07/17/2015 11:49AM

Fornatale: Jessee breaks down Belmont allowance


Blake Jessee is an up-and-comer in the tournament world. Last weekend, he won the Arlington Park live-bankroll contest and the $10,000 Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge seat that went with it. Jessee is a specialist when it comes to tournament play – he loves live-bankroll because of the ability to choose where and how to best leverage his strongest opinions.

He is playing in another live-bankroll event in Las Vegas this weekend, and in today's piece he will walk us through his strategic approach to Belmont's eighth race in that contest. Note that this is also one of the races in Saturday's BCQualify.com contest, where up to three players will win a chance to join Jessee at the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge.

Take it away, Blake!

The tournament I'm playing in this weekend has a unique structure. You can only play win, place, and exacta wagers. Your starting bankroll is $1,000 and you must wager $100 on 10 different designated contest races. By way of comparison, last weekend at Arlington, starting bank was $2,000 and you only had to make four $100 wagers on Arlington races. Always start off any contest by making sure you have a clear understanding of the rules. That's the only way to come up with a solid game plan. In this event, I think just getting on the board is the most important thing since you only have10 shots to fire.

With that in mind, let's look at my key horses in Belmont's eighth race on Saturday.

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#8 Sioux (6-1): This colt is coming off a long layoff. Last time out, he was beaten 30 lengths, but that was his first time going two turns, and I don't think that's what this horse really wants to do. In my opinion, he's a much better one-turn horse. He also has been racing against better and finds himself in a really good spot because of the way the conditions of the race have been written – he's a three-time winner who has never started for a tag.

His 6-1 morning-line odds seem generous, and I like that Manny Franco jumps off a seemingly live contender (#2 Joking, at 5-1 on the morning line) to ride here. To sweeten the pot, he's a horse that has shown in the past that he fires his best races fresh off a long layoff, and that's what he's doing today.

#10 Dekalb County (5-2): This is the likely favorite in here, and he really could be anything after what he's shown off his last two races, putting up back-to-back 90+ Beyer Speed Figures and beating his competition in both by a combined 12 1/2 lengths. He's drawn nicely to use his speed to his advantage and may well be the one in here, but the price is sure to be short. Fortunately, the wagering menu in live-bankroll contests gives players the option of trying to find value in runners like this via exotics and/or weighting their bets.

#1 Collin’s Smile (12-1): I think this is an intriguing longshot. Bruce Brown claimed him off of Chris Hartman at the recent Churchill Downs meet, and now he shows up here in a protected spot. For me, any time Javier Castellano takes the call, I have to take notice and at least look twice. Collin’s Smile's numbers aren't that far off from what it would take to be competitive in here, so I think he's worth using at the likely price.

What I'm playing:

$65 win 8

$25 exacta 10-8

$10 exacta 1-8