Orb drew the post position that has seen only one winner since 1960 and Preakness Stakes oddsmakers didn’t flinch.
Orb remained the huge 1-1 favorite to follow up his Kentucky Derby victory with another win, despite getting the rail position for Saturday’s race.
Only Tabasco Cat in 1994 has won from that position since Bally Ache did it way back in 1960. You know, before John F. Kennedy became president.
The second betting choice in Preakness Stakes betting at Bovada for 2013 is Mylute, who ran fourth in the Kentucky Derby. He is 5-1, while Departing – winner of four of his five career starts – was the third betting choice at 6-1.
With just a nine-horse field, drawing the inside position may be less of an in issue. And Orb seems to be