American Pharoah won the second leg of the Horse Racing’s Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, but will this horse fail to become a Triple Crown winner? Bovada released Futures odds on the coming Belmont Stakes (June 6), so let’s see if there’s anything worth making a pick on from this distance.
With American Pharoah, trainer Bob Baffert finds himself on the verge of possibly winning Horse Racing’s biggest jewel, the Triple Crown—capturing the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the legacy-killing third leg, the grueling 1½-mile Belmont Stakes (June 6)—but with recent history revealing how incredibly difficult pulling off this Hat Trick of Horse Racing really is, both the casual and heavy Horse Racing fans as well as bettors have come to expect failure in this coming third leg, the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York in two weeks. But is there any real way to bet this race knowing all this? And is it nearly impossible to make any money here with the chalk being near Even money in Futures Markets in sportsbooks and likely having near the same betting odds on race day? For me, the answers are usually ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’, but this is the Triple Crown and (again) we have a shot at a horse making a little history. But recent relevant history shows that Belmont—5 /16ths of mile longer than the Preakness Stakes (1 3/16 miles)—deserves the reputation is has as a Triple Crown Killer, with an amazing 13 well-known horses failing to achieve the feat since Affirmed did so with jockey Steve Cauthen on board way back in 1978.
Those 13 horses which have won the Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs) and the Preakness Stakes (Pimlico Race Track) but failed here at the Belmont Stakes since 1979 are: Spectacular Bid (1979, 3rd); Pleasant Colony (1981, 3rd); Alysheba (1987; 4th); Sunday Silence (1989, 2nd); Silver Charm (1997, 2nd); Real Quiet (1998, 2nd); Charismatic (1999, 3rd); War Emblem (2002, 8th); Funny Cide (2003, 3rd); Smarty Jones (2004, 2nd); Big Brown (2008, DNF), I’ll Have Another (2012, Did Not Start) and California Chrome (2014, 4th). There have been a total of 23 horses who have failed in this regard in Triple Crown history, as the chart below reveals. There have been eight horses who have finished 2nd at Belmont, just missing that elusive Triple Crown, including Tim Tam (1958) and Real Quiet (1998).
Horse Racing’s Triple Crown Near-Misses (Won Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes)
Some Futures Bets Out There Involving American Pharoah
Will American Pharaoh Win the 2015 Triple Crown? Yes +105, No -125
Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook
Will American Pharaoh Win the 2015 Triple Crown? Yes -110, No -130
Bovada (Yes Open: Even (1-1); No Open: -140)
Will American Pharaoh Win the Breeder’s Cup Classic? Yes +350, No -500
Bovada (October 31, Keeneland, Lexington, Kentucky)
American Pharaoh To Win the 2015 Triple Crown: Yes +110 (No ‘No’)
Bovada Belmont Stakes Futures Book (Tuesday, May 19)
American Pharoah 10/11
Competitive Edge 10/1
Carpe Diem 20/1
Divining Rod 20/1
Keen Ice 22/1
Tale Of Verve 25/1
Conquest Curlinate 33/1
All wagers have action.
Why American Pharoah Will, Won’t Win Belmont Stakes
Besides the Belmont Stakes and Belmont Park’s grueling 1½-mile distance on the Dirt, one big reason only 11 horses in history have actually won the Triple Crown is because these 3-year-old Thoroughbreds have, and never will be, asked to run three races in a span of just 5 weeks like this at any other point in their careers. This is a new, and an often shocking athletic endeavor for these animals, and it’s important to note that they don’t know what’s really at stake. These Horses may indeed be Wise enough to know that they won a race and made their Jockeys and Stable and Owners all happy and maybe got extra carrots and a sugar cube or two, but to cognitively realize that there are Humans Being betting a thing called Money on them to finish in various orders, and that winning these three Horse Races consecutively is an historic feat is lost on these beautiful creatures bred to entertain and please the Home Sapiens, who are betting Forrest Green-colored Paper With Numbers And President’s Faces on where they might finish and whether or not they can win three straight big races in the prime of their lives in may and June of 2015. It’s all pretty insane when you really break it down. Champions and potential Legends never knowing they are “Champions” or “Legends”. Talk about humility, brother.
So here, it basically comes down to “Is American Pharoah a special horse?” If the Weather is as bad in Elmont, New York on Saturday, June 6 as it was at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore last Saturday at the 2015 Preakness Stakes—which only had 8 entrants—then it may work to American Pharoah and brilliant jockey Victor Espinoza’s favor, as the horse—which started from the infamous Post 1—showed he has enough speed to not get bogged down in any mud, can break from the pack early and hold on to significant leads and still seems to have something left in the tank at the end of these two shorter (in context of this coming Belmont Stakes), although Espinoza did use his whip liberally in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Can American Pharoah win at Belmont? No doubt. The horse has shown itself to be better than other highly-thought of 3-year-olds like Dortmund, Firing Line and Carpe Diem and it seems if anyone were in line to be the next Triple Crown trainer since 1978, it would have to be Baffert, who will be making his fourth attempt at that little piece of Equine History . So, the perfect Horse, Jockey and Trainer combination is a good reason here to take a shot at American Pharoah in the Futures markets at -110 (Bovada) or +105 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) as the unknowing Public will only want to bet the chalk American Pharoah—driving the line up further by race day—so these numbers now in these Futures books may be the best numbers you will see on American Pharoah in the next 19 days. But remember that 13 straight have failed before American Pharoah in this endeavor, and that Bovada had California Chrome listed at odds of 5/7 in this same situation last year and we all know what happened.
Two big things to mull at this point in time when taking all this in is that the actual Field for the Belmont Stakes is far from set; and, that much can happen in the nearly three weeks time and the owners of Horses like Dortmund, Firing Line, Mr. Z and others have yet to commit or say they’re out. And, there are always a couple of Horses sort of lying in wait each year which ran in the Kentucky Derby but chose to skip the Preakness Stakes in order to have a shot at winning the Belmont Stakes. Two horses who fit that bill this year and look like they’ll be in the Belmont Stakes Field are Frosted (5/1, Bovada; 4th Kentucky Derby) and Mubtaahij (14/1, Bovada; 8th Kentucky Derby), with the Kiaran P. McLaughlin-trained Frosted (Career Race Results: 2-2-1-2-2-4-1-4) looking like maybe the best sports pick for now to prevent American Pharoah from making a little history at The Test of the Champion on Long Island. We’ll have more on the Belmont Stakes and the chase for the Triple Crown in two weeks.
FUTURES BOOK BELMONT STAKES PICK: Frosted 5/1 (Bovada)