If you have ever watched a race at Belmont, you’ll see sweeping turns where horses and riders get lost. Just ask Stewart Elliot. – A solid reins man who has shipped his tack to Kentucky turned for home three-to-the-good in the Belmont, and like a bolt of lightning. The camera angle changed, and you could see his runner was being reeled in. – The rider looked to have his mount close to the rail, but as they made the bend he was instantly in the five path. To say that “Big Sandy” is a tricky track is an understatement. Smarty Jones may have been the best horse that day, but not being used to the big oval can hurt the cause.
There have been 11 runners to be crowned the top prize in Thoroughbred racing. They have names like: Sir Barton/1919, Gallant Fox/1930, Omaha/1935, War Admiral /1937, Whirlaway/1941, Count Fleet/1943, Assault/1946, Citation /1948, Secretariat/1973, Seattle Slew/1977, and Affirmed/1978. Their fraternity is more than secret handshake, but more of a secret recipe of how to get better as the demands get tougher. Most were born of regal breeding and had the promise of great things. If the Triple Crown of past is sweet Champagne, then this year’s attempt is more like a beer and a shot. If you’re one that likes to root for the unlikely, the little guy, one counted out, or just looking down a long road. This race is for you. California Chrome steps up as the (3-5) chalk, and his breeding his breeding is anything more than regal. His style has been versatile, and now the talk is that if he goes to the lead. There will be a bevy of runners with fresh legs gunning him down in waves. If this is true, where were they for the Derby and the Preakness? I guess they all wanted to wait for a distance that they will never see again. Horse-hockey!
California Chrome made a believer out of me the hard way in the Derby, and the Preakness blew out the doubt for good. I loved the week of analysis and how the professionals tried to see through the clouds. I guess the Cal-bred thing is a hang-up for many, but according to my dad they can’t read and they don’t know what state they were born. Betting a short price runner is no big task, and anyone who enjoys chalk can hold on tight and line-up on the bridge. So, where does this handicapper lean? Here is my ticket:
#2 – California Chrome (3-5) on top of #4 – Commanding Curve, #11 – Tonalist, #9 – Wicked Strong, #1 – Medal Count, and #8 – Commissioner.
He will be my key in the $1.5 million dollar guaranteed pick four, and I am using the top three selections from Winning Ponies coming into the Belmont. For those that are following along with real-time results from the E-Z Win Forms, if you see the top three getting their picture taken. Know that I will be going strong in the final leg with the chalk. Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies, and enjoy the 146th running of the Belmont.