the case and he flies in here under the radar at a big price and gives a good showing. I wouldn’t be stunned by that scenario but I believe it’s more likely the distance limitations I thought he may have are what really got to him last time. And if he can’t get 10 furlongs common sense suggests he won’t get 12. I’m tossing him.
5 – Bourbon War 12/1 Mike Smith (3-20) Mark Hennig (0-1)
Notes: My Preakness selection turned into the “wiseguy” horse as he was sent to post at 5-1. I was stunned. The only thing that surprised me more was his non-effort. He didn’t run at all. They’re blaming the blinkers he wore for the first time and they are coming off for this. I know equipment changes backfire sometimes but that was ridiculous. Hoping it was a combination of the blinkers and maybe him needing a race off of a seven-week break. One of three sons of Tapit in here, he must be respected on his pedigree alone but you lost some value when Money Mike climbed aboard. I’m going to use him in my exotic wagers.
6 – Spinoff 15/1 Javier Castellano (0-12) Todd Pletcher (3-26)
Notes: This guy is the “wiseguy” horse for the Belmont. Bad post, sloppy track, chased pace….just some of his Derby excuses. Now he’s had five weeks between starts, picks up a Hall of Fame rider and his trainer has a solid record in this event. All makes sense BUT he was another who had a pretty clean trip in the Derby that didn’t make the slightest impact. His Louisiana Derby effort was solid and the race produced Derby winner Country House and Preakness winner War of Will but they far from fired their best shots that day. The horses who did aren’t much. One of those who I’m passing on but I can understand why some may like him.
7 – Sir Winston 21/1 Joel Rosario (1-7) Mark Casse (Debut)
Notes: Ran the race of his life when he made up close to 10 lengths in the stretch of the traditional Belmont Park prep for this, the Peter Pan. He’s usually making up ground at the end of his races but rarely gets his picture taken because he leaves himself with too much to do. It’s tough for one-run closers like him to win this race despite the legend that they love the extra distance. There doesn’t appear to be enough speed in here for a complete collapse on the front end that would afford him the chance to win but I’ll be using him in all of my exotic plays.
8 – Intrepid Heart 10/1 John Velazquez (2-22) Todd Pletcher (3-26)
Notes: He looked good winning the first two starts of his career but disappointed in the Peter Pan when he stumbled at the start from his rail draw. Johnny V had the choice of the two Pletcher runners and chose him. He also suggested a pair of blinkers for this, not to put more speed into him, but to get him to focus more. He’s another by Tapit and a half brother to 2014 Belmont Stakes runner-up Commissioner. I can’t imagine he’ll be too far from the lead. At some point, he’ll likely be in front, on the far turn, I imagine. It’ll be up to him from there. I’m a big fan of his and will be using him in all of my exotic plays.
9 – War of Will 2/1 Tyler Gaffalione (Debut) Mark Casse (Debut)
Notes: He’s the only horses to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown this year, if he finds a way to win this, that number of “what if’s” will be endless. I think there’s a good chance he’d have won the Derby if Maximum Security didn’t get in his way and he came back with a very nice win in the Preakness. A closer look at the Preakness, however, and you realize just how watered down it was going in and the amount of disappointing efforts coming out of the event. Combine that with the fact that he sat a perfect trip and that he hasn’t overwhelmed in the mornings since (Casse cancelled an intended workout) and you have the makings of getting the second choice (co-favorite perhaps?) out of the gimmicks. I’m tossing him in here but have nothing for respect for him as a racehorse.
10 – Tacitus 9/5 Jose Ortiz (1-4) Bill Mott (1-7)
Notes: In any other year, he’d have been the one people would have been talking about, trip-wise anyway, out of the Derby. He was much further back that I think anyone imagined he’d be and lost some momentum at least three times during the race. After the race, it was said that he traveled the equivalent of nine lengths more than the winner. But when you almost have half the field wiped out, no one is going to talk about that. Look, I’m giving you ice in the winter here. He’s the pick but he’s likely going to be under 2-1. I will say this. I don’t think he can lose. I have as much confidence in him as any pick I’ve made in this race. I’m not making any boxes or any savers. He’s my single in all multi-race wagers and key horse in all exotic plays.
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Belmont Stakes Betting Preview and Picks
Tacitus and War of Will are the top two choices to win Saturday’s Belmont Stakes that can be seen on NBC. This year’s Belmont Stakes will not have as much excitement as previous years, as there is no Triple Crown on the line, but at least the race will have ten horses entered and that means we should have some betting value.
Let’s look at the race and Belmont Stakes picks.
2019 Belmont Stakes Odds
1 Joevia 30/1
2 Everfast 12/1
3 Master Fencer 8/1
4 Tax 15/1
5 Bourbon War 12/1
6 Spinoff 15/1
7 Sir Winston 12/1
8 Intrepid Heart 10/1
9 War of Will 2/1
10 Tacitus 9/5
There are two horses in this race and then everyone else. Tacitus and War of Will are the top two betting choices and one of them will go off as the race favorite. War of Will is coming off a win in the Preakness and the horse is looking to become the first one since Afleet Alex in 2005 to win the Preakness and Belmont after finishing fourth or worse in the Kentucky Derby.
Tacitus finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and then didn’t race in the Preakness. The horse is trained by Bill Mott who won the Belmont in 2010 with Drosselmeyer. Both of these horses are getting a lot of respect from the betting public and it would not be a surprise to see them go off at odds of less than 2-1.
You can almost throw a net over the rest of the field, as there is nothing of note to separate these horses. Joevia has done next to nothing in his career and should be a big longshot. Everfast was a surprising second in the Preakness, but doesn’t seem like a horse that is going to like a mile and a half.
Master Fencer should like the added distance and he will have Julien Leparoux in the irons, so he might be worth a look. Tax was a bust in the Kentucky Derby and looks overvalued. Bourbon War was a complete disaster in the Preakness, but he does have Mike Smith in the irons, so perhaps a bounce back is possible. Spinoff was awful in the Derby, but he is trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano. Sir Winston was a runner-up in the Peter Pan at Belmont and Intrepid Heart finished third in the Peter Pan and he is trained by Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez.
Belmont Stakes Picks
There is not much value in backing Tacitus or War of Will, so we’ll go with Master Fencer and Bourbon War with win bets. Master Fencer is expected to love the added distance. “He has a big heart and big lungs and is better suited to the longer distance,” Master Fencer’s regular exercise rider, Yosuke Kono said to the media, “He is not the type to make crazy speed. He has a long, strong late kick. For him, the mile and a half will be a lot better.”
Bourbon War was a complete no show in the Preakness and his trainer, Mark Hennig has no idea why. “There’s no indication why he threw in that race,” Hennig said to the media, “If you look at the chart of the race, he went from eighth, to 11th, to eighth — maybe when he was taken outside on the backside he thought he was supposed to ease up because he was out of the bridle for about a quarter-mile, then picked it up again in the stretch.” Keep in mind that Mike Smith has won the Belmont three times in his career.
We are looking to hit a big ticket in the Belmont and that means boxing some horses together in the exacta and trifecta. We think Tacitus definitely has a good chance to win, but we don’t like the 9-5 odds. We’ll box Tacticus, Bourbon War and Master Fencer in an exacta and for the trifecta box we’ll add Intrepid Heart to those previous three.
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