Updated on 06/09/2013 12:19AM

Belmont Stakes: Post draw, wet weather add variables

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ELMONT, N.Y. – The weather forecast for the 145th Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park has worsened as the week has progressed, but as far as Tom Albertrani is concerned, “It’s getting better and better for us every time.”

Albertrani trains Freedom Child, who won the Peter Pan Stakes on a sloppy, sealed track here May 11. According to The Weather Channel, steady rain will soak the area Friday, and though the forecast is for the rain to taper to showers Saturday, the likelihood, at least 72 hours out, is that the Belmont will be run on an off track.

Weather was on the minds of several trainers Wednesday morning when final entries were taken and post positions drawn for the Belmont. Fourteen were entered in the 1 1/2-mile race, highlighted by Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner, and Oxbow, who won the Preakness.

Even though Orb won the Derby on an off track, “I hope it’s not on Saturday, not just for my horse, but for everyone’s sake,” said Shug McGaughey, trainer of Orb.

[BELMONT STAKES: Live updates and video from Belmont Park]

Even if it rains, Belmont Park has a sandy surface that can dry quickly. According to McGaughey, Glen Kozak – the vice president of facilities and racing surfaces – “is some kind of trackman.”

“He’s done a fabulous job with these tracks,” McGaughey said.

Orb drew post 5 and Oxbow 7, with Unlimited Budget, the lone filly in the race, drawing post 13, and Golden Soul, the Derby runner-up, landing the outside post 14. The last time the Belmont had as many as 14 starters was in 1996, when the first three finishers broke, in order, from posts 7 (Editor’s Note), 13 (Skip Away), and 9 (the filly My Flag).

A maximum of 16 can run in the Belmont, but only 14 can fit in the main starting gate. Any more than that, and a second gate would be needed.

The Belmont’s purse is $1 million, with $600,000 to the winner.

Orb was installed as the favorite on the morning lines set by both Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, and Eric Donovan of the New York Racing Association. Watchmaker has Orb at 5-2, while Donovan has him at 3-1. Both men have Revolutionary, who finished third in the Derby, as the second choice and Oxbow as the third choice.

McGaughey said he wanted to get in the middle of the field and that he was fine with being in post 5. Orb drew the rail in the Preakness, and the inside seemed to be the worst part of the track that day.

“I’m a lot more satisfied than I was at Pimlico,” McGaughey said.

Albertrani was not enthralled with the post 2 draw for Freedom Child, who has speed but has had trouble getting away cleanly from the gate.

“I was hoping to get a little further toward the middle,” Albertrani said. “I want to find a spot in the clear going into the first turn. It’ll depend on how he leaves there.”

Orb, Golden Soul, and Revolutionary were the first three across the line in the Derby, which was run on a sloppy, sealed track at Churchill Downs, so they have proven form on an off track. Todd Pletcher, trainer of Revolutionary – and four others in the race – said his biggest concern with the track would be “if it’s drying out, deep, and demanding.”

“It will depend on the kind of track we get,” Pletcher said when asked which of his horses would be helped or hindered by an off track. “The latest forecast I’ve seen is that the rain should be tapering off by Saturday, so hopefully they’ll have time to get it tightened.

“Like everyone else, I’d prefer it’s fast.”

Unlimited Budget, the lone filly in the race, won her debut at Aqueduct by 9 1/2 lengths on a track rated good. Pletcher said Unlimited Budget’s pedigree indicates mud should suit her, since her dam is by Valid Appeal.

Because she is a filly facing males, Unlimited Budget gets a 5-pound weight break and will carry 121 pounds compared to 126 for the other 13 runners.

Palace Malice, another Pletcher trainee, ran well for the first part of the Derby while setting a brisk pace before fading, so Pletcher was more inclined to blame the pace, not the track, for his performance. Palace Malice was second on a sloppy, sealed track at Gulfstream earlier this year to a noted mud lover, Majestic Hussar, in a first-level allowance sprint.

Palace Malice added blinkers for the Derby, but they are being removed for the Belmont.

Frac Daddy and Golden Soul arrived Tuesday from Churchill Downs and got their first feel of the track Wednesday morning. Ken McPeek, who trains Frac Daddy, said he would have jockey Alan Garcia send his horse from his rail draw. Dallas Stewart, trainer of Golden Soul, called the outside draw “a tough post,” but said post 14 worked for him when he won the biggest race of his career, the 2006 Kentucky Oaks, with Lemons Forever.

