Archive for June 2020

Belmont 2020 Picks and Analysis

June 20, 2020

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A strange rendition of the Belmont Stakes is fitting for these strange times, as the usual final leg of the Triple Crown switches to the first, and will be run as a 9f race around one turn in contrast to the normal 12f marathon test of champions. In addition to that, what was shaping up to be a battle of titans has turned into a seemingly one horse race after the injuries to the highly accomplished Bob Baffert colts Nadal and Charlatan. Here are some brief thoughts on the race, and more importantly, how to bet it.

TIZ THE LAW should be even money here- the 6-5 morning line probably won’t hold, and doesn’t appeal much from a betting standpoint even if it does. A winner of 4 of 5 career starts, this versatile son of Constitution holds the field high Beyer and Brisnet figures (101, 108) and has a win over the often challenging Belmont dirt track around one turn from last year’s Champagne. He’s well rested and has run well fresh historically, and drawing outside the speed seems liable to sit a pretty sweet stalking trip in this well-aimed spot. Simply put, there isn’t much to knock here, but from a betting standpoint given his likely odds, the value appears to be taking a stand keying him on top and looking narrowly for underneath types that could challenge him.

Timeform’s pace projector is calling for a fast pace, but we believe there is reason to doubt that analysis. If a slower than expected pace materializes, the likely beneficiary will be TAP IT TO WIN. Drawn on the rail on a track that is often kind of speed types, this well-bred son of Tapit out of a Medaglia d’Oro mare will be forced to the lead early with John Velazquez in the saddle, and maybe that isn’t a bad thing. He’s the only colt in the field with an average E1 speed rating over 90 (96). From an AWD standpoint, there’s not a better bred colt in the field for this distance (7.6/7.7), and trainer Mark Casse won two of three Triple Crown events a year ago. He has yet to run beyond 8.5f, but stacks up next best on speed figures (97 Beyer, 100 Brisnet), and enters on a class leap with field high last race figures following a commanding allowance win over this track. If FORE LEFT turns out to be cheap speed that can’t keep up on the lead, and PNEUMATIC takes back off the pace a bit more than he did in his last, this is the one scenario we can see that could compromise TIZ THE LAW from a pace standpoint; looms the most likely upsetter.

On the complete opposite side of the pace spectrum, the colt we really loved to be the one to clunk up for 2nd at 30-1 in the Kentucky Derby that would have been run a month and a half ago was SOLE VOLANTE. Wheeling back just ten days later after an allowance win for a one turn race that is likely shorter than what he was being targeted for isn’t exactly ideal, but he still hasn’t run beyond 8.5f, so the stretch out should benefit him even if this race still seems way too short. If Timeform is right and the pace does become hot up front, this is by far the best closer in the field (double 108 Brisnet Late Pace figures), and deserves a serious look.

Perhaps the most intriguing colt in the field in terms of upside is PNEUMATIC, who faded to 3rd against tough foes in the 8.5f Matt Winn last out. He may have been a bit too close to the pace that day though, and it’s notable that in all three of his career races, he has shown ascending Brisnet E1/E2/LP pace figures, which suggests that he will be better as distances increase. His pedigree seems to agree, but the key here breaking from the widest post of all will be to lay off the pace a bit.

One hard stand we will take is against the colt that came up as the third favorite on the morning line, DR. POST. At 5-1 he is difficult to back based on subpar speed figures beyond 7f and a pedigree that suggests this distance may be a bit further than he wants to go. Two closers to keep an eye on for superfecta players are FARMINGTON ROAD, who is always coming on late in races but has consistently delivered mid 90s Brisnet numbers in three straight starts at this distance, and MAX PLAYER, who looks like a bit of a wise-guy here. He turned in some strong works after a 140 day layoff following a 3rd place finish in the Withers but will need to move forward massively here. Then there’s MODERNIST, who seems to always be there at the end and could be forwardly placed as well, but is difficult to back in this spot given his middling speed figures and question marks at this track.

PICKS:

  1. Tiz the Law 6-5
  2. Tap It To Win 6-1
  3. Sole Volante 9-2
  4. Pneumatic 8-1

BETTING STRATEGY:

Trifecta Key: Tiz The Law/ Tap It To Win, Sole Volante/ Tap It To Win, Sole Volante (3 Units)

Trifecta Key: Tiz The Law/ Tap It To Win, Sole Volante, Pneumatic/ Tap It To Win, Sole Volante, Pneumatic (1 Unit)

Trifecta Box: Tiz The Law, Tap It To Win, Sole Volante (0.5 units)

Superfecta Box: Tiz The Law, Tap It To Win, Sole Volante, Pneumatic (0.1 units)