06/02/2009 6:06PM

What Price Mine That Bird?


 LongtailedweaselI'm beginning to think that anything better than even-money on Mine That Bird in the Belmont might be stealing -- and I think his price is indeed going to better.

Now before you point that canister of Weasel-Away in my direction, I'm usually not a chalk-eating rodent when it comes to the Belmont. Horses going for the Triple Crown may be the biggest underlays in racing, and I picked and bet against Big Brown and Smarty Jones at 3-10 in recent years. If Mine That Bird were in that position and price, I'd be lining up against him. But at the 7-5 or 8-5 most people are predicting, and with the 2-3-4 Derby finishers and 1-3 Preakness finishers absent from the Belmont, maybe he'll be as underbet Saturday as he would have been overbet had he won at Pimlico.

Here's how the betting went in the last six Belmonts where there was no Triple Crown on the line:

My guess is that Mine That Bird will be more like Aptitude's 1.75-1 than Point Given's 13-10 or Afleet Alex's 11-10. The latter two were coming off decisive Preakness victories that properly led bettors to believe they had asserted themselves as superior to their Triple Crown classes. But if you take Rachel Alexandra and Musket Man out of the Preakness, didn't Mine That Bird "win" with a similar kind of authority?

My feeling as of Tuesday is that the place to get cute in this Belmont is by opposing the second choice rather than the favorite. Charitable Man is obviously a horse of quality, but I wasn't as knocked out by his Peter Pan as others were. It didn't come up that strong against the clock -- his winning Beyer of 98 was the second slowest since 1991 -- and he couldn't have had a dreamier set-up: One rank horse in front of him running off to a big lead and chucking on the turn, while Charitable Man sat second and then took over with a "burst" that may have been a bit of an optical illusion.

Saturday's card will be drawn Wednesday morning. If you're looking for something to do in the meantime, there's a $48k pick-6 carryover when Belmont reopens tomorrow,and it looks playable -- just two buried firsters and one turf sprint in the sequence. The featured 8th, a N1x for turf fillies, is the DRF Race of the Day. Stakes-placed Blitzen Too and Forest Trail are the obvious favorites but look like the right ones.

Mike D. More than 1 year ago
I see Mine That Bird as a huge underlay at his 2-1 ML odds. I think Charitable Man is the most likely winner -- and 2-1 on him will be fine with me. I'll also take 4-1 on Dunkirk, 8-1 on Chocolate Candy and 11-1 on Summer Bird, if I can get those odds. I'd need 4-1 on Mine That Bird. None of this is based on guess work. It's based on a formula. Of course, the formula is sort of based on guess work.
tom mcdonough More than 1 year ago
DRF needs to do a more lengthy and considered piece on Vincent O'Brien. His career justifies far more than an obit.
Wayne80 More than 1 year ago
Horserun, IF Secretariat had been 1-1 would that not be value? "Value" does not equal "long shot". We can debate whethar 8-5 is value on MTB in this race, it is subject to each individuals handicapping opinion and skills, but to automatically throw out the favorite in every race because you are seeking perceived value will land you in debtors prison. If MTB is 8-5 and Chocolate Candy is 4-1 would you still consider CC the value play? I would not.
bochalls More than 1 year ago
Steve, to make a long story short: if my bankroll hadn't necessitated a single in R8 (i chose Blitzen Too instead of the lone speed) I would have taken THE ENTIRE P6 POOL yesterday at Bel...wow. Five of six was a good payout...mentioned to you yesterday about the fave in R9 being iffy and proposed Api Mokhat as an alternative. Well, he scratched and that got the 14-1 winner on my ticket. Was against the Bush/Desormeaux runner in R6, Offensive Attack, and spread a bit; managing to snag the Jeff Odintz 20-1 shot...again, unreal was the emotion when the 4 hit the front in R9. Yippee, I've got a nice 5 of 6 payout, but man oh man...coulda had it all. Even more peculiar is the fact that I mentioned Token Special's last race(the disputed 1/2m split) and she won anyway at 6-1 in R2...so what about today??? Not chasing the carry, but I do like Dancing Tin Man in R7 and Keep Laughing in R8.
Sean More than 1 year ago
Oh, and I'm not touching Charitable Man. How many Peter Pan winners have been way overbet in the past 10 years? Ive been guilty myself, going on Sunriver in 2006. And I remember Purge in 2004 being talked up as the wise guy horse against Smarty Jones. Just remember that AP Indy in 1992 is the last Peter Pan winner to take the Belmont. Charitable Man is a toss.
Sean More than 1 year ago
Dunkirk = throwout. He is one of the most overrated horses I have seen in recent memory. I think Mine That Bird is the clear favorite since he's proven to be the best in the field and his running style is well-suited for the 1 1/2 distance. The only concern is if the two previous races took anything out of him. If he falters, I'm looking towards Chocolate Candy or the rapidly improving Flying Private.
beerbelly More than 1 year ago
Computing the stamina indexes of 5 generations of tail-female families of all Belmont starters here are the top five bred to go 12 furlongs: Dunkirk Chocolate Candy Miner's Escape Summer Bird Mr. Hot Stuff Charitable Man is bred to go long on the sire & broodmare sire line. However his tail-female line says "oxygen deficit in the stretch." Mine That Bird's talent & heart should put him in the supefecta. Tail-female lack of marathon stamina precludes victory. Good luck all. Saturday's track will be fast. Alas, the turf will be less than firm.
Matt M. More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you forget how weak some of the fields were in the Belmont. That 2006 bunch that Steve posted was brutal....a glorified allowance field. Haven't gone over my Thorograph figures yet, but think MTB will be awfully tough. Surprised at how many fellow 'cappers are taking big stands against.....but that's what makes it interesting!
Joe S. More than 1 year ago
Wasn't it marble the engraved Secretariat pedestal, split in 3 by the runaway? drf said concrete. That's a terrific statue of a real legend. On the other hand, Sea Hero was a nice horse, but bronzed in the Saratoga paddock? How many more deserving 'Spa' horses can you consider, Mr. Crist?? In my book In Excess, Fourstardave certainly, would be good REPLACEMENTS. To be fair, the Secretariat pedestal tells us Paul Mellon paid for the bronze of 'Big Red'. But Mellon's Sea Hero in bronze? Put up a people's horse. Bronze Fourstardave!
chisox More than 1 year ago
new_jersey_d, MTB does not necessarily have to be in the same class as Thunder Gulch to duplicate a Derby/Belmont double, after all they are not facing the same fields. As for Dunkirk not wanting 1 1/2 miles based on his stretch run of the Fla Derby as someone mentioned earlier, well that is just silly. He ran a huge Fla Derby under impossible circumstances and he absolutely is the value play in my opinion. It is very hard to knock MTB but one intangible I am counting on is that the grind will catch up with him and I like that Dunkirk will be fresh. Lastly, Dunkirk's Derby was obviously a throwout and thankfully many bettors have short memories.