The Belmont is the 11th race on a 13-race card that begins at 11:35 a.m. Eastern. Post time for the Belmont is 6:36 p.m. The Belmont will be shown live by NBC during a two-hour telecast that begins at 5 p.m. and also will include the Grade 1 Manhattan, featuring Point of Entry.

There is a two-hour show featuring earlier Saturday stakes on NBC Sports Network from 3-5 p.m. as well as a post-Belmont wrap-up show on NBC Sports Network from 7-7:30.

Charles Vitale More than 1 year ago
Charliedogs here, I am now going with Revolutionary. After looking at his Derby race and going over the split, here what I came up with. 1/4 1/2 3/4 1m 1 1/8M 1 1/4M - distance 11 1/2 - 22 1/2 - 15 - 7 1/2 - 3 - 3 1/2 - lengths 24.3 - 49.2 - 1:12.4 - 1:37.3 - 1:50.1 - 2:03.45 - time note all his energy was used in the second and third quarter, and he ran from post #2 24.3 / 24.3 / 23.2 / 24.4 / 26.1 will repost with more runners. Play the following: win/ex/triple/super 5,9,14/5,9,14,7/5,9,14,7,13/5,9,14,7,13
Marc More than 1 year ago
Better/bettor beware Belmont boggy 4 big race. Bro should bounce back from being beaten chalk in Preakness, and he ran well in slop in Derby. Revolutionary ran a good race in Derby also and would have been closer if Bo-Rail had guided him to the outside which is where the footing was obviously better based on the races prior to the Derby. If Bro (Orb) is heavily favored, I should get a decent price on Rev. who is 2 for 2 with Castellano and is sitting on a big race.
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Sloppy tack Saturday.? Pick a number.
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
did you mean a BEYER # ???
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
'Andrea is Coming',, tropical storm,,rainy days ahead!!,,Just heard on my fav. FM station,,,,Mugggy?,Soggy?WET Fast? Slow? Muddy?,,,, Patience,,,,& Discipline.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Orb will be happy with that, lol!
EnthusiastOfAll More than 1 year ago
Is there no $.50 trifecta offered at BEL?
Miguel Alvarez More than 1 year ago
No.
EnthusiastOfAll More than 1 year ago
Thanks Miguel. I'm in a superfecta mood anyway!
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
Give it a little more time,,it will come,,,Did ANYONE EVER EXPECT .10 cents Superfectas? Please,make the minimum[sucker] bet HALF A BUCK,in combos,.If a gambler cannot afford a bet like that,he/she should not bet,,and buy some bread,milk instead.,,without having to run to an ATM['all the money,in high interest rates] ,,,Do not gamble your food/rent money,,!!Seriously,, Thankfully,my 'foirst' bets are usually EXACTAS,, if i ain't` got those numbers right,,the rest is gone,,,right??
Virginia Wentzel More than 1 year ago
I had a dream of a jockey wearing a black hat and his rider wearing a black fedora does that mean Freedom Child? Unlimited budget? (She wore a black hat during work outs? I still like Oxbow but think the distance too much. Liked him in the Preakness but didn't bet him . So don't listen to me. I love this sport !! Virginia
Steven Simonovic More than 1 year ago
Do I dare to select Will Take charge yet again? I'm a sucker for this horse.
mrm More than 1 year ago
If he runs his A race he will be right there at the finish.
joe More than 1 year ago
Save your money, WTC will be an also ran again.
BGolfer More than 1 year ago
Maybe I will be wrong, but I find the love for Golden Soul and Oxbow ridiculous. 1. Frac Daddy-Never shown the ability to run with these. Rail kills all chances. 2. Freedom Child-Interesting, but never put 2 good races together back to back...beat a weak Peter Pan field IMO. Street Life was a hyped horse in the Belmont and he ran 3rd in the Peter Pan. Overreaction. 3. Overanalyze-Good race, bad race, good race...he's due for a good one. Longshot choice with Johnny V aboard 4. Giant Finish-No thanks 5. Orb-Throw out the Preakness from the rail...he will be much more comfortable with the better post draw. Hoping to get the ML price 6. Incognito-Outclassed 7. Oxbow-Didn't like him in the Derby, didn't like him in the Preakness, I won't take him here either. Got the perfect ride in the Preakness. Distance is too far for him 8.Midnight Taboo-Traffic trouble last out...might be able to pick up a few pieces late 9.Revolutionary-Consistent...should at least hit the board. 10.Will Take Charge-Big horse reminds me of Union Rags. Won't care for him much if track is sloppy 11. Vyjack-Liked him some in the Derby...but may be an Aquaduct specialist. 12. Palace Malice-I could see him getting 3rd maybe...but he had a rough trip in the La Derby and just hasn't ran well against better or beaten those that he should 13.Unlimited Budget-Interesting to see how she handles the boys.Would feel more confident if she ran by Beholder in the Oaks...outmatched in this spot IMO 14. Golden Soul-Only races at CD and FG. Must handle the Belmont track. I don't see it, but I hope everyone else does and he goes off under the 10-1 ML Picks: Tri-3,5/2,3,5,8,9/ All 3,5,8,9 Box Orb and Revolutionary Exacta
