06/04/2010 8:58PM

Belmont Eve 2010


Ice Box is the equivalent of the 5-2 favorite in the Brooklyn/Belmont daily-double willpays, where the betting virtually mirrored Eric Donovan's morning line for the 142nd Belmont Stakes:

Just as Donovan predicted, the field of 12 has three distinct tiers: there are three clear favorites at 5-1 or less (Ice Box, First Dude and Fly Down); the next six are close together in the 10-1 to 15-1 range (Uptowncharlybrown, Make Music For Me, Interactif, Drosselmeyer, Game On Dude and Stately Victor); and the three clear outsiders at over 20-1 are Stay Put, Spangled Star and Dave in Dixie.

Keep an eye on the weather. The forecast earlier in the week was for storms late Thursday and Friday with clearing by Saturday, but with each passing day the storm forecasts were pushed farther back. As I write this Friday evening at sunset five miles from the track, it's just now beginning to rain, and the predictions now call for "isolated" and "scattered" thunderstorms throughout tomorrow, with a 30-to-40 percent chance of rain every hour and temperatures in the 80's.

I was out at Belmont for a couple of hours today on a sunny and steamy afternoon. The attendance was 4,423, which at least was a 50 percent gain over last Friday's 2,913, and all sources handle was a healthy $10.7 million (vs. $8.5 million a week ago.) despite running against Monmouth ($5.4 million), which was closed last Friday. Alcomo (BRZ) rallied to win by a nose to win the Brooklyn in 2:30.07 over 18-1 Gabriel Hill, who led until the final strides while defining "one-paced": Gabriel Hill ran his first six furlongs in 1:15.02 and the last six furlongs in 1:15.06. If they let First Dude loose through 1:15.02 tomorrow, the race could be over at the halfway point.

Nobody picked six for the second straight day, so there's a $129k carryover into tomorrow, where the pool is guaranteed at $1 million.

Time to tighten the screws on tomorrow's handicapping. I'll post my pre-scratch pick-4/pick-6 thoughts in the morning before leaving for the track and abandon you all for the day. We'll commiserate back here on Sunday.