At what point does too much information become confusion? I once worked for a successful public handicapper and prolific bettor who I tried to “wise up” one afternoon. “Save it kid,” he said, “I don’t want to know what the public knows.”
My guess is that he would apply that dictum to other handicappers as well. And that’s my motivation as I try to make sense of Saturday’s Belmont Derby. Why so much effort? Because if I win, I will get paid..
In these races, my default is to bet the Euros. European turf runners ship to the U.S. every year and clean American clocks with regularity, such is their inherent class advantage going long on grass. They’re just better bred for it.
There’s a choice of only two Euros and both are trained by Aidan O’Brien. While the form is sketchy on paper, 30-1 on Blenheim Palace seems out of line. He arrives wearing blinkers for the first time and is royally bred for the trip.
Cape of Good Hope (10-1) is more logical. He won his 3YO debut at today’s 10F trip, came back to finish fourth of 15 in a Group, 1 then had a rough trip over soft ground he disliked at Royal Ascot. He’s back in a Grade 1–but not all G1s are created equal.
Chad Brown will saddle four of the 14 , two of them undefeated in three starts. Ironically, Demarchelier and Digital Age, who start from the 13 and 14 posts, respectively, were purchased by Brown himself at the prestigious Tattersalls Sales across the pond for @ $600,000 and $450,000, each.
While Digital Age (9-2) exits as the winner of the G2 American Turf at Churchill, Demarchelier (6-1) won the G3 Pennine Ridge last out, a productive local prep in the brief history of the Belmont Derby.
Trips will mean everything, of course, and it’s also difficult to know how the pace will develop and where it will come from. We decided to stick with a Pennine Ridge, but take the horse that finished second, Seismic Wave (5-1).
In that race, our guess is that Joel Rosario was waiting on Javier Castellano to make the move first, then follow him. The problem is that he had too much ground to make up but showed a better turn of foot in the sprint home. And ‘Wave’ is better posted here.
I would not take less than 5-1 on anyone in the Belmont Derby. My current thinking is betting Seismic Wave to win, a saver win wager with Cape of Good Hope. Also making a boxed exacta and will try to sneak Plus Que Parfait (15-1) and Blenheim Palace into third and/or fourth.
Or you could wheel class-dropping speedster Promises Fulfilled in the ninth, the G2 John Nerud, with all in the Belmont Derby, saving yourself the headache.
YESTERDAY: Perfectly ridden by Johnny, our choice Semper Sententiae won, paying $6.40 in a field decimated by program scratches. Royal Charlotte remained undefeated in four starts, taking the G3 Victory Ride impressively. Our choice Sue’s Fortune was eased approaching headstretch– hope the filly’s OK.
Could it be that the Euro shippers now clean the American’s clock on the turf as they contest the sport with “conditioned horses” entered running without Lasix? Trained for a race and not prepped for a race by a vet with a needle. I just perused the PP’s for the Belmont Derby, Belmont Oaks, and the Suburban, and in all three races only the foreign interests are running clean. Just think of all the wasted ink in the form. All they really need do going forward is list the entries that are clean of race day meds. There is no letter in the PP lines employed more often than a capital L. Capital L as in a “capital offense” against the sport.
Going with Aidan O’Brien today as well.
McD, let’s hope that recent momentum vis a vis raceday meds, and all the rest, keeps going forward.
It’s a steep uphill struggle, of course, but I’ll stick with the cliche: “The battles you can’t win are the ones worth fighting.”
Enjoy those races; great preps for Saratoga. BTW: Opening day Thursday PPs are available now!