Friday, June 9, 2017

Patching Together a Belmont Ticket

Entering the Belmont Stakes, it's been fashionable in horse racing circles to pan this field and the entire three-year-old crop.

So much so that it was hard to keep track of how Monmouth Park handicapper Brad Thomas, a guest on WFAN on Friday afternoon, would play the Belmont without keeping to less than a few thousand betting combinations.

In a race devoid of the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winners, perhaps it's a rational argument and this race lacks allure, yet these are opportunities to cash in if you've got the conviction in a single horse.

“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” – Patches
Patch, listed at a 12-to-1 morning line, is the NJ Horseplayer selection to win the 2017 Belmont.

All 12 horses entered for Saturday's final leg of the Triple Crown have question marks.

Irish War Cry, the lukewarm favorite and local hero as a New Jersey-bred horse, beat the top-two Preakness Stakes runners (Cloud Computing and Classic Empire), but ran two clunkers in a troubled Kentucky Derby trip and the Fountain of Youth.

Second-choice Lookin at Lee is winless in five tries this year and has zero early speed, and horses like him that love to launch from way back generally fare poorly in the 1.5-mile Belmont, which has long favored horses closer to the early pace. Plus, I just think another closer type -- Senior Investment -- is a better choice to use "underneath" in exotic wagers.

For my money, I think Patch is a good value even if bet down to single-digit odds, drawing outside, which should give jockey John Velasquez the opportunity to stalk the pace maybe from the fourth or fifth position and be close enough to outlast the rest to the wire.

Patch boasts the pedigree to get the distance, having past Belmont Stakes winners Union Rags (2012) and A.P. Indy (1992) in his bloodlines.

In all likelihood, if you're looking for ideas on how to play the race, here are my selections, including a Pick 3 ticket starting Race 9 where I think Tom's Ready is a very playable horse at a 15-to-1 morning line and may be the best one-turn horse in the U.S.

The total bankroll is $70, though you can scale down the amount of the base wager on a lesser budget. Good luck to those participating!
  • $10 win-place 12 = $20
  • $5 exacta key box 12 with 7, 8 = $20
  • $2 trifecta 12 with 7, 8 with 1, 5, 7, 8 = $12
  • Race 9 $1 Pick 3: 8 with 1-4, 6-7, 9 with 7, 12 = $14