2008 Belmont Stakes Analysis
Big Brown will attempt to become just the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown, and the first since Affirmed in 1978, when he enters the gate at Belmont Park on Saturday for the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes. While Big Brown’s wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes clearly demonstrated that he was much superior to his rivals, consider these names: Spectacular Bid, Pleasant Colony, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, War Emblem, Funny Cide, and Smarty Jones. That’s quite a list, isn’t it? Every one of them was voted the Champion Three-Year-Old Male on the strength of their wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and most were odds-on to win the final leg of the Triple Crown. They all lost the Belmont Stakes.
As if the weight of history wasn’t enough to stop Big Brown, since he won the Preakness Stakes three weeks ago he has missed several days of training due to a quarter-crack in his left front hoof. It appears that the hoof has responded well to treatment, as indicated by a strong workout at Belmont Park this week, but this is certainly not how you would like to get a horse ready for a Triple Crown bid. Add to that a disadvantageous post position draw and you have to come to the conclusion that you would be crazy to take 2-5 on Big Brown, no matter how good he’s looked so far in his brief career.
It’s not all bad news for Big Brown. The second choice in the Belmont Stakes, Japanese runner Casino Drive, has only raced twice in his life. More of a concern is that he appears to have developed a stone bruise on his left rear foot that could affect his performance if he runs or could cause him to miss the race entirely.
So, will Big Brown win the Belmont Stakes? Who knows? If Casino Drive has to scratch, I don’t see who can beat him. Even with Casino Drive in, Big Brown looks to be the best horse, but I’m sure I thought the same thing about those ten horses I listed above.
I don’t see any way to bet on Big Brown at 2-5. I also don’t see how I can bet against him. So I won’t do either.
I’ll be at Belmont Park on Saturday hoping to see history made. I’ll consider it a big win for me if I can get an in-focus, properly exposed photo of Big Brown crossing the finish line as the first Triple Crown winner in thirty years. And I’m definately not a 2-5 favorite to do that.