Justify will attempt to become the 13th member of the Triple Crown champions club. Still, many bettors are going to play against him, trying to hit the big ticket and take home a big pile of cash
After all, Justify worked extremely hard to win the the Kentucky Derby in the mud, then had to fend off late charges to win again in the slop at the Preakness Stakes. Now comes his toughest test yet, the 1 1/2-mile the Belmont Stakes. Plus, there’s another chance of rain in the forecast.
But his trainer Bob Baffert, won his first Triple Crown in 2015 with American Pharoah, and knows what it takes to do it again. Jockey Mike Smith is a Hall of Famer, who is looking to become the oldest jockey ever to win the Triple Crown. The 52-year-old jockey stays in great shape year round and is one of the best when he’s on the lead wiuth his horse.
I believe Justify can get it done again and remain undefeated. There’s not a three year old horse in the country with his speed.
To make some money, if you’re putting Justify on top, you’ll need to have to be clever with your exacta and trifecta tickets. If you think he’s beatable, go for it and think bombs-away with the payouts, He’s going to go off around 4-5 at post time, and the average $1 trifecta payout for the last 10 years in the Belmont is $1,241.33.
But there's money to be made with Justify winning the race. With this distance and a large field, anything can happen Here’s a look at the race:
JUSTIFY came out of the Preakness Stakes healthy, and has looked strong with a steady maintenance of morning workouts. I would love to see him get a fast track to run on. I think Smith would have a easier time controlling a moderate pace on a dry surface. Drawing the rail position is only a plus for me. Smith is going to fire Justify out of the gate as the lone early speed in the race. He’s bred decently for the distance, so carrying his speed to the stretch run shouldn’t be a problem. Now if it rains, it could be a whole new ballgame. He’s 3 for 3 in the mud, but he’s going to have to work much harder carrying his speed to the finish line. His rivals have a better shot of gathering late momentum and rolling late on a sloppy track.
But Justify is stamped in as my top choice, rain or shine. I tried to find ways to beat him on paper in the first two Triple Crown races. But I couldn’t come up woth anything. Same goes for the Belmont.
HOFBURG is probably the main threat to Justify. He had one of the worse trips in the Kentucky Derby, but muscled his way forward, finishing a strong seventh. He then galloped past Justify when cruising down, full of mud, and looking like he wanted to keep going. He’s well rested and bred for the marathon distance. This colt is a serious threat, rain or shine
BLENDED CITIZEN is my big price play. Winner of of the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park, he can run and run and run. This big, long-striding colt will be doing his better running late in the game, so be patient if you put some money on him. A versatile runner, he doesn’t mind the slop either. Hoping to get around 20-1 when the gates open.
BRAVAZO is the only runner who might be able to keep Justify busy up front. Ran sixth in the Kentucky Derby, then was runner-up in the Preakness, coming up a half-length short. This colt would love to see showers throughout the day. He does his best running in the mud, and is the main threat for the upset if the track is wet. With all of that said, I’m leaving him off my ticket. I believe three grueling races in five weeks is too much for him.
TENFOLD ran a strong third in the Preakness, and is another runner where the 1 1-2 miles shouldn’t be a problem. This colt might be coming along at the right time. Today’s race is only his fifth start.
How to bet the race? Here's an idea for how to wager $100.
$3 Trifectas (Justify over Free Drop Billy, Hofburg, Restoring Hope, Tenfold, Vino Rosso, Blended Citizen over Free Drop Billy, Hofburg, Restoring Hope, Tenfold, Vino Rosso, Blended Citizen) $90
$10 Exacta (Justify over Hofburg) $10