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2012 Belmont Contenders Analysis

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Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another will likely be the favorite in the Belmont Stakes

© Cindy Pierson Dulay
Updated June 03, 2012

The Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the Triple Crown races, and at 1 1/2 miles on the dirt, is a dinosaur with so few main track events carded at twelve furlongs these days. With the short five week span for three gruelling races under scale weight of 126 pounds over three very different tracks and three different distances, it takes a very special horse sweep the series. So much so that only eleven horses have completed the task, and the last one, Affirmed, was back in 1978. This year we have a chance for a new Triple Crown winner in Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another. Can he go all the way?

Thanks to injuries, poor performance in preps, or just plain lack of ability at the distance, the Belmont often gets a short field of horses. While traffic trouble, a major issue in the Derby, shouldn't be an issue here, once again 3-year-olds are being asked to do something they've never done and conditioning will be key. Major factors which separate the likely winners of the Belmont are weighed out in this analysis, as we did for the Derby and Preakness fields.

Like the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, we have compiled some of the more profitable angles used to select a Belmont Stakes winner in recent years, and applied them to the possible entrants. Some novice horseplayers mistakenly believe a long race immediately favors closers when in fact the Belmont favors stalkers. As well, the 4.00 Dosage Index angle is stronger in the Belmont than in the Derby where it's mostly used (we set the upper limit at 3.00 in this race), but there's an additional dosage angle which is quite counter-intuitive indeed. The Belmont favors horses who do NOT have points in the Solid or Professional wings of their dosage profiles (which we refer to as "double-zero"), where you'd expect to see indicators of stamina for the grueling 12 furlong trip.

Below are the contenders we analyzed in order of preference. The contenders selected are the ones who are confirmed or likely to enter as of today. Always remember that this profile is for the winning position only and any horse can still finish in the money. You can view the past performances of these horses free at DRF.

I'll Have Another is going for immortality on Saturday and as expected he leads this analysis by a wide margin. It is worth noting that Big Brown and Smarty Jones also "distanced" the competition in our analysis but still failed to win. The Doug O'Neill trainee scored on every factor we were looking for, except two. We want to see a sharp race at Belmont Park, but he has never raced at "Big Sandy", and he has 1 point in the Solid wing of his dosage profile. Are these two knocks enough to deny him?

Street Life, a newcomer to the Triple Crown wars, surprised us as the second highest ranked horse in the analysis. He enters the "Test of a Champion" off a third place effort in the Peter Pan, which qualifies as a sharp prep, an in-the-money finish in a graded stakes, and a sharp race at Belmont Park. He qualifies on both counts in dosage, having the double-zero and a 3.00 index, is not coming to the race off "triple tops" in Beyers, and has made enough starts as a 3-year-old.

The next 5 horses scored equal points and are listed alphabetically.

Atigun is another fresh face, and won the first race of the Kentucky Derby card, an allowance event, qualifying as a sharp prep. He stalks the pace, has enough starts at 3, is not coming here off a triple top, qualifies on dosage, and has enough starts this year. He did not run in the Derby or Preakness, was over-raced at 2, does not have any in-the-money finishes in graded stakes, has never run at Belmont, and does not have any triple-digit Beyer figures.

Five Sixteen enters the Belmont off a distant 4th in an allowance at Aqueduct, clearly not a sharp prep. He does stalk the pace, has enough starts at 2 and 3, qualifies on dosage, and is not coming off "triple tops". On the downside he did not run in the Derby or Preakness, has no graded stakes races, has one poor effort at Belmont (on turf as a 2-year-old), and has a best Beyer of 78.

On to page 2 for the rest of the horses

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