June 8th 2015
From experience, I will state up front that the Belmont Stakes is the toughest of the three Triple Crown races to handicap. Even tougher than the 20 horse Kentucky Derby. Why? Stating the obvious, the Belmont Stakes is 12 furlongs (1 1/2 mile) and the furthest these 3-year-olds have raced is usually the 10 furlong (1 1/4 mile) Kentucky Derby.
It is easier to extrapolate and project how colts will fare moving from the final 9 furlong Derby preps to the 10 furlong Kentucky Derby. You really don’t know how some colts will respond to the added distance. And sometimes, colts that you think should take well to the distance due to their pedigree, don’t always produce to your level of expectations. It is sort of a crap shoot some years.
I have had limited success in the Belmont Stakes. So I decided to delve into Pre-Belmont Stakes Brisnet Past Performances to look for clues to improve my handicapping of race that seems to be harder to hit than a moving target. I would have liked to go back further but all I could find is past performances from the last six years starting in 2012. You can see this year’s Belmont Stakes Past Performances by clicking HERE.
So here is what I uncovered from the last six Belmont Stakes winners from Brisnet Past Performances:
- All six had produced a 100 or better Brisnet Speed figure during their 3-year-old campaign. Horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby who failed to meet this criteria are: Bravazo, Tenfold, Free Drop Billy and Restoring Hope. Gronkowski is an incomplete because they don’t compute Brisnet Speed Figures for horses outside of North America. But I guarantee you that Gronkowski is not winning the Belmont Stakes.
- All six winners had a Brisnet Prime Power rating over 140. Horses who failed to meet this criteria include: Blended Citizen 138.9, Free Drop Billy 135.7 and Restoring Hope 135.6.
There are other Brisnet Past Performance ratings such as Speed Last Race, Average Class Last 3 Races, Early Pace Last Race, Late Pace Last Race but none of these really shook out anything meaningful.
So from the above analytics, I have narrowed down the potential 2018 Belmont Stakes winner to three colts: Justify, Vino Rosso and Hofburg.
All three post-positions fit well for each colt’s running style. For Justify, Early Speed Types do well in the first three posts. In fact, they have had a 61% win percentage from these three posts for dirt route races at Belmont Park since April 27th to June 3rd. This is an early clue for my next US Racing article which should be out sometime today for why I believe Justify will win the 2018 Belmont Stakes and become the 13th Triple Crown Champion.
How do I see this race playing out? I think Justify will get out of the gate well and go to the front quickly. I think Restoring Hope will take the early lead and Justify will assume the position of a presser. Around the 6 furlong (3/4th mile mark) I foresee jockey Mike Smith sending Justify and I think that he will go on to win the race with a late challenge from either Hofburg or Vino Rosso.
If I had to predict the final finishing order, I’d go with this: 1) Justify, 2) Vino Rosso, 3) Hofburg, 4) Bravazo. In my exotics, I am going to throw in Blended Citizen and Tenfold in the 3rd and 4th place spots. I am kind of concerned that Bravazo may be coming off a peak performance and may not run as well as he did in the Preakness Stakes on a dry, fast track.
So for a Superfecta, 1 over 4,8 over 3,4,8,10 over 3,4,7,8 10. This $1 superfecta would cost $18. But don’t expect it to pay out well. A $2 Superfecta in 2015 when American Pharoah won only returned $570. You may consider higher dollar Exactas using 1 over 4 & 8.