An almost Happy Belmont Day to you. Less than twenty-four hours until the betting starts, and I figured why not put myself out there with some picks.
American Pharoah is the fan favorite, the likely winner, and so there is no surprise the morning line odds have him at 3/5. Not a lot of money to make there on a win bet. If I remember anything from last year, California Chrome’s owner went a bit mad about how difficult it is for a horse to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown. Slightly good news for the AP is that he’ll be going against just seven other horses. Only Tale of Verve raced in the Preakness, coming in 2nd; but five others have been resting since the Derby. Madefromlucky raced in niether of the Triple Crown races, most recently running 1 1/8 miles at the Belmont on May 9th, which is six days before the Kentucky Derby. Needless to say the other horses are more rested than American Pharoah, and if the pay out is at 3/5 it is not a worthwhile bet. I wouldn’t put a straight win down on American Pharoah unless the odds are at least 5/4.
Recommended bet is going to be an exacta or trifecta if you can find something else worthwhile. Todd Pletcher is the trainer for Materiality and Madefromlucky, and he has crushed the Belmont in the last decade so there has been a lot of talk about him. Frosted came in 4th at the Derby, a race much closer than the Preakness; and the 2nd and 3rd are sitting this one out. At 5/1, he is predicted to be second in betting behind American Pharoah–had a good run in april, but I see no reason why Frosted is considerably more likely to perform over some of these other horses.
Mubtaahij is an interesting horse, he has been raced a lot overseas already and has won a lot, but it is not comparable. At the Derby he took 8th, and Keen Ice took 7th, yet Keen Ice is 20/1 and Mubtaahij is 10/1. If the 20/1 odds stick on race day, I’d put a place bet on Keen Ice given the large pay out. Maybe an exacta with American Pharoah.
Frammento looks just awful in this race, hasn’t won much, 11th at Derby, and 30/1 is generous. Wouldn’t bet on this horse unless odds drop to 40/1.
So, my final recommendation, go for the trifecta box with American Pharoah and picking two out of Materiality, Frosted, and Keen Ice. Going to watch odds on race day and adjust accordingly because the horses to some extent have equal shots at performing well–will take a shot at the ones with the largest payout.