Now that I’ll Have Another has retired from racing because of a swollen left front tendon, thus eliminating the possibility of a Triple Crown winner, the field is wide open for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. Not that the heavy 4-5 betting favorite was guaranteed to win. Afterall, the Belmont Stakes 1½-mile distance has stopped 11 previous horses’ attempts at winning the Triple Crown. So, who should you be putting your hard-earned $2 wager on at the nearest OTB?
The 5-1 second choice on the morning line is Dullahan, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes this spring and a closing third in the Derby. Ridden by Javier Castellano, Dullahan drew post five, the same spot from which he raced in the Derby.
Union Rags (6-1), who finished seventh as the 5-1 second choice in the Derby, will break from post three, but will have a new rider in John Velazquez.
Paynter (8-1), trained by Bob Baffert, finished fourth behind I’ll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby in just his second start.
The late-running Street Life (12-1) is coming off a third-place finish in the Peter Pan Stakes May 12 at Belmont.
Optimizer (20-1), who ran 11th in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Preakness, hopes to earn trainer D. Wayne Lukas his fifth Belmont Stakes victory.
The rest of the field doesn’t offer much promise:
2. Unstoppable U (30-1)
4. Atigun (30-1)
6. Ravelo’s Boy (50-1)
7. Five Sixteen (50-1)
8. Guywna Star Dweej (50-1)
12. My Adonis (20-1)
This Belmont Stakes has two hot trendy horses in Dullahan and Paynter, and given the weak field, must be given consideration this time around. My choices are:
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2. Union Rags
4. Street Life
So, who do you like and why? And, remember to bet with your head, not over it.