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Who will win the 2017 Belmont?

Irish War Cry
J Boys Echo
Lookin at Lee
Senior Investment
True Timber
Twisted Tom

Analyzing the Belmont Stakes Contenders

Date: 06/07/2017

The Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the Triple Crown races, and at 1 1/2 miles on the dirt, is a dinosaur with so few main track events carded at twelve furlongs these days. With the short five week span for three gruelling races under scale weight of 126 pounds over three very different tracks and three different distances, it takes a very special horse sweep the series. So much so that only twelve horses have completed the task, and the last one, American Pharoah in 2015 after a 37 year gap.

Thanks to injuries, poor performance in preps, or just plain lack of ability at the distance, the Belmont often gets a short field of horses, although this year might be the exception given the defection of both Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing. While traffic trouble, a major issue in the Kentucky Derby, shouldn't be an issue here, once again 3-year-olds are being asked to do something they've never done and conditioning will be key. In addition Belmont Park's huge 1 1/2 mile oval will be unfamiliar to most horses so we favor those which have had a sharp past race over it. Major factors which separate the likely winners of the Belmont are weighed out in this analysis, as we did for the Derby and Preakness fields.

Like the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, we have compiled some of the more profitable angles used to select a Belmont Stakes winner in recent years, and applied them to the possible entrants. Some novice horseplayers mistakenly believe a long race immediately favors closers when in fact the Belmont favors stalkers, so we prefer horses labeled "E/P" or "P" in BRIS past performances (by comparison "E" types are front-runners while "S" are closers). As well, the 4.00 Dosage Index angle is stronger in the Belmont than in the Derby where it's mostly used; here, we set the upper limit on Dosage at 3 and Center of Distribution at 0.8.

The Belmont favors horses who have zero points in the Solid and Professional wings of their dosage profiles, which is counterintuitive as you'd expect to see indicators of stamina for the grueling 12 furlong trip, but "double zero" horses get an extra point. As we have for the Derby and Preakness, horses that are tied in points will be listed in alphabetical order. It is worth noting that no horse scored the maximum possible score; each has his share of knocks, however no horses tied in the top 3 positions. You can view the past performances of these horses free from BRIS.

Where there is a tie in points we will list the horses in alphabetical order.

Senior Investment gets saddled before the Preakness.

Twisted Tom winning the Federico Tesio Stakes

Gormly winning the Santa Anita Derby.

Irish War Cry winning the Wood Memorial.

J Boys Echo in the post parade for the Kentucky Derby.

Lookin at Lee returns after the Kentucky Derby

Tapwrit in the post parade for the Kentucky Derby.

Senior Investment - comes to Belmont off a 3rd place finish in the Preakness giving him a sharp prep and Triple Crown experience inside 4 weeks and with Classic Empire out now he is now the top of the list. He qualifies on number of starts and collected the maximum 3 points on dosage having double zeroes but also an index of 3 and center of 0.75, both making the cut. He has never run at Belmont, he tends to close from well off the pace rather than stalk, and his best speed figure is the 98 earned at Pimlico.

Twisted Tom - is a newcomer to the Triple Crown wars and surprised us by ranking 3rd in the analysis. He ducked the first two legs of the series, winning the Private Terms and Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel, giving him stakes wins and a sharp prep. He broke his maiden last September at Belmont giving him a sharp race over the surface, and he has enough starts at 2 and 3. On Dosage his index of 1.13 and center of 0.19 more than qualify, but he does have 1 point in each of the Solid and Professional columns. Finally, his best speed figure is a 93 earned at Laurel.

The next five horses tied in points:

Gormley - won the Santa Anita Derby but skipped the Preakness after a disappointing 9th in the Kentucky Derby. He tends to stalk the pace, he has enough starts at 2 and 3, and has the required stakes win this year. On Dosage he has a low index (2.25) and center (0.65) but is not a double zero. In addition he has never raced at Belmont, is not coming off a sharp prep, is coming off a 35 day layoff, and his best speed figure is 102, just shy of the 103 requirement.

