The “Sport of Kings”, also known as Horse Racing, will kick off their Triple Crown Season this weekend. The Kentucky Derby is always the first race but in an effort to get fans to pack Churchill Downs, the race was moved to September 5th. This year the Belmont Stakes in New York will get the party started.
Let me make something clear before I begin with the picks… I am not an expect Horse Racing Handicapper and I am not claiming to be one. FanDuel is offering a “FREE” contest this week for the Belmont Stakes. I thought it would be fun to do a little research and see how close I can come to predicting the winning lineup.
Here is my picks for the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes…
- Dr. Post (5-1): Why am I picking Dr. Post to win? His combination of trainer (Todd Pletcher) and jockey (Irad Ortiz Jr.) are the best in the business right now. Pletcher has three wins in the Belmont Stakes (more than any other trainer in the field). Ortiz is the current Eclipse Award winner (given to the best jockey in North America). Ortiz has won 147 races this year. That is 14 more than the jockey in 2nd place. I also like Dr. Post because he is not the favorite. The favorite has won three times in the last 15 years. Dr. Post has never lost as a three-year-old and he has run the 1 1/8th-mile length more than any horse in the race. I will take my chance with Dr. Post Saturday.
- Tiz the Law (6-5): Why am I not picking the clear favorite to win? There is nothing not to like about this horse. He is clearly the fastest in the field. Tiz the Law won 4 of his 5 starts and finished third in the other. He is undefeated this season and his wins have not even been close. The Belmont Stakes is always a close race. Tiz the Law has a jockey (Manny Franco) who has never ridden a horse in the Belmont Stakes. He is the second youngest jockey in the field and there will be a lot of pressure on this 25 year old to win. Tiz the Law is from New York and no horse from this state has won since 1882. There are enough negatives to place this horse in the second position, losing by a nose.
- Tap It to Win (6-1): Why do I like Tap It to Win? Mostl, because of his jockey and his starting position. John Valazquez will be riding this horse. He is a Hall of Fame jockey will be making his 24th start in the Belmont Stakes. Valazquez climbed aboard Tap It to Win three weeks ago and rode him to Victory at Belmont Park. Can he do it again? This horse starts from the No. 1 gate. It is the winning starting position in the Belmont Stakes with 23 winners (gates 3 and 5 have 13 wins). His owner (Mark Casse) won the Belmont last year with Sir Winston. He will try to do it again Saturday. I expect Tap It to Win to pace the field and fall to the third position at the end of the race.
For more research, check out the 2020 Belmont Stakes Cheat Sheet