War of Will holds early edge in race for Eclipse Award

Maximum Security and Country House battle to the wire in the Kentucky Derby (G1) - Coady Photography The rules are simple. Sweep all three legs of the Triple Crown, and you will be named champion 3-year-old male at the Eclipse Awards. Win two of the three races and you’d have to really mess up the second half of the season to lose the title. But when three different horses win the three Triple Crown races, it’s anyone’s guess [...]

Breeders’ Cup Classic top 10: Thunder Snow impresses in defeat

Thunder Snow winning the 2018 Dubai World Cup (G1) - Coady Photography A busy Saturday of racing at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day saw a handful of contenders for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) enhance their résumés. Others faltered under the bright lights and will have to rebound this summer. No clear favorite has emerged for the 1 1/4-mile race Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes [...]

Keeler Johnson’s 2019 Belmont Stakes fair odds line

Intrepid Heart winning his debut at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography Upon release of the 2019 Belmont Stakes (G1) entries Tuesday evening, I immediately started work on my annual fair odds line for identifying wagering value. The concept behind my fair odds line is simple. For each horse in the field, I ask myself, “What are the chances of this horse reaching the winner’s circle?” After assigning a probability of winning to each horse (25%, 12.50%, etc.), I [...]

Running styles suggest slow pace in 2019 Belmont Stakes

The field breaks from the gate in the 2016 Belmont Stakes - Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photography Contrary to popular belief, the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Belmont Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park does not give an advantage to deep closers. The typically slow pace of the Belmont Stakes gives frontrunners and pressers/stalkers an advantage that is difficult for late runners to overcome. Since 2008 three horses (Da’ Tara, American Pharoah and Justify) have won the Belmont in gate-to-wire fashion, [...]

2019 Belmont Stakes Picks – Intrepid Heart a Solid Play

Tacitus winning the Wood Memorial (gr. II) at Aqueduct - © NYRA/Coglianese Photography None of Bob Baffert’s three-year-olds will run in the 2019 Belmont Stakes. Neither will Maximum Security or Country Horse. Nor will Global Campaign, the Peter Pan Stakes winner. Although all those horses won’t run on Saturday, June 8, it doesn’t mean the Belmont Stakes won’t be a competitive horse race. In fact, the race is so competitive, that it’s difficult to use both favorites, Tacitus [...]

Belmont Stakes Analysis – Sir Winston & Intrepid Heart

Preakness Stakes champion War of Will’s trainer Mark Casse will also saddle contender Sir Winston in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. Sir Winston might be coming into his own after an excellent run in the Peter Pan Stakes. Todd Pletcher, who has 3 Test of Champions trophies to his credit, has two contenders in the race. Although Spinoff has a shot, his main contender might be Intrepid Heart. Keep reading for the case for and against Sir Winston and Intrepid Heart. Belmont [...]

Which Horses are Bred to Handle the Belmont Stakes Distance?

Intrepid Heart winning his debut at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography While many handicappers will argue pedigrees are no longer a key factor in determining the winner of the Kentucky Derby, they remain an important aspect to consider when analyzing potential contenders for the Belmont Stakes. The 1 1/2-mile distance of the “Test of the Champion" places more emphasis on stamina than the 1 1/4 miles of the Kentucky Derby, so generally speaking Belmont winners tend to boast [...]

Which Horses Have the Best Chance to Win the Belmont Stakes?

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography With entries due in less than two weeks, the field is slowly coming together for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 8 at Belmont Park. At least 11 horses are under consideration for the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion,” and more could join the field during the coming weeks. The Belmont figures to come up deeper [...]