An Exaggerator doesn’t suit me at Belmont Stakes

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In last week’s Belmont column I made one statement, “the man in New York, Irad Ortiz Jr., gets the ride on Creator for Steve Asmussen. If he can run back to his Arkansas Derby victory he has a shot at the pie. We must respect the connections and this bettor will never leave Ortiz out of a wager.

“On Destin, Javier Castellano rides the lightly raced Destin for his main man Todd Pletcher. He was a good sixth in the Kentucky Derby and Castellano is another jock we will not toss at this track. Destin can show some good tracking speed and will be part of the front four at the top of the stretch. He is a must use.”

They finished first and second with Ortiz Jr. on Creator outgaming Castellano on Destin to win by a nostril, paying a sweet $34.80 to win with the exacta paying $269 for two bucks. If you made a four horse exacta box with my plays of Exaggerator-Stradivari-Creator and Destin, you get the job done.

The question you may be asking is did I play the exacta box? To be honest as I always am, the answer is no. I keyed Exaggerator and Stradivari with Creator and Destin in trifectas and supers and got a return of zero on my investment.

Stradivari ran an ok fifth while Exaggerator really never kicked in that big burst he has shown in his four previous races. Looking back, the light now goes off as in those four races he got the fast pace up front. In the Belmont the pace was dawdling to say the least. Stradivari was just not good enough.

Destin ran the race of his life and it was a heartbreaking loss, especially for GamingToday big race columnist Robert Mann who gave him out on our front page, it was such a bad beat.

One horse in this race that also ran huge was the Christophe Clement trained Governor Malibu, who got off at 17-1. Governor Malibu remained along the rail after the start, kept an eye on the front runners sitting in the pocket, was checked while in tight and close proximity to the heels of Gettysburg at the quarter pole. He angled into the two path only to have that lane blocked by Gettysburg and altered course back to the rail, when forced to check in tight quarters when cut off by the pacesetter.

After all that happened to him he finished with good courage to finish fourth. This was a huge effort and we will be keeping an eye out to see where Clement sends this lightly race colt next time out.

Suddenbreakingnews, who took a ton of action, had no run and finished far back. He is overmatched vs. the best 3 year olds in the country and needs lesser. Lani ran a very good race with a six wide move to pick up the show dough. He is a head case but has a ton of ability and we wish his classy connections the best.

Del Mar is on the horizon, opening Friday, July 15. If you have never been to Del Mar on opening day we say take a little road trip and go. The racing will be great, the sun dressed will be out, the bars will be packed and the dining is superb. With that said let’s take a little look at baseball.

The Dodgers, even with great pitching, are 5 games behind the Giants in the NL West. The key is the Giants are just as good on the road as they are at home, going 19-13 both home and away going into Monday’s game.

In the NL Central it is a Cubs runaway and we wish Harry Carey could be there in the box yelling, “Cubs win!” The Cubs will win the NL Central, especially with the way the Pirates pitching staff has been giving up runs. The Cards are always solid but will not catch the Cubs.

The Nationals will win the NL East with the Mets battling for a wild card all the way, but the Mets need to find a way to score some runs. In the AL East we think anyone of the top four could get on a streak and win it; watch and see who gets hot.

In the AL Central, the Indians did get hot and grabbed a 3 game advantage over the Royals and the Tigers. The Royals get back home on Monday for a three game series with the Indians and then a four game series with the Tigers, so a lot can change by Sunday. The Royals have been great at home, 19-7 going into Monday’s game with the Indians and just 13-23 on the road. This will be a good week to get some of that cash you have been putting away and bet the Royals.

In the AL West the Rangers have opened up a five game advantage over Seattle with the rest far back. Texas, like Kansas City, has been great at home, going 24-10 and only 15-14 on the road going into Monday’s road game at last place Oakland.

Speaking about the Cubs, if you are a Chicago fan you could have been walking around lucky and walked into Brando’s Chicago bar last week and been in the company of Jim McMahon, Mike Ditka and others. You just never know who will show up at Brando’s, located just past Silverton heading west on Blue Diamond Road. Just ask for Kick and say Saber sent you.

You never know, so get off that couch. Kick may buy you a beer if you are walking around lucky.

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GT’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Twitter: @SabesBet. Email: [email protected].

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