There is a huge chance to have our first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed back in 1978.
If California Chrome can get the job done he will become the first California-bred to ever win the Triple Crown. He is the first from Cal to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and just may be this good.
The Belmont Stakes will be run this Saturday around 3:30 p.m., loaded with horses trying to stop the Chrome. The Belmont is 12 furlongs (1½ miles) and it will be the 12th time since Affirmed a horse has a shot at winning the coveted prize. In fact, it would become the 12th Triple Crown winner and we could have 12 horses in the race.
If California Chrome draws post position 12, this bettor will be all in.
Right now we have 13 horses that make up the race but we may get one or two defections before the draw this Wednesday. Here’s a look at the runners in alphabetical order.
CALIFORNIA CHROME: Ever since he put the nose strips on and Victor Espinoza got on him he has become unbeatable. Just looking at the way he has been handling the track at Belmont this will be his race to lose at around even money. At that price we will be trying to beat him.
COMMANDING CURVE: Part of the CC Kentucky Derby exacta and could tripper it again here in the Belmont, even turning it around. Will need a fast early pace to make his big late run and just may get it.
COMMISSIONER: Just finished second behind the wise guy runner Tonalist in the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont in the slop. His trainer Todd Pletcher is good but not this good. The colt was crushed by Ride On Curlin in the Arkansas Derby. We will be passing on him.
GENERAL A ROD: I liked him in the Preakness and he got another troubled trip. Now he has Rosie Napravnik, who was on him when he broke his maiden. Just doesn’t look like he can handle the top three runners in here. We like Rosie but will need to pass.
KID CRUZ: Was no match for them in the Preakness and just not fast enough. May be scratched. We will be tossing out.
MATTERHORN: Another Todd Pletcher runner who was no match in the slop in the Peter Pan. He owns one maiden win and that came last year at Aqueduct. Needs to look for softer company. Pass.
MATUSZAK: My question is why? Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith riding for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. He couldn’t beat Kid Cruz in the Federico so why do Mott and Smith hook up here? I won’t be fooled and must use somewhere in my exotics at what will be a big price.
MEDAL COUNT: Ran a decent eighth in the Kentucky Derby despite trouble, and I like the fact he took the Preakness off. Had a super 6 furlong work at Churchill Downs on May 31, and looks very sneaky in here for a piece as he has never won on the dirt.
RIDE ON CURLIN: Working with a purpose but reminds me of Sham going into this race after finishing second in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness behind the great Secretariat. We will use but not on top even with JR Velazquez getting the call.
SAMRAAT: Ran a good race in the Kentucky Derby, finishing fifth. He broke his maiden here at Belmont but may get into a little speed duel with Social Inclusion. We will pass.
SOCIAL INCLUSION: Showed up in his last work with four wraps and I just don’t like the looks of that. He tried to change his style in the Preakness when not shooting for the lead. Will need the front end in this race to have a shot, but Samraat and Chrome will be right on his hind end. Pass.
TONALIST: Looks to have the best shot at beating Chrome if he can transfer his win on the slop in the Peter Pan to the Belmont. That’s a big if, especially since he never ran that fast before and just could bounce off of that huge win. We will be using but not on top.
WICKED STRONG: Has run some big races in his 7 race career and has some clunkers. Could have a shot if he can run back to his win in the Wood Memorial.
When all is said and done I just may sit back and root for the Chrome as he looks and acts best. Will play some Trifecta’s and Superfecta’s using him on top.
1. California Chrome, 2. Ride On Curlin/Tonalist/Commanding Curve.
Underneath: Matuszak/Wicked Strong.
Note: Lots of seminars this week in Vegas and even one in Primm with my friend Richard Eng as he will have the great Laffit Pincay with him at 3 pm on Friday at Buffalo Bill’s. After that one is over you can shoot over to the South Point and catch the seminar with Ralph Siraco and his crew.
Jerry J of the Power Page will be doing a seminar at Texas Station on Friday afternoon. Chuck Esposito at Sunset Station will be hosting a seminar with Steve Davidowitz and that should be a real good one to take in. Check out the time on that one as there will be a viewing party going on also.
Station Casinos will be giving away California Chrome shirts and our buddy at the Cannery West Joe P will also have Chrome shirts for his Belmont Bettors. John Avello over at the Wynn may also have his nose into something special, we will wait and see.
Mark Dufty down at Jerry’s Nugget will have the Marion prop horse parlay card available and his great carving station open. I know two people that will be there at Jerry’s Nugget early this Saturday morning sizing up the card.
Have a great time and hope next week we will be talking about a Triple Crown winner and don’t forget those 12’s and the CC’s.
Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].