The Belmont Stakes will run for the 147th time in 2015 when eight horses hit the track on Saturday, June 6th. The build up for this race has been absolutely enormous over the past three weeks since the Preakness Stakes. That’s because American Pharoah has a chance to join the 11 other horses that have won the Triple Crown after capturing both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
I correctly picked American Pharoah to win the Kentucky Derby while also hitting the Trifecta in that race as Firing Line and Dortmund finished in the top three. I also picked American Pharoah to win the Preakness Stakes, though I missed on the Exotics in that race. Nonetheless, it has been a very profitable first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Now, I’m ready to give my picks on the win, place and show horses for the Belmont Stakes after using my resources to make the best educated guesses possible. I am going to factor in the odds as well to do my best to find value.
There are several different factors you must use to come up with your predictions. The horse’s pedigree is a big one, but past performances is the most important factor of all. With most of these Triple Crown races, you are able to see head-to-head results. Finding out how the contenders fared head-to-head can go a long way in predicting the outcome of their next race together.
Looking at how horses have run at certain distances also helps, and that goes right along with past performances. There are many more factors to use in your handicapping, but these three would be a good place to start. Here are my picks for the 2015 Belmont Stakes.
With six straight victories coming into the Belmont Stakes, American Pharoah is clearly the class of this eight-horse field. He has stomped the competition by a whopping 30 1/4 lengths in his six wins. Five of those races weren’t even close. The only exception was his one-length victory over Firing Line in the Kentucky Derby.
However, he was forced to the outside while going three-wide the entire race, yet still had enough stamina to blow past the competition down the stretch. That effort shows he has plenty left to give in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. He won the Preakness by seven lengths in his last start. American Pharoah is the grandson of ’03 Belmont winner Empire Maker.
He entered the Kentucky Derby off a two-length victory in the Grade I Wood Memorial. He had a tough trip in his next race at the Kentucky Derby, but still rebounded to finish fourth, just a nose behind Dortmund for third. He was only 3 1/4 lengths back of American Pharoah at the finish line and he was closing strong, which is a good sign that he’ll be able to close at the Belmont.
Frosted is a descendant of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew through both his sire and dam. He skipped the Preakness to rest up for the Belmont, which will be a huge advantage and a big reason why he is American Pharoah’s biggest contender. Jockey Joel Rosario won the 2014 Belmont aboard Tonalist and could be a difference-maker as he saddles Frosted for the first time.
The Belmont is know for longshots upsetting potential Triple Crown winners. I really believe Frammento is the horse that has the best chance among the longshots to do so this year. He was a late entry into the Kentucky Derby when Stanford scratched. He finished 11th, 12 lengths behind American Pharoah, which wasn’t a bad showing considering he was the biggest longshot in the field.
What I love about this horse is that he’s known as a closer. Seattle Slew, the 1977 Triple Crown winner, is a great grandfather of both Frammento’s sire and dam. Also, one of Frammento’s great grandfathers is A.P. Indy, the winner of the 1992 Belmont.
Trainer Nick Zito’s two Belmont wins have come at the expense of potential Triple Crown winners; Birdstone got by Smarty Jones late while Da’Tara wired the race that Big Brown failed to finish. Plus, jockey Mike Smith has won the Belmont Stakes twice in the past five years. He led Drosselmeyer to victory in 2010 and Palace Malice in 2013. He also finished second aboard Paynter in 2012.