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2017 Belmont Stakes Picks and Analysis

2017 Belmont Stakes-G1, Race 11, Belmont Park, June 10, 2017
3-Year-Olds, 1 1/2-miles, Dirt, Purse: $1.5 million

Belmont Stakes Picks

1. Gormley
2. Irish War Cry
3. Tapwrit
4. Senior Investment
5. Lookin At Lee

Belmont Stakes Analysis

Welcome to wide open.

The 149th running of the historic Belmont Stakes has all kinds of questions marks. There are no deserving favourites because you just don't know if the most talented horses will run their races. Truthfully, just about any horse in this year's Belmont Stakes has a shot if the big names throw one of their clunkers, which they've done more than once this year. But we have to start somewhere, so we'll go with class, heart and talent and hope for the best.

If Irish War Cry can run 1 1/2-miles and feels like running, they likely can't beat him. He's got enough pedigree to get the distance and his trainer Graham Motion is certainly more than capable, but you just never what you're going to get from this horse. His good race-bad race pattern started with a win in the Holy Bull Stakes-G2 followed by a total flop in the Fountain of Youth-G2. He then came back to run a monster in the Wood Memorial-G1, but followed that with another flop in the Kentucky Derby-G1 at 4-1. Despite what anyone says, Irish War Cry had no excuse in the Derby. He proved he could press and pounce in the Wood Memorial, yet in the Derby he pressed and went backwards when the running started.

If the pattern continues, the Belmont Stakes should represent a good race forthcoming for Irish War Cry. And the horses he's facing in the Belmont aren't as tough as some he's faced in the past. He can go to the lead on pure class or press and pounce to the lead in the stretch. If he feels like running he'll be tough, although not impossible to catch late.

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A much more intriguing horse for us is Gormley. After taking a courageous run at the talented Mastery and getting turned back on the turn in the San Felipe-G2, he came back to win the Santa Anita Derby at overlay odds of 6-1. The horse he out-gutted in that race was Battle of Midway, who came back to run a game third in the Kentucky Derby, while Gormley himself staggered home ninth beaten 14 1/2-lengths after a wide trip from post 18. He's a better horse than that. He has enough heart to beat Irish War Cry on his best day and his pedigree is loaded with both class and stamina. Triple Crown winning jockey Victor Espinoza will be aboard and if he has the horse he'll make them all work harder than they want to.

After our top two horses, the waters get a little murkier and the angles become weaker. They might not have to be that strong however, considering the weaknesses in the top two horses. Tapwrit is a pedigree and trip play after two troubled adventures in the Blue Grass-G1 and Kentucky Derby. It's tough to get a bad trip on "Big Sandy" and he could sail around there on Saturday. His class is a little questionable, but so is everyone else's in here.

Twisted Tom and Patch get top New York jockeys Castellano and Velazquez for star trainers Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher respectively, and while both seem a little too slow on numbers, the distance of the Belmont and their connections could have them running a big race.

The two wise guy horses with improving number are Senior Investment and Multiplier, third and fifth in the Preakness-G1 respectively. Senior Investment finished well in the Preakness at 31-1 and trainer Kenneth McPeek won the Belmont in 2002 with 70-1 shot Sarava. Multiplier had to wait for room late in the Preakness at 19-1 and will now get blinkers on.

Neither Senior Investment nor Multiplier really has the pedigree to go 1 1/2-miles, but I guess that depends on how fast you run. If the top two don't fire they probably have just as good a shot as any and no one could fault you for playing an exactor box on them that would pay boxcars in a wide open race.

We'll take Gormley over Irish War Cry and box those two in our Belmont Exactas. We'll also key both horses in multiple spots in our Belmont Superfectas and Trifectas, and take Gormley up and down with all in some of our smaller exactas. We'll also bet Gormley to Win and Place.

Because we're a sucker for heart!

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