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
SHERLOCK HOLMES,is that YOU,SIR ? COLOMBO? ,,,Inspector Clouseau,mon ami !No,,it could be the 'LEMON DROP KID''[Bob Hope],or the Marx Bros,','Day at the Races",or 'LET IT RIDE",,[RICHARD DREYFUSS],,,or the fat,ol` guy in "A BRONX TALE'..,,everything but the call,,,,,i mean the CRYSTAL BALL,,,,Logical picks,,,only if someone agrees with them,,omitting # 14,eh!,,TOTALLY ??That`s about the only Main objection,,[ But i bet only minutes from post time,,cannot bet $ in advance,not real money..] May the [RIGHT ] HORSE BE WITH YOU ALL !!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm starting to think you don't kin the purpose of these boards. ANYWAY- Marx Bros./Day At The Races: While Groucho was a Vet only Chico displayed any handicapping ability. This is ironic as in reality Chico Marx was a notoriously BAD bettor constantly hitting up his brothers for cash. Also, their (movie) horse Hi Hat turned out to be a jumper, so this crowd likely wouldn't have been betting on him anyway. (And the race results would hardly have stood up.) In the future among many other classic film horseplayers you could toss in you have to give a nod to Nick Charles, so dedicated a punter he taught his son to read the DRF at the ripe age of THREE!
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Very good BGolfer, all but for your analysist of WTC. Bred all day long for the mud. Longshot Winner !
KissmeCatexoxo More than 1 year ago
But if you read about all the trouble that Freedom Child had in most of his races, you have to include him.
StockPicker More than 1 year ago
Will everybody please stop about Golden Soul. The horse caught one of the fastest splits in derby history on a sloppy track. The horse will not hit the board because of pace and post position.
Joseph Malatesta More than 1 year ago
I agree. The Derby was his best run, and it most likely won't ever be repeated.
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
If This,IF that,,Bounce,,, Pace? Which Pace? You already know the fractions? Track Bias?Which lotto numbers will come out so that we all can play them !! As for the post,,yeah,right,,but this is BELMONT,in Elmont, NOT Gulfstream...[ or Yonkers!]...The Horse ,Golden Soul,,'',, wont ever repeat '' , is only THREE YEARS OLD!.. I only bet a race at a time,but would NEVER lower expectations about a horse who ran a good , long race,and now RESTED and,,going longER ! We shall see what will happen,not BEFORE,,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
@ James G Romano- "If This,IF that,,Bounce,,, Pace? Which Pace? You already know the fractions? Track Bias?Which lotto numbers will come out so that we all can play them !! As for the post,,yeah,right,,but this is BELMONT,in Elmont, NOT Gulfstream...[ or Yonkers!]..." For goshsakes, James- Switch to decaf; Adjust your meds; Find a mitt and catch a clue; Whatever worn out cliche suits your particular situation. Of course we are going to talk about the possibilities of: -Bounces -Sloppy tracks -Pace Scenarios -Posts That's how we arrive at the conclusions that shape our approach(es) to betting the race. "We shall see what will happen, not BEFORE" ??? And armed with this 20-20 hindsight we climb into our time machines and make bank? I see...yes, that makes perfect sense, why didn't I think of that before, it's all so clear- COME ON! It's a given that a lot of prerace banter is tin horn material. And that the silliest deserves justifiable dismissals. But neither is the case here.
BGolfer More than 1 year ago
Let them keep talking...we can get better prices on better horses
morton erskine More than 1 year ago
Golden Soul.....BIG BOUNCE!
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
my numbers` projected picks are; 5-14-9------------- with 3-2-1-11,behind,plus, 14-5-9,ex. box,,,but ,if the track conditions vary,, ,,how much can a bettor change,,,,until he sees the money,,after all,isn`t it all about the money?