Key Stat: 6 of the last 8 Belmont Stakes winners have skipped the Preakness Stakes.
Quick Race Breakdown: The Belmont Stakes is the longest race of the Triple Crown. The mile and a half race often sees an upset winner due to the long distance. Like many others, I believe the distance will be too long for Shackleford, just like the Kentucky Derby was. Animal Kingdom is the strongest horse in this field, but I believe that the added distance will take away some of his closing ability due to tiring down near the end of the race. That leaves room for new contenders. Let’s take a look at my 2011 Belmont Stakes predictions.
Win: Master of Hounds
Master of Hounds had a late surge during the Kentucky Derby to finish fifth after a very rough trip. Starting from the #1 post has been great for past winners of the Belmont. Although he has traveled a long way back from Ireland, the rest he received after the Kentucky Derby, and the experience he gained from his first race on a dirt track will pay big dividends here. Expect him to stay in the middle of the pack and outlast the front runners at the wire.
Place: Brilliant Speed
Brilliant Speed is a descendant of Secretariat and has what it takes to run the entire distance of the Belmont. He is a great value anywhere around 15-1. His 7th place finish in the Kentucky derby is deceiving due to the crowded field. Jockeys are an important factor in the Belmont as well, and Joel Rosario knows the track very well.
Show: Nehro/Animal Kingdom
Nehro was my original pick to win the Belmont, but after some more research I strayed away from that decision and am now picking the two longshots above. Animal Kingdom will still have some closing power, but I will stick him at the backend of most exotic wagers while putting him in boxes just in case I am dead wrong. See specific wagers below.
Exacta: Box Master of Hounds, Brilliant Speed, and Animal Kingdom (1,5,9)
Trifecta: Box Master of Hounds Brilliant Speed, and Animal Kingdom (1,5,9). Also mix in Nehro on a couple of tickets.
Superfecta: 10 cent superfecta box (1,5,9,10) includes Master of Hounds, Brilliant Speed, Animal Kingdom, and Mucho Macho Man. Nehro is worth replacing Mucho Macho Man in a wager or two. I would also place the 1,5,9 on top with 1,5,9 for second and then add the 6 and 10 in Nehro and keep the 1,5,9,6,10 for fourth along with adding Shackleford, #12.
What else did I place?: 1,6, exacta box, 5 in exacta wagers over 1,9, and 10.
Better opinion than mine: Although my expertise lies in football, freelance writer Burton DeWitt is a dependable source for horse racing information and statistics. To see his article on Belmont Predictions, see the article here.