|1||Chocolate Candy||J. Hollendorfer||G. Gomez||10-1|
|2||Dunkirk||T. Pletcher||J. Velazquez||4-1|
|3||Mr. Hot Stuff||E. Harty||E. Prado||15-1|
|4||Summer Bird||T. Ice||K. Desormeaux||12-1|
|5||Luv Gov||D.W. Lukas||M. Mena||20-1|
|6||Charitable Man||K. McLaughlin||A. Garcia||3-1|
|7||Mine That Bird||B. Woolley Jr.||C. Borel||2-1|
|8||Flying Private||D.W. Lukas||J. Leparoux||12-1|
|9||Miner’s Escape||N. Zito||J. Lezcano||15-1|
|10||Brave Victory||N. Zito||R. Maragh||15-1|
Mine That Bird- After the Preakness, he has proven that he is no fluke. Now he has the chance to prove that he is a great horse. His daddy won this race in 2004, now he is the morning line favorite. The only questions are how far behind will he get early on and will he have the closing kick he showed earlier when being asked to go an extra quarter mile.
Dunkirk- He should be well rested after skipping the Preakness. He disappointed in the Kentucky Derby, but has the best Beyer Speed Figure in the field. He will make a run at early leader Charitable Man, but will it be enough to catch him AND hold off Mine That Bird. His 3.7 million dollar purchase price was based on his ability to win races like this. It’s now or never for his legacy.
Charitable Man- Based off his great run in the Peter Pan over this track last month, he may go off as the race time favorite. He will be closer to the lead than other favorites Bird and Dunkirk. He could run away with the race the way Da’ Tara did last year. The question for him is was his poor performance in the Bluegrass or his stellar run in the Peter Pan more representative of what he is.
Chocolate Candy- He ran a respectable fifth in the slop at Churchill Downs and should be well rested. His main problem is that he rarely wins. His best performances have been close seconds and late rallies to show. His breeding suggests an ability to handle the distance, but he’ll have to be better than he’s been before.
Summer Bird- This half brother of Mine That Bird should benefit from an early fast pace, but if the race comes down to a late charge can he outrun Mine That Bird and Dunkirk. Kent Desormeaux is on board for the first time and hopes that a different “Bird” pulls off the upset this Saturday.
Flying Private- D. Wayne Lukas has won the Belmont a few times, and not always with a favorite. His form most of 2009 has not been anything to suggest him, but in the Preakness he had his best race. He would need to bounce up, rather than back to be a real factor in this race, but he could be a good bet in the exotics.
Luv Guv- Lukas’ other horse seems to be an afterthought. He was 8 links worse than Mine That Bird and 5 lengths off his stablemate Flying Private in the Preakness. It’s hard to like him in a race where his off the pace style is employed by so many more talented horses in the field.
Brave Victory- He finished third in the Peter Pan behind Charitable Man. His breeding suggests a sprinter, so a fast pace will cause him difficulty in the stretch. He is from multiple winner Nick Zito’s stable but may not be as good as the other Zito entry.
Miner’s Escape- He has value based on his frontrunning style. He and Charitable Man will probably be on the lead after 1 mile and if the pace is slow enough, they could have plenty left. His father was 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft and his granddaddy was Belmont winner AP Indy, so distance shouldn’t be an issue. I saw him win the Tesio by 41/2 lengths over a lesser field at Pimlico and he looked to have more to give. Based on that and Nick Zito’s brilliance at this track, he must be considered.
Mr. Hot Stuff- He is back after a 15th place finish in the Derby. That was his only race on the real dirt that he will be gliding over tomorrow. His poor performance could be attributed to the wet surface. He will be hoping for a fast pace to wear out Charitable Man. He face the problem some of the other closers do. Even if the race opens up for late speed and even if he gets a clear trip; can he outrun Mine That Bird to the wire.
I liked Dunkirk in the Derby, and off the 5 weeks of rest I am going to go with him again. The field hopes that Miner’s Escape will press Charitable Man on the lead. It may be counter intuitive, but the longer race actually produces more front running victories. That is because the distance often forces a slower pace and the leaders are still fresh at the top of the stretch; and the closers have never had to run so far before starting their run. The key to the race will be how much Charitable Man has left when he hits the third turn on the lead. I think it will be plenty and will force a big race from another horse to catch him. Mine That Bird is running for a place in history as is Calvin Borel, with the first ever “jockey” Triple Crown hanging in the balance. I think that the demanding Triple Crown schedule will finally catch up with him, but I’ve doubted him every step of the way. So what do I know.
PLACE CHARITABLE MAN
SHOW CHOCOLATE CANDY
4. Mine That Bird
5. Luv Guv
6. Flying Private
7. Miner’s Escape
8. Summer Bird
9. Mr. Hot Stuff
10. Brave Victory