It’s been a long road since mid-February, but we hope you’ve enjoyed the ride and even cashed a few tickets along the way! We’ll pick up again next year as the 2017 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks trails swing into gear.
Have a great time, cash plenty of tickets and see you next year!
News About the Contenders
Blood-Horse: Haskin: WinStar Creates a Wild Ending
Blood-Horse: Belmont Stakes Race Sequence Interactive
Blood-Horse: Exaggerator Exits Belmont Without Issue
Blood-Horse: Belmont Stakes: Creator Morning After (Video)
Blood-Horse: Belmont Stakes Press Conference (Video)
Blood-Horse: HD Replay and post-race interview
Herald-Leader: Creator in good order after Belmont Stakes win
TRC: Creator’s Belmont: what does it mean for the classic division?
Twinspires: Belmont Stakes 2016 Quotes & Transcript
BetAmerica: Japanese Jockey Legend Yutaka Take (Lani’s Jockey)
Blood-Horse: The Twisting Tale of Suddenbreakingnews
Blood-Horse: Haskin: Exaggerator and the Tale of the Turn
Blood-Horse: Making the Grade: Cherry Wine’s Next Step
Blood-Horse: Connections Expect Improved Lani in Belmont
Blood-Horse: Haskin: WinStar’s Belmont Bunny
DRF: Hovdey: ‘Double Crown’ doesn’t quite have a ring to it
DRF: For Exaggerator, no time like the present
Twinspires: 2016 Belmont Stakes Post Position Draw Transcript
2016 Belmont Stakes
1 1/2 miles (12 furlongs)
2016 Belmont Stakes Replay
2016 Belmont Stakes News and Recaps
Blood-Horse: Creator Edges Destin to Take Belmont
Blood-Horse: Kent Desormeaux Describes Belmont Run
DRF: Creator beats Destin by a nose in Belmont Stakes
TDN: Creator Takes Belmont in the Shadow of the Wire
2016 Belmont Stakes Preview
The last jewel of the Triple Crown has confounded horse and handicapper in recent years. The Belmont has yielded a motley assortment of winners that defies categorization. The so-called “Test of the Champion” hasn’t been too kind to favorites either – only two (Afleet Alex and American Pharoah) have won the last 12 runnings among a smattering of tote board shockers like Ruler On Ice ($51.50), Birdstone ($74.00) and Da’ Tara ($79.00).
Exaggerator inherits morning line favoritism at 9-5 in the absence of Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist. His last effort in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes was a perfect storm, literally and figuratively. The Pimlico track came up sloppy, and the hot pace in front took a toll on perennial rival Nyquist. which in turn created the perfect setup for Exaggerator to take advantage and finally turn the tables on the Derby hero. Without Nyquist here, Exaggerator stands out on class, and his improvement as the distances have increased this spring is tough to ignore. His ability to be tractable to any sort of pace scenario is an added asset here over some of the other closers who haven’t yet shown the ability to attend an early pace. His knocks are few and far between and the question is of value on the tote board as anything below his 9/5 morning line price is a tough betting proposition in this oddball of oddball races.
Second choice on the morning line, Stradivari took a nice step forward in the Preakness, his first graded stakes start. In that race, he sat just off the hot pace and on the far turn, Exaggerator got first run on him entering the stretch. Like Nyquist, Stradivari was flat in the lane, but he stayed on well enough considering the pace scenario. He is obviously of some quality and is still open to improvement, this being his fifth start. He possesses some early foot, which should be asset here considering the lack of other early speed. The question is: can he get first run on Exaggerator and take the needed next forward?
Stablemate Destin ran credibly in the Derby off of an unheard of 56-day layoff. In that race, he used his early foot to work out a great trip in behind the early speed. In the stretch, he had moved up to third and was poised to make a run but was no match for Nyquist and Exaggerator, and jockey Javier Castellano basically stopped asking him for run late in the stretch. Can’t fault those that see that effort as one to build off of and improve.
Like the Derby, there is a surfeit of closers in this year’s Belmont. Figuring out who will show the needed early foot here is really a guessing game.
Cherry Wine got a dream scenario in the Preakness as the hot pace materialized and he was one of only a few confirmed closers in the race. He was no threat at any point to win the race, and his second-place finish was more a result of the pace circumstances. His two-back effort in the Grade 1 Blue Grass was cut from the same cloth, as that race also had a very hot pace for him to run at, and his third-place there was again similar in circumstance. With other, perhaps better, confirmed closers in here, his 8-1 morning price is a bit short considering his win chances.
Suddenbreakingnews, like Cherry Wine, will do his running late. Despite a little bit of trouble at the start of the Derby, he had a relatively clean trip for the number of horses he passed late in the stretch to finish fifth. Having as little early foot as he possesses is usually a handicap in this race historically. The switch to jockey Mike Smith is an upgrade and he will have to put him into the race earlier for him to factor.
Creator had a nightmare trip in the Derby, and it is best to draw a line through that effort as he encountered the worst kind of trouble when he was beginning to make his run on the far turn. Like the other closers in here, his lack of early foot is a handicap, and like Suddenbreakingnews, he gets a jockey switch, to Irad Ortiz who is much more familiar with this track than his previous rider Ricardo Santana.
Governor Malibu has shown slight improvement this spring as the distances have increased, and he was last seen closing for second in the Grade 2 Peter Pan. He’s 12-1 on the morning line, and there are other proven entries in here at longer prices worth considering.
Brody’s Cause is a multiple Grade 1 winner, having taken the Blue Grass and Grade 1 Breeder’s Futurity, both at Keeneland. His 3-year-old form has been mixed with an impressive Blue Grass win in between two lackluster efforts in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and the Kentucky Derby. He did show a little more early foot than some of his other rivals in the Derby, and he will need to again put that to use here to factor late.
Lani has received plenty of attention for his paddock antics, but his on-the-track exploits have left little to be desired. Despite advantageous pace setups in both the Preakness and the Derby, he was never a factor. Add in his penchant for starting slow, and he will likely again be up against it.
Gettysburg is a fascinating addition to this race, having been placed in the barn of Steve Asmussen just two weeks after a disappointing effort in a first level allowance at Belmont for trainer Todd Pletcher. WinStar Farm, which owns Gettysburg, also owns Creator, and the move to enter Gettysburg here has the feel of connections trying to ensure an honest pace for their other horse. Still, Gettysburg is a horse with some ability and should not be dismissed as an outright rabbit, and the dearth of early speed here is something that should give those attending it a bit of an advantage.
Seeking the Soul was last seen two weeks ago breaking his maiden in his first effort routing. This is a huge step up in class, but his ability to show some early foot is an advantage, and he’s still open to improvement. He’s one to include on the deepest of exotic tickets. Forever d’Oro also broke his maiden two weeks ago over this strip. Unlike his stablemate Seeking the Soul, he’s not shown he’s fast enough to make the class jump needed here. Maiden Trojan Nation did no running at all in the Derby and is again in against closers of better quality.
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