As with the last two Classics, I was asked to participate as an "expert" on the Hello Race Fans race education site and provide my picks for the graded stakes on the Belmont card. If you haven't visited Hello Race Fans, I suggest you take a look. There is a lot of information for beginners there but some great information for seasoned vets as well. It's finally a place you can send your friends when they ask you about racing and handicapping and you can be assured they will be getting first class information for first class sources.
Oaks/Derby weekend went okay. I had 3 winners over the weekend which put me roughly in line with everyone else. I had one on Oaks day, but at a shorter price than the others that had 1 and I had 2 on Derby Day, putting me 4th in the group.
Preakness weekend was a disaster. I was 0-fer on Preakness Day, which I hate more than anything. I'd have rather had one $2.10 winner just to have hit the board. Now it's Belmont Day and time to get the picks up for the True North, Just a Game, Woody Stephens, Manhattan and the Belmont. I had to go back and look at my win in the Breeders' Cup challenge just to feel good about myself again!
You can go over to the site to get my other picks (after noon on Saturday), but here is my synopsis of the Belmont.
I don't know if Revolutionary can get the distance but if he can last, he should be very tough here. Freedom Child is getting a lot of wise guy talk but he's only won shaking loose on the lead and I don't know if he's going to be able to do that. There is too much other early speed and you have to figure Repole/Pletcher didn't enter three because they all have a shot. I think Midnight Taboo goes early and tries to set the stage for their filly, Unlimited Budget or, more likely, Overanalyze.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be a deep closer in the Belmont, but if you can rate behind some pace you're in good shape. Because of that I think I forgive Orb's flat Preakness and look for him to revert to form. These aren't machines we're dealing with after all. He could have had a bad day. He had a great streak with solid wins in the Florida Derby, Fountain of Youth and the Derby. A letdown was not out of the question and at a new racetrack, with a different surface and the #1 post...I can draw a line through the race and give him another shot in here.
Orb, Oxbow, Overanalyze, Revolutionary (I wish I could pick an "All O" super!)