BigTrends 2014 Belmont Analysis

Belmont 2014: BigTrends Picks & Analysis

Price Headley, CEO of

I’ve said I thought California Chrome had a legitimate chance to be a Triple Crown winner and he has done nothing to turn me off of that opinion. Certainly there have been many close calls and even better horses that could have won it all but stumbled in the Belmont. So it’s never a sure thing in horse racing, and there are several interesting contenders for Saturday’s race. The weather should be fine, and perhaps the biggest question is whether there’s enough true speed in this 1-1/2 mile race to set things up for a late closer to surprise. Speed has held up better than you would expect for this longest Grade 1 dirt race in America. So here’s what I’m liking:

California Chrome (Post Position 2, 3-5): Certainly I expect he’s the best horse, and sentiments for the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 make for high hopes. But as a trader I’m in the business of selling into high hopes, so we have to look for ways to get paid by either beating him or combining him with other horses in exotic bets, as I did with Ride On Curlin underneath in the Preakness exacta.

Tonalist (PP 11, 8-1): Winner of the Peter Pan stakes on this track, with a super speed rating and a crisp workout, makes this one the logical second choice.

Commanding Curve (PP 4, 15-1): The fast closing 2nd place finisher in the Kentucky Derby is likely the best value on the board. If you can get him at 10-1 or more he’s an interesting win bet. As a deep closer he needs speed to set up the race for him to pick up the pieces at the end. Should be in the mix late.

Wicked Strong (PP 9, 6-1): This is the wise guy horse, a lot of New Yorkers will be betting him since he won the Wood Memorial in New York and has a good 4th in the Derby. I think he won’t offer enough value as a win bet but will use him in exotic bets.

Ride On Curlin (PP 5, 12-1): He closed strong with a new jockey in the Preakness, but I’m concerned the others are in a bit better form based on recent works.

Hypothetical Betting Portfolio:
$10 Win on No. 4
$3 Exacta Box on Nos. 2, 4, 9 and 11
$2 Trifecta Box on Nos. 2, 4, 9 and 11.

Moby Waller, Portfolio Manager:

I picked California Chrome to win the Derby & Preakness — his favorite status was legitimate and deserved, although the low odds on Chrome prevented the jucy kinds of potential payouts that I prefer. For the incredibly long distance Belmont, however, I’m anticipating that Chrome will not come out on top — depriving us all of the first Triple Crown winner in a long time.

Chrome has had an incredible run of races, but the wear and tear of the tough runs may show up in the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown. The horse’s lead narrowed at the very end of the last two races, and I foresee another horse (or several) blowing past him down the long Belmont stretch. Also, at ML odds of 3-5, there are several other horses that I think can finish on top and will provide very nice payouts.

There are many fresher horses than Chrome in this race, and I think that will be the deciding factor. Also, there is a good success rate of horses that ran the Derby but skipped the Preakness,winning the Belmont over the past 15 years.

The main contender in my view looks to be Commanding Curve (PP 4, 15-1) — such an impressive Derby run and success with this jockey every time out. Also good odds.

The other contenders that could likely win the race are Tonalist (PP 11, 8-1) and Wicked Strong (PP 9, 6-1).

There are several other horses that can come in the Top 3 for exotic wagers like Exactas and Trifectas — basically every horse but Matterhorn (PP 3) and Matuszak (PP 6) has a chance in my view to place 2nd, 3rd, 4th.

Hypothetical Betting Portfolio:
$1 Exacta:
4, 11, 9 with
1 2 4 5 7 8 9 10 11

$1 Trifecta
4, 9 with
4, 11, 9, 2, 5 with
1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
= $56

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