Saturday June 7, 2003

The 135th Belmont Stakes
10th @ Belmont--All carry 126


1. Empire Maker...Bailey...Trust me when I tell you, Frankel would love nothing better than to take this race by 15 lengths and prove to the world that this guy is much the best. Bailey as well for that matter. I'm not quite sure of that though. Other than a 5-wide trip on the final turn in Louisville he really didn't offer any excuses for not cruising right on by. He was positioned perfectly but couldn't do it. True, he is regally bred for the distance, and by all rights looked a legitimate favorite in the Derby. But he didn't win. And he didn't contest the Preakness which would have been the logical place to prove you're the best after failing three weeks earlier. The bruised hoof, the poor trip, yada, yada, yada. Drawing the rail may land him in the lead, someplace he may not be most effective.

2. Supervisor...Velasquez...Actually finished in front of Funny Cide in the Holy Bull. Since then their paths couldn't be more different. One thing he has been able to do is close ground. It wouldn't surprise me to see him close for 3rd or 4th after stiff early fractions. Not within several lengths of the winner though.

3. Scrimshaw...Stevens...For some reason I just can't see him wanting any part of this distance. He's lost ground late in 3 of the 4 route races he has run. (the other at Keeneland) I know DWL has pulled of some shockers before, including here 3 years ago, but I can't see him winning this. I'll leave him out of exotics too.

4. Funny Cide...Santos...The boys at Sackatoga Stable are living the dream aren't they? How could it get any better than going for the Triple Crown with a modestly priced horse that a bunch of buddies went in together on? While he may not be in the same league with the all-time greats--yet, he still has progressed beyond any gelding in history, at least at this stage of the game. Most geldings grind on for years and some, most notably John Henry, become truly great horses. Generally that happens when they are 6,7, or 8 years old. Just imagine what this horse could accomplish should he remain healthy and carefully placed. His tactical speed will be to his advantage here. One of two that could win.

5. Dynever...Prado...I certainly don't like the fact that he's now wearing a bar-shoe for a bruised foot. I also don't like the fact that he has never faced the likes of the two contenders. Totally respect the talents of Clement, and not just on the grass, but this guy is up against it here. Likely to be a stand-out down the road. No better than 3rd today.

6. Ten Most Wanted...Day...What happened in the Derby? Slight back injury and rough exit from the gate were given. Also, it's possible that the huge Illinois Derby effort left him less than willing on Derby day. Now he's had rest, and has been working well. Will it make a difference? His record was not the stuff of legends before the Derby, and I was fooled. It's not easy to come in here off of 5 weeks and score. Definite exotics threat, but doubtful he could win.

         For the 5th time in 7 years, we're going for the Triple Crown. This time, I think we're likely to get it. My gut tells me Funny will run away with this. It's not a real good betting race, thanks to the defections, but it should be a whale of a race to watch. I'll be there attempting to take pictures to share.

       Funny Cide will be the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. He has the talent and ability to turn this into a laugher. His opponents are formidable, but he appears to be a monster right now.

      Empire Maker will give his all, but I really believe he is 2nd best here.

      I've got suspicions about others in here, but Supervisor can close and will be the longest price on the board. Let's play him in 3rd for some jingle.


1. Funny Cide

2. Empire Maker

3. Supervisor


Best of luck on the Belmont card!


2003 bBra