Well, folks, we have the rare chance to watch history yet again. This Saturday, California Chrome goes for the first Triple Crown win since 1978. Wayniac Nation welcomes back The @SportIlluminati, our in house odds man and horse racing expert. Heim nailed the Preakness with his unique approach. This time, he gets even more creative. So, fire up the Batman signal and sit back and enjoy your Belmont Prediction Special, courtesy of the one and only Sport Illuminati:
There are ten horses looking to spoil the Triple Crown effort of California Chrome. On the surface, it’s hard to make a strong case for any of the others. Much like my favorite superhero Batman, what you see on the outside is a hard shell of what lies beneath. As with Batman, each of these horses present a little bit more than what appears. So, I am going to break down the participants of this race using the different actors who have played Batman over the years. In essence, each of these horses mirrors one of the actors in one way or another.
Christian Bale Horses:
#2 California Chrome
With six consecutive victories, it is starting to look like California Chrome may never lose again. Like Bale, Chrome has a toned yet reserved look about him. Not one to be splashy in his wins, he methodically goes about his business. Chrome has all the tools necessary to take the Triple Crown. That said, several of his foes from the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes are in this race. The length of this race should not be an obstacle for Chrome. Much like the length of the Bale Batman films, Chrome handles it well and won’t go flat at the end.
#4 Commanding Curve
Commanding Curve was a blip on the radar before the Derby. Like Bale, after his first showing he generated intrigue. With a late push, finishing second in the Derby, Curve could be Chrome’s biggest foe. His layoff from the Preakness may help his cause as well. A horse with a soft spoken stable, his entourage mirrors Bale’s “let our work do the talking” mantra.
#1 Medal Count
Finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby and not racing since would scare off most bettors. Ever notice that when Bale’s Batman was at his most dire, he found strength to slay a foe deemed unbeatable to many? Jockey Robby Albarado has ridden more than 4,000 winners, including the 2007 Preakness Stakes on Curlin who essentially is Medal Count’s Robin. This horse is a long-shot that I am definitely keeping an eye on.
Michael Keaton Horses:
Like Keaton, this horse is a mind boggler in this race. Winning just one of his four career starts, his strongest asset is being trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the 2007 Belmont Stakes with the filly Rags To Riches and last year’s race with Palace Malice. Also like Keaton, he will be lightly regarded. Can this horse surprise the “crowd” with his performance 9, or will we see more of a “Mr. Mom” laugher at the end?
Another Todd Pletcher horse, Commissioner skipped the first two legs of the Triple Crown after a subpar performance in the Arkansas Derby. Jockey Javier Castellano has owned the Belmont Park spring/summer meet, winning at a clip of 22% and in the money 54% of the time since the start of the 2012 season. Much like Keaton, Commissioner is facing an unfamiliar field in this race. Can his jockey be the experienced eyes needed to guide him through the murky waters of uncertainty? My magic eight ball is still out on this one.
George Clooney Horses:
#5 Ride On Curlin:
Like Clooney’s Batman, this horse has been on the tongues of many only to be slightly underwhelming. ROC did make a strong finish at the Preakness though putting up an 80.9/69.4 (Final/4F) Pace Figure. With Calvin Borel off the mount, we can expect Ride On Curlin to get closer to the lead earlier. Now, will he have enough at the end to win this marathon, or will we be forced to imagine how he would have done if directed differently? It is always tough to win when you have a cavalcade of “stars” putting in their two cents. Remember “Batman And Robin” anyone? Jeesh.
#10 General A Rod
General A Rod has a hot woman Rosie Napravik riding him. If that doesn’t yell Clooney, I don’t know what does. General A Rod’s Preakness effort from a Pace Figure perspective wasn’t all that bad. He moved forward 2.3 points in his final figure (75.6 – 77.9), while putting up his best 4F figure in recent races. Worth a longshot look.
Adam West Horses:
One of four “newbies” to the Triple Crown, Matusak has won one start in eight tries. This late running colt runs are like Adam West in the 21st Century. So slow…so very slow. Granted at one time, he showed spirit, but not anymore. His lifetime best final figure is 73.1/64.3 three starts back, while most recently his final figures have been 65.5 and 64.1. No bueno folks.
His sire, Noble Causeway, passed away last Friday after a bout with laminitis. That sounds like a villian from the Adam West Batman series. This horse runs uneven. Betting this horse will probably have you cheering one minute and crying the next. The numbers suggest this horse is on the downswing.
Ben Affleck Horses
#9 Wicked Strong
Affleck is Boston. This horse is Boston. That alone makes the comparison a slam dunk. Much like Affleck’s future Batman, Wicked Strong was hindered with a bad vibe when he broke from the No. 19 post at the Derby. Wicked Strong was one of four Derby runners who skipped the Preakness opting for the Belmont. Will the layoff away from the limelight help his cause?
Tonalist heads to the Belmont Stakes off of a visually impressive performance in the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 10. He started slow, settled in the middle of the race and picked up the pace down the stretch. While California Chrome had to work hard with a long Preakness stretch drive, Tonalist cruised under the wire in his last race. That can bode well for him in the longest race of the Triple Crown.
After hitting the exacta in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Sports Illuminati is hoping for a bettors “Triple Crown” of its own.
Our Play: $5 Exacta Box (2,8,10,11) $60 investment.
Good Luck All!