Has this ‘Bird already flown?

The Belmont field has been assembled and it is the centerpiece of an outstanding 13-race card.  All eyes are going to be on Mine That Bird as he tries to capture his 2nd victory in the Triple Crown series.  The weathermen have cooperated so far as heavy rain is supposed to fall in the Big Apple between now and Saturday morning.  The memories of his rail-skimming triumph over a sloppy Churchill Downs oval on May 2 have hardly faded.

So the question with Mine That Bird becomes, what is a fair price and is he a good bet at what will likely be lower than his 2-1 morning line?  I am a bit torn as of right now but here are two opinions from participants in the game for whom I have a great deal of respect:

I’m beginning to think that anything better than even-money on Mine That Bird in the Belmont might be stealing — and I think his price is indeed going to better.”  (www.drf.com)

That quote comes from Steven Crist of the Daily Racing Form, who’s forgotten more about horse racing than most will ever know.  He feels his price will leak higher than even money because there’s a better chance for a “soft” favorite in a Belmont where there’s no Triple Crown on the line.  Mine That Bird’s victory in the Derby has also guaranteed that no horse will go off a huge longshot in a Triple Crown event because no one, casual fan especially, wants to miss out on the “big longshot.”

“Contrarian that I am, I now plan to bet against Mine That Bird with the utmost confidence, that I can guarantee. I, however, will attempt to stand on at least slightly firmer ground than simply hoping the supposed Horseracing Gods will be forced to intervene. Mine That Bird has been the recipient of two extremely good trips in a row, at a very opportune time may I add, and this is something that rarely happens to deep closers.” (www.belmontstakes.com)

This was the opinion of Andy Serling, commentator and handicapper extraordinaire for NYRA.  As a trip handicapper and an astute analyst of race flow and dynamics, Andy’s point is well made.  Mine That Bird has had two very good trips in a row.  His Kentucky Derby trip was beyond outstanding and his Preakness trip was very good considering the strong nature of the early pace.  Now, going a mile and a half, in a race that looks to feature significantly less speed, can you expect this guy to be able to drop far back and make that one, big run.  As of now, at 7/5, I think I’ll bet against it.

Here’s the 2001 Belmont Stakes, one of the best and most underappreciated Belmont Stakes victories of the last 10 years:

Read Steven Crist’s entire blog here.   Read Andy Serling’s blog here.

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One Response to “Has this ‘Bird already flown?”

  1. Fred Elliston Says:

    The only extraordinaire is you.

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