2016 Belmont Stakes Cheat Sheet
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
2016 Belmont Stakes Replay
Did you watch the Kentucky Derby and Preakness? Of course you did. Did you feel unprepared? We tried to help! Well, fret not, we’re here for you… again! Although we strongly suggest that you sign up for our Derby Prep Alert so you’re not so unprepared next year.
Here’s an overview of each of the 2016 Belmont Stakes contenders by post position. With ten of the thirteen starters having run in the Derby and/or Preakness, be sure to check our 2015 Kentucky Derby Cheat Sheet and 2015 Preakness Cheat Sheet for more back story.
Here’s a thumbnail sketch of this year’s field by post position including the morning line odds.
1. Govenor Malibu (12-1) – FOURTH – The runner-up in the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont finished first in his three prior races with the running style that typically wins the Belmont – stalk and pounce. Two back in the Federico Tesio, where he finished first but was disqualified to second, he stalked the zippy Awesome Speed, who subsequently finished 9th in the Preakness. If you feel strongly about the running style angle he’s worth considering for your exotics, especially since he’s likely to be a better price than most of the other stalkers.
2. Destin (6-1) – PLACE (2nd) – The Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby winner also has the stalking running style that historically wins the Belmont Stakes. This alone will ensure that he’ll take a decent amount of money and be touted as the upset pick. He certainly can move forward and perform well here, but his win in Tampa was due, in part, to a perfect trip with no one running at him late, something that can’t be ensured in the Belmont.
3. Cherry Wine (8-1) – The Preakness runner-up picked up the pieces under a favorable pace scenario, one that could be repeated here with the addition of Gettysburg. He also has one of the better pedigrees for the distance. No doubt he can continue to move forward, but he’ll have more competition from the other come-from-behind entrants than he did in the Preakness.
4. Suddenbreakingnews (10-1) – The Grade 3 Southwest winner is likely to be this year’s wise guy pick if you consider that he was flying late in the Kentucky Derby after a troubled trip. He’s got the best kick in the field but has been prone to wide or troubled trips that have kept him from the winner’s circle. If you’re willing to overlook the fact that the Belmont is usually a stalker’s race, he’s got upset potential.
5. Stradivari (5-1) – Last out in the Preakness this lightly raced allowance winner made a great impression in his stakes debut when he was not able to get his preferred spot close to the lead but gamely pressed on to finish 4th. The presence of likely pacesetter Gettysburg gives him the opportunity secure his preferred trip instead of having to set the pace, but despite having the right running style for the race, he does have a questionable distance pedigree. If you think he can move forward from the Preakness he’s worth considering for your exotics.
6. Gettysburg (30-1) – His last minute entry to aid stablemate Creator as a rabbit/pacesetter seems to have added the potential for a solid, but not break-neck pace. His lone win was scored by getting the lead early and setting a solid, but not blazing pace. He played the rabbit to Creator in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby where he set a solid pace and held on for 5th. Could he steal the race on the front-end? Stranger things have happened, but the most likely scenario appears to be that he’ll set a non-pokey pace setting up everyone else for their respective runs.
7. Seeking the Soul (30-1) – Like his stablemate Forever d’Oro, he broke his maiden in his third career race just two weeks ago. Unlike his stablemate, he has a slightly better pedigree for the distance, and perhaps more importantly, the running style that performs well in the Belmont Stakes. Does he have upset potential? Maybe, but he could be an interesting addition to exotic tickets.
8. Forever d’Oro (30-1) – Two weeks ago, in his third career start, this Dallas Stewart trainee broke his maiden going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont by closing into a tepid pace. A good prep for the 1 1/2 mile Grade 1 Belmont Stakes? Considering that his trainer, who also entered maiden winner Seeking the Soul, has a knack for getting longshots to hit the board in Triple Crown races, maybe. However it’s a big maybe given that his come-from-behind running style won’t do him any favors, especially in a field of more experienced closers.
9. Trojan Nation (30-1) – He has yet to win a race but this placement seems logical if you consider that he’s got one of the better pedigrees for the distance. Last out in the Derby he was a whopping 20-lengths off the pace on the backstretch, and while he did have some solid speed half-way through the race, he flattened out to finish 16th. His come-from-behind running style won’t do him any favors here, but if he can manage to sit closer to the pace he could potentially be in the mix.
10. Lani (20-1) – SHOW (3rd) – The Japan-based International mystery horse seems to have put the pieces together last out in the Preakness. He may have only finished 5th, but he was moving fast late, and according to his jockey, Yutaka Take, the stretch was a little too short for him. Given the added distance of the Belmont, his favorable pedigree and apparent endurance training, he could be in the mix with another similar performance.
11. Exaggerator (9-5) – The Preakness winner may have had a perfect trip and pace set-up, but he also continued to build on his last two good performances in the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies. While the Belmont Stakes traditionally is more about running style than pace scenario, he’s been able to sit closer to the pace than his recent running lines would suggest, and that flexibility makes him even more of a deserving favorite, as well as the horse to beat.
12. Brody’s Cause (20-1) – Despite finishing almost 10 lengths behind the winner in the Kentucky Derby, he made a decent showing in that he kept to the task and finished well despite having traffic trouble. His running style is not ideal for this spot, but he’s well suited for the distance and can improve his chances to hit the board by sitting closer to the pace.
13. Creator (10-1) – WINNER – The Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner had a lot, if not the most, traffic trouble in the Kentucky Derby, which is a shame given that he was moving the fastest before getting stopped (at the 3/4 pole). His come-from-behind running style has not been the winning running style for the Belmont in recent history, but he’s a got a great pedigree and with a clean trip he can at least get a piece of the action and possibly win.