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2013 Belmont Contenders Analysis


orb horse racing

Orb winning the Kentucky Derby

© Cindy Pierson Dulay
Updated June 02, 2013

The Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park 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

Thanks to injuries, poor performance in preps, or just plain lack of ability at the distance, the Belmont Stakes often gets a short field of horses, but this year appears to be an exception with a possibly of coming close to the maximum field size of 16. While traffic trouble, a major issue in the Kentucky Derby, shouldn't be as major an issue around the wide sweeping turns of "Big Sandy", 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 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes 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 Stakes favors horses who do NOT have points in the Solid or Professional wings of their dosage profiles, where you'd expect to see indicators of stamina for the grueling 12 furlong trip. In the past we only looked for "double zero" but this year this has been modified: a point is given if a zero appears in either wing, two points for a double.

Below are the Belmont Stakes contenders we analyzed in order of preference. The contenders selected are the ones who are confirmed or likely to enter as of Saturday June 1, one week before the race. 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 from NYRA and Daily Racing Form.

Oxbow, winner of the Preakness, tops the list this year. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee only failed to score on three of the factors. He raced in both the Derby and Preakness, has enough starts this year, and by winning the Preakness he has a sharp prep within our layoff limit, an in-the-money finish in a graded stake, and a 100+ Beyer (106 at Pimlico). Finally he qualifies on all three dosage requirements - a DI of 2.50, and no points in either the Solid or the Professional. His only negatives are the lack of a Belmont Park race, his front-running style, and he was over-raced as a juvenile

The next 2 horses scored equal points and are listed alphabetically.

Orb won the Derby as the favorite but failed in the Preakness, earning him points for both races, Beyer figures, stakes win this year, in-the-money in graded stakes, and layoff limit. Although he rallied from well off the pace in the Derby, his usual style is stalking within 4 lengths which is preferred here so he earns that point, and he lacks points in the Solid wing of the dosage profile. On the downside his fourth place finish in Baltimore does not qualify as a sharp prep, his distant 4th place finish at Belmont last September does not qualify as a sharp race at Big Sandy, his dosage index is above 3, and he has 2 points in the Professional wing.

Revolutionary, third in the Derby last out, ties Orb for second place in the analysis. Like Orb, he rallied from well off the pace in Louisville but is usually a stalker. He earns points for running in the Derby, starts at 2, stakes win at 3 as well as in-the-money in graded stakes (Louisiana Derby and Withers Stakes), layoff (the Derby at 5 weeks is the limit), Beyer figure of 102 earned at Aqueduct, and a dosage right at the limit of 3.00. He does have 1 point in each of Solid and Professional, has too few starts this year, and skipped the Preakness.

On to page 2 for the rest of the horses

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