Saturday, June 9, 2007

Belmont, 30 Minutes To Post: Wide Open

Damn. This thing is wide open. The Belmont is really tough to handicap in general, mainly because the mile and a half distance, which none of the horses have ever run at nor will they ever run such a long distance again.

Curlin has done more, faster, in a short period of time, then, well, anyone ever. Every step of the way experienced horse people say it's too much, too soon, and he will regress, but each time he puts in a huge race. So there are 2 schools of thought with Curlin today: 1) he just HAS to regress after the grueling 5 races in the last 3 months with no prior foundation {experience}. 2) He is a straight up freak, and it doesn't matter, he is going to put in a huge effort no matter when he races.
I'm torn 50/50 between these two, but at 6/5 there's no value in him anyway, so let's move on.

This race could be perfect for Hard Spun, if he can get the lead, because typically the fractions are quite slower than other races because of the distance, and therefore the frontrunners are much less likely to be cooked by a hot pace. On the other hand, his racing schedule the last 6 months has been grueling, including 2 really tough races in the last 5 weeks {Derby, Preakness}, so there is a possibility that he is not fresh enough to win today despite his talent and the possibility that the race may very well unfold in his favor. Who knows? When he opened up at 5-2 I would say definitely pass, but now he is sitting there at 5-1 and damn that is juicy- there is definitely value there.

What about Rags To Riches? Is she such a dominant filly that she can boss the boys, or is she a dominant filly that will be beat out by the bigger boys? The bettors like her, as she is currently 2nd choice at 4-1. I am uncertain so I will pass, but if you are a big believer in her than 4-1 isn't too bad, so go for it.

The great thing about this race is that the "longshots" are all legitimate and have a respectable chance to actually win the race. Usually there are a few to several longshots that are "throw out" horses- so shitty on paper that you just throw them out. But this group is legit. I really liked Imawildandcrazyguy, despite the stupid ass name, at his morning line odds of 20-1, because he can run all day, and even though the Belmont isn't usually won by bombers coming from way back, I was planning on betting him across the board at 20-1 today, because the value there is huge. The trick is that the wiseguys all thought the same thing, and this horse has been hammered all the way down to 6-1, so all that value is pretty much gone.

I also think that CP West offered good value at 15-1 on the morning line. He is down to 11-1, which negates alot of that value, but at the 2nd longest shot on the board still wouldn't be a bad bet. I'm not a huge fan of Slew's Tizzy. Tiago is a good horse, but 9-2? Give me a break, I just don't think he's that good.

So what to do? Well, if Imawildandcrazyguy is 6-1, I would much rather have Hard Spun at a comparable 5-1. CP West still offers some value at 11-1. I would put a win bet on Hard Spun at 5-1, bet CP West across the board at the value of 11-1, and then throw in Rags To Riches with these two in a trifecta box, and hope that Curlin bonks. Unfortunately I won't be able to get any action, as for reasons unknown Xpressbet cannot offer wagering on Belmont Park races due to contractual obligations, which of course means that I will hit the trifecta for $900 and cash $0.

I also think that a bet across the board on Hard Spun at 5-1 is a great value bet, as he has finished in the money in 7 of 8 career races.

Curlin is already amazing because of what it has accomplished in so short a time, and if he does it again and wins against the ever rising odds that he will bonk, then he will be an instant legend.

Whatever happens, this should be a really exciting and compelling race between 7 really outstanding horses. Let's just hope that they all make it around safely. Enjoy.

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