Johnny Love picks the Belmont Stakes

  • Article by: JOHNNY LOVE , Star Tribune handicapper
  • Updated: June 7, 2013 - 1:07 PM

This year's Belmont Stakes could be the most wide open in years with it's large field of 14 and the strong chance of rain in the forecast.

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Trainer Todd Pletcher and Revolutionary

Photo: Charlie Riedel, Associated Press - Ap

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This year's Belmont Stakes could be the most wide open in years with it's large field of 14 and the strong chance of rain in the forecast. Obviously, with the large group running today and the possibility of a sloppy course, this race definitely resembles more the Kentucky Derby than the Preakness Stakes.

This year's group includes several speed runners along with several closers who will attempt today's mile and a half distance for the first and probable last time of their racing careers. I think the two trophy winners, ORB and OXBOW are your main contenders but I'm having trouble in the trust factor with both.

Orb had his 5 win streak broke after a less than thrilling performance in the Preakness and his lone start at Belmont Park was a fourth place finish of 22 lengths behind. Oxbow is 0-8 when not getting the lead and he definitely won't get the snail pace dream trip he got in the Preakness with the speedsters in this field. I'm looking at rivals today who are well rested and can run a steady pace till the cows come home.

For wagering strategies I'm looking for a runner to key in my trifecta tickets who I think has the strongest chance of hitting the board spreading out around him.

Good luck and have fun.

REVOLUTIONARY is my key who ran third in the Kentucky Derby finishing well on the sloppy course after some traffic troubles. Trainer Pletcher skipped the Preakness to get ready for today's race, so should be fresh and ready with solid works entering. Another selling point is being reunited with jockey Javier Castellano, who won as a team in the two lone starts together in the Louisiana Derby and Withers Stakes.

OVERANALYZE is another Pletcher runner who won the Futurity at Belmont Park last September and should be well rested after finishing 11th in the Derby. Most interesting angle for me is his 8 race record of win-lost-win-lost-win-lost-win-lost-? Have to admit, hard to bet against with that pattern on the line. Pletcher's top jockey John Velazquez hops aboard who was the rider in the Futurity.

FREEDOM CHILD won the Peter Pan Stakes with a crushing 13 length victory setting quick fractions and drawing away from the field on a sloppy course at Belmont Park. With that race at 1 1/8 miles, the question is whether he'll have anything left in the tank to complete today's distance going gate-to-wire.

UNLIMITED BUDGET is the lone filly in the race and will have to step it up a notch in tackling the boys with Rosie Napravnik in the saddle. Won four consecutive before running third in the Kentucky Oaks after a bumpy start. Training well and did I mention another Pletcher horse.

GOLDEN SOUL ran second in the Derby at a huge price closing late in his career best race. Return off that effort makes him a contender but slight concern is a skipped workout and trainer saying his colt's appetite isn't where it should be.

Betting Strategy $1 Trifecta ( 9/ 2,3,5,7,13,14/ 2,3,5,7,12,13,14) (2,3,5,7,13,14/ 9 /2,3,5,7,12,13,14) (2,3,5,7,13,14/ 2,3,5,7,12,13,14 / 9) $36 each $108 Total.

Click here for the horses by post position.

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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
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Washington 60 3rd Qtr
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Cleveland 4:00 PM
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LA Lakers 7:00 PM
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Marshall 52 FINAL
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Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
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UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
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(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
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Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
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(18) Clemson
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(20) Louisville
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(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech

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