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2014 Belmont- Mike Sr.’s Picks

2014 Belmont Stakes

Affirmed Beats Alydar in '78 BelmontIt is time at long last to preview the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes for 2014. It is for three year olds going a distance of 11/2 miles with a purse of  $1,500,000. We are coming into a race that could really make history if California Chrome wins this historic event. Now folks, I have been playing horses for forty years and I have been here before. I didn’t really experience it with the magnificent Secretariat. That was about a year before I began my play, though I certainly heard about him back then. But I was on pins and needles when Seattle Slew achieved the feat in 1977 and got really interested in horse racing when Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. Those all out battles culminating with his nose triumph over Alydar in the Belmont set me on a path that would endear horse racing to me forever. In mid-stretch Alydar stuck a nose in front of Affirmed and it looked as if he was getting tired, but Steve Cauthen did something he had never done before with Affirmed and that was go to a left handed whip and it was a head bob to the wire for a fantastic finish to an extremely exciting race.

Spectacular BidThe very next year a horse by the name of Spectacular Bid won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and it looked like we were in for the fourth triple crown winner in the decade. Had this event just become too easy? I mean twenty five years had passed from Citation winning the coveted event until Secretariat did it and now we were seeing Triple Crown winners with regularity it seemed. I remember Spectacular Bid being talked about in the same vein as Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed. But then it happened. The Bid stepped on a safety pin and failed in his attempt.

From that attempt on, Belmont slowly became known as “the graveyard of favorites”.

War EmblemIn 1989 Sunday Silence launched his bid to win the three races, annexing the Derby and Preakness only to get crushed in the Belmont by his arch rival Easy Goer. In 1997 Silver Charm won the first two races and then lost by a half-length in the Belmont. In 1998 Real Quiet who had won the Derby and the Preakness looked the best in the Belmont, but was nipped at the wire by Arkansas Derby winner Victory Gallop. In 1999 Charismatic won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but got beat in the Belmont when the jockey Chris Antley felt a break of the horse’s leg and pulled him up and probably saved his life. In 2002 War Emblem won both the Derby and Preakness, but stumbled out of the gate in the Belmont, nearly falling to his knees, then rushed up to get the lead into the final turn, but faded. In 2003 Funny Cide also won the first two but couldn’t handle the mud in the Belmont and finished third. In 2004 a horse by the name of Smarty Jones seemed to be on his way to being the 12th Triple Crown Winner. He was undefeated going into the Belmont and was going to be the first unbeaten colt to win the event since Seattle Slew. His popularity soared and everyone assumed he would take the Triple Crown. After a questionable ride in the Belmont he was beaten by Birdstone. In 2008 Big Brown came into the Belmont confident that he would be the winner and was pulled up in the turn.

Commanding CurveI saw all of these races. I heard all of the hoopla about all of the horses. Some of it I believed to be true and some of it not so much. Now I am hearing it about California Chrome. Some say he is unbeatable and others say otherwise. He is going to be the overwhelming favorite and I believe this should be the case. Personally I am pulling for him to win for the sake of the industry. I want him to win because I want to see another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime. I want him to be the twelfth Triple Crown winner so he can fill out that Triple Crown Calendar I have dreamt about all these years. Yes I want him to win it despite the fact that he is the favorite. But I will not bet him. At least not heads up anyway. There is absolutely no value in that. I will use him in the exotics, but as far as win or place, it is a no go. So my selection for this race will be four horses. You can use them anyway you want. In no particular order they are California Chrome, Wicked Strong, Commanding Curve and General a Rod …and Ride on Curlin. Ok I know that is five horses, so sue me! Happy Handicapping guys and gals!

 

2014 Belmont Day Showdown

 

 

 

 

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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of HandicapHorseRacing.com. With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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