I’ll Have Another Draws Post #11 (4-5 M/L) in Belmont

June 06, 2012 | Gary Quill

I’ll Have Another Draws Post #11 (4-5 M/L) in Belmont

Is this the year horse racing fans finally get their Triple Crown winner?! The 144th running of the Belmont Stakes is shaping up to be not that tough a race for I’ll Have Another. The consensus seems to believe there are only two (2) foes (Dullahan and Union Rags) that have a shot at spoiling the end the 34 year Triple Crown Drought. Actually, there are twelve (12) 3 year olds scheduled to break from the starting gate at Belmont on Saturday, for the $1 million 1½ mile classic, Post Time is 6:40pm. NBC-TV will have “live” coverage from 5pm-7pm.

Late morning on Wednesday the Post Positions were drawn for Saturday’s 144th running of the Belmont Stakes. A field of 11 will break from the starting gate on for this 1 1/2 mile “Test of Champions”, the final jewel of the Triple Crown. Below is how they’ll line-up in the starting gate, along with track oddsmakers Morning Line and what I (G.Q.) predict will be the Post Time odds…

PP

HORSE

SILKS

JOCKEY

TRAINER

M/L

G.Q.

1.

Street Life

Magnolia silks

Jose Lezcano

Chad Brown

12-1

18-1

2.

Unstoppable U

Magdalena silks

Junior Alvarado

Kenneth McPeek

30-1

37-1

3.

Union Rags

Chadds Ford silks

John Velazquez

Michael Matz

6-1

7-1

4.

Atigun

Atigun silks

Julien Leparoux

Kenneth McPeek

30-1

35-1

5.

Dullahan

Donegal silks

Javier Castellano

Dale Romans

5-1

9-2

6.

Ravelo’s Boy

Korina silks

Alex Solis

Manuel Azpurua

50-1

58-1

7.

Five Sixteen

MeB Racing silks

Rosie Napravnik

Dom. Schettino

50-1

42-1

8.

Guyana Star Dweej

Shivmangal silks

Kent Desormeaux

D. Shivmangal

50-1

70-1

9.

Paynter

Zayat silks

Mike Smith

Bob Baffert

8-1

9-1

10.

Optimizer

Bluegrass Hall silks

Corey Nakatani

D. Wayne Lukas

20-1

25-1

11.

I’ll Have Another

Reddam silks

Mario Gutierrez

Doug O’Neill

4-5

3-5

12.

My Adonis

Hall silks

R. Dominguez

Kelly Breen

20-1

28-1

Before you put the champagne on ice, think back over the past 10 years at how many times the Derby and Preakness winner was thought to be a “shoe in” to win the Belmont. There’s Big Brown (2008), Smarty Jones (2004), Funny Cide (2003) and War Emblem (2001). And those horses seemingly didn’t have much competition standing in their way of the Triple Crown, but “The Big Sandy” (aka Belmont) found a way to deny them their place in thoroughbred horse racing history.

I’ll Have Another has proven to be a worthy champion, but the reality is there hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner for 34 years because it’s NOT an easy feat! I was 15 years old in 1973 when Secretariat won the Triple Crown. The first to win it since Citation in 1948! At that time it seemed like an eternity. That gap was ONLY 25 years. Today it just doesn’t seem has if it’s been 34 years since Affirmed won it in 1978… has it to you?! Maybe I’m just getting old?

Though Bodemeister won’t be running in the Belmont Stakes, trainer Bob Baffet has another front-runner (Paynter) for I’ll Have Another to try to run down in deep stretch. Paynter is the only “new shooter” being hyped which typically results in a disappointing effort in the actual running of the race. His front-runner style and the fact his victory in an earlier race at Pimlico on Preakness Day earned a higher Beyer Speed figure than I’ll Have Another, makes him an attractive option. But can Speed hold going 1½ miles?

Affirmed became the last Triple Crown winner by famously going to the lead and simply refusing to let Alydar get by in 1978. In between Sir Barton (front-running Triple Crown winner) and Affirmed, a number of horses you may have heard of were front-running Belmont winners: Man o’ War, Gallant Fox, War Admiral, Count Fleet, Citation, Riva Ridge, Secretariat, Bold Forbes and Seattle Slew.

Using Affirmed as an arbitrary line of demarcation, the horse on the lead after a mile has prevailed in nine of the last 32 editions, but the trend seems to have shifted a bit. Consider that:

• From 1979 to 1991, if your horse was in front after the opening mile, it was better than a 50-50 proposition to hold on. Seven of 13 winners fit that profile, including Conquistador Cielo, Swale and Danzig Connection – three of Woody Stephens’s five consecutive Belmont winners from 1982-86.

• Since then, however, only two of the last 20 winners led after a mile – Point Given (2001), probably the best modern-day horse not to win a Triple Crown, and Da’ Tara (2008), who wired the field as the rank outsider while 3-10 favorite Big Brown was eased.

Originally my blog was going to take a sabbatical during the Summer and return for the 10 Day Meet @ Timonium for the Maryland State Fair (Aug. 24th – 26th; Aug. 31st – Sept. 3rd). But the allure of turf racing @ Colonial Downs (VA) has prompted me to reconsider and post selections for those race days (Thursday thru Saturday, 1st Post 7:00pm EDT and Sunday 1st Post 12:55pm EDT), closing day is July 28th.

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Quill Says:

    I don’t believe a mile and a half is going to affect I’ll Have Another.
    He doesn’t have to be in the front until the stretch run….this will keep him out of trouble. Good luck to that great horse…

  2. Gary Quill Says:

    Of the field of 12, I’ll Have Another is best bred for the 1 1/2 miles. With that being said, hopefully not being able to wear the nasal strips (thanks NYRA) WILL NOT be an excuse.

  3. Michael Says:

    So what is your pick Gary or are you still deciding? Small note, War Emblem was 2002, not 2001 (It was our first Belmont)!

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