06/03/2008 9:10PM

What Price Big Brown?


Here's how they bet the last three Belmont Stakes where a Triple Crown was on the line:

I think it's safe to say that the 2004 template is the one that's going to most closely resemble the 2008 version. Big Brown obviously is going to be odds-on, though probably not as short as his 1-5 Preakness price. Smarty Jones went from being 0.70-1 in the Preakness to 0.35-1 in the Belmont, but he didn't face as well-regarded a new shooter as Casino Drive, who looks like a clear second choice somewhere around 7-2 or 4-1. Denis of Cork and Tale of Ekati figure to be the distant, gapped-out third and fourth choices, similar to their Derby finishes.

Rock Hard Ten and Eddington were 6-1 and 14-1 in the 2004 Belmont after running second and third in Smarty Jones's Preakness, but Macho Again and Icabad Crane figure to be significantly longer than that. Anak Nakal, D'Tara and Ready's Echo all could be 30-1 and up despite being trained by recent Belmont winners Pletcher and Zito.

The Belmont and supporting card (Acorn, Just a Game, Manhattan, True North, Woody Stephens) will be drawn Wednesday, when racing resumes at Belmont with rain expected. The long-range forecasts are for some more possible thunderstorms Friday but a pretty clear Belmont day with tempertaures poking up into the 80's.