2018 Belmont Stakes Early Preview

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May 26th 2018 – Updated May 29th 2018 6:00 PM CST

We are now two weeks away from the final leg of the Triple Crown. Below is an early look at the 2018 Belmont Stakes field. I have included my best guess on their morning line odds.

Thus far, it appears to be Justify with a field of closers and little early speed which bodes well for those of us who will be there hoping to see the 13th Triple Crown champion.

Looking at Brisnet Past Performances for this Belmont Stakes field (CLICK HERE), Justify has Prime Power rating of 161.0 that is more than 10 over the next colt in this field (146.1 – Vino Rosso). Historically, this equates to a 55% win percentage for Justify in this race.

When looking at the past 25 years of Belmont Stakes winners, 17 of 25 raced in the Kentucky Derby. Only 7 colts who won the Belmont Stakes were new shooters (those making their first appearance in a Triple Crown race). Only 1 of the winners came out of the Preakness Stakes that didn’t also race in the Kentucky Derby.

My best guess, the only horse in this field that can beat Justify in this field is Vino Rosso. If you are trying to beat Justify, he’s your horse. Well rested, he will have 35 days layoff between races. Trained by Todd Pletcher who is one of the best at training colts for the Mile and a Half. Justify’s worst Beyer Speed Figure is 97. Vino Rosso is the only colt in this potential field who had eclipsed that figure.

2018 Belmont Stakes Potential Entries

1) Justify (4/5) – The 2018 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner. He will attempt to become the 13th Triple Crown champion.

Career: 5 Starts 5-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 3
Last 3 starts:  1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2001 & 2015 Belmont Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (2010 & 2013 Belmont Stakes Winner)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 107 – 2018 Santa Anita Derby

2) Bravazo (4/1) – The Risen Star Stakes winner had the best run of his career in the Preakness Stakes, finishing 2nd behind Justify by a half length. Trained by four time Belmont Stakes winner D. Wayne Lukas. Bravazo will be the 2nd favorite with bettors on Belmont Stakes day. He was coming like a runaway freight train in that last furlong in the Preakness Stakes and made the race interesting.

Career: 10 Starts 3-2-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 8th–>6th–>2nd
Sire: Awesome Again
Trainer: D.Wayne Lukas (1994, 1995, 1996 & 2000 Belmont Stakes.Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Luis Saez
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 96 – 2018 Preakness Stakes

3) Hofburg (6/1) – After a 2nd place finish in the Florida Derby (shown below), Hofburg followed up this effort with a 7th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. He has a former Belmont Stakes winning trainer and jockey in his corner.

Career: 4 Starts 1-1-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>7th
Sire: Tapit 
Trainer: William Mott (2010 Belmont Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr (2016 Belmont Stakes Winner)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Florida Derby

4) Vino Rosso (8/1) The Wood Memorial winner. He finished 9th in the Kentucky Derby. He has a proven Belmont Stakes winning trainer and jockey behind him.

Career: 6 Starts 3-0-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>9th
Sire: Curlin (Finished 2nd in the 2007 Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2007, 2013 & 2017 Belmont Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: John Velasquez (2007 and 2012 Belmont Stakes Winner)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 98 – 2018 Wood Memorial

5) Tenfold (10/1) – The Steve Asmussen-trained colt finished 5th in the Arkansas Derby and had a surprising 3rd place finish in the Preakness Stakes.

Career: 4 Starts 2-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  1st–>5th–>3rd
Sire: Curlin (Finished 2nd in the 2007 Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2016 Belmont Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Preakness Stakes

6) Noble Indy (15/1) – The surprise winner of the 2018 Louisiana Derby winner.  He bombed in the sloppy Kentucky Derby with a 17th place finish. Trained by Todd Pletcher who is one of the best at preparing 3-year-old colts for the mile and a half.

Career: 5 Starts 3-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  3rd–>1st–>17th
Sire: Take Charge Indy 
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2007, 2013 & 2017 Belmont Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Louisiana Derby

7) Blended Citizen (20/1) – The Peter Pan Stakes winner, so you know he likes Belmont Park’s track surface. He finished 5th in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Career: 10 Starts 3-0-2-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  1st–>5th–>1st
Sire: Proud Citizen (Finished 5th in the 2002 Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Kyle Frey
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – 2018 Peter Pan Stakes

8) Restoring Hope (30/1) – Finished 3rd in the Wood Memorial (shown below). He had a disappointing effort in the sloppy Pat Day Mile, finishing 12th.

Career: 5 Starts 1-1-2-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  1st–>3rd–>12th
Sire: Giant’s Causeway
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2001 & 2015 Belmont Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: To Be Announced
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 -2018 Wood Memorial

9) Gronkowski (30/1) – A European runner who is named after New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski. He is now being trained by Chad Brown. Gronkowski has primarily raced on synthetic or turf surfaces and has never raced longer than a mile. So he appears to be a better fit for the Met Mile on Belmont Stakes day.

Career: 6 Starts 4-1-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  1st–>1st-->1st
Sire: Lonhro
Trainer: Chad Brown 
Jockey: Jose Ortiz (2017 Belmont Stakes Winner)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: N/A

10) Free Drop Billy (30/1) – The Dale Romans-trained Breeders’s Futurity winner. He had a disappointing 16th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. He is a confirmed entry in the Belmont Stakes today (May 29th).

Career: 9 Starts 2-3-2-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>3rd–>16th
Sire: Union Rags (Finished 1st in the 2012 Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Robby Albarado
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – 2018 Holy Bull Stakes

11) Bandua (30/1) – A rumored entry and another European turf runner who is a grandson of 1977 Belmont Stakes winner Seattle Slew on his dam’s side. He is undefeated in two starts and has raced at 1 1/4th mile distance. He is also being pegged for the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Stakes race on June 30th at Curragh Racecourse. My guess is that won’t be entered in the Belmont Stakes and will instead focus on the Irish Stakes.

Career: 2 Starts 2-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 2 starts: 1st->1st
Sire: The Factor
Trainer: Dermont Weld
Jockey: To Be Announced
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: N/A


On the docket…

I am working on an article for US Racing on why Justify will become the 13th Triple Crown champion.

–Michael

One comment

  1. Peter Setiawan · 15 Days Ago

    Bonjorno, Noble Indy and Hofburg on my screen also.

    Cheers

    On Sat, May 26, 2018, 4:18 PM Mike’s Derby Picks wrote:

    > Michael J. Cox posted: ” May 26th 2018 We are now weeks away from the > final leg of the Triple Crown. Below is an early look at the 2018 Belmont > Stakes field. I have included my best guess on their morning line odds. > Thus far, it appears to be Justify with a field of closers a” >

    Like

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