Irish War Cry - won the Wood Memorial then disappointed in 10th in the Kentucky Derby, clearly not a sharp prep and off a 5 week layoff. He qualifies on all three dosage factors (double zero, index, center) and has enough starts this year, with his Equibase figure of 110 earned winning the Holy Bull is approximately 103 BRIS, meeting the requirement. He is short on juvenile starts and has never run at Belmont.

J Boys Echo - like Gormley skipped the Preakness after finishing 15th in the Derby. He also stalks the pace, has enough starts including a stakes win (Gotham), has run a fast enough figure (104 in the Gotham), and has a double-zero Dosage profile. However his index of 4.09 and cneter of 0.89 miss the cutoff, he has never raced at Belmont, and he is coming off a poor prep 35 days out.

Lookin at Lee - was 2nd in the Kentucky Derby and then 4th in the Preakness after finishing 3rd in the Arkansas Derby. He has enough starts at 2 and 3, has the "double zero" Dosage profile and a center of distribution of 0.77. His Dosage index is 3.4 misses the cut, his best figure is 97 earned at both Churchill and Pimlico, he is not coming off a sharp prep, and he tends to close from off the pace.

Tapwrit - is the fourth horse to tie for 4th in the analysis. After winning the Tampa Bay Derby he was 5th in the Blue Grass and then 6th in the Kentucky Derby, skipping the Preakness to prepare for the Belmont. He has the required number of starts and the stakes win, and he qualifies on Dosage index and center. He has 1 point in the "solid" column of his profile, he is not coming off a sharp prep and has rested 35 days, he has never raced at Belmont, and his best figure is the 101 earned at Tampa.

The next four horses tied in points:

Epicharis - has not raced since finishing a close second in the UAE Derby to Thunder Snow, giving him a sharp prep but off too long a layoff, with no Triple Crown experience, having returned home to Japan after his Dubai race. He has enough starts at 2 but is underraced this year, and does have a stakes win as a 3-year-old (Hyacinth Stakes ar Tokyo). His 114 Racing Post Rating earned at Meydan converts to 105 which qualifies under this analysis. On Dosage he is not a double zero but his index of 1.20 and center of 0.27 qualify. He tends to run on or close to the lead and has never raced at Belmont Park.

Hollywood Handsome - is the newest addition to the Triple Crown wars, having skipped both Derby and Preakness. Still winless in stakes company, he was 4th in the Louisiana Derby and 5th in the Illinois Derby but does have a sharp prep inside 28 days, an allowance win at Churchill on May 14. He has enough starts at 2 and 3, his dosage profile is a "double zero" and his center of distribution is 0.8, right at the cutoff. However his index is a high 5.67, he has never raced at Belmont, and he rallies from well off the pace.

Meantime - is another newcomer to the Triple Crown battlefield, off his 2nd place finish in the Peter Pan, earning him a sharp prep inside 28 days and a sharp race over the Belmont Park surface. He was unraced as a juvenile but has enough starts this year, his 105 BRIS figure meets the par, and he has a "double zero" profile. On the downside he rallies from off the pace, lacks a stakes win this year, and his index of 7 and center of 1.08 are too high.

Multiplier - won the Illinois Derby (giving him a stakes win at 3) but followed that up with a 6th place finish in the Preakness, not a sharp prep but within the 4 week window. He did not race as a 2-year-old, and has never been over the Belmont track. His 104 figure earned at Hawthorne qualifies, as does his "double zero" but his dosage of 3.67 and index of 0.93 miss the cutoff.

Patch - scored the least points in this year's Belmont analysis. After finishing second in the Louisiana Derby (in his 3rd lifetime start, all this year) he finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby. He stalks the pace and has enough starts this year, and on dosage his inde of 3 and center of 0.7 both qualify. Among his many knocks, he lacks the "double zero", his best figure is a 101 when breaking his maiden at Gulfstream, he has never run at Belmont Park, is not here off a sharp prep, and skipped the Preakness.

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