06/04/2008 7:19PM

Picking Against


Just 64 hours or so till first post on Belmont Day. Here's the 13-race, seven-hour and 45-minute lineup:

The breakdown: Four G1 stakes, two G2 stakes, five allowance races (three for statebreds) and two maiden races (one for statebreds; nine dirt races (six sprints, two miles and the Belmont) and four grass races; ten races for males, three for fillies and mares.

The Acorn drew only five, the True North eight, and everything else attracted 9 or more entrants. I can't find a full wagering menu on Belmont's website, but presumably there are more pick-4's than the guaranteed one on races 8-11. And no dime supers either Friday or Saturday on the Belmont races.

I had to make my 1-2-3-4 selections tonight for the Saturday newspaper and after picking him in the Derby and Preakness, I got off the Big Brown wagon, picking him second here. Of course he's a swell horse, and the most likely winner on paper, but he's a severe underlay at 2-5 in a spot attempting what 10 straight Derby-Preakness winners have failed to do. I landed instead on Denis of Cork (12-1 ML), who has room to improve and did well to pass 17 horses during the Derby. I put the favorite second, my old friend Tale of Ekati third, and Ready's Echo, who has a freaky little late run that could prove interesting if the race falls apart, fourth. Casino Drive has the potential to be any kind of horse, but I can't abide 7-2 on a horse making his third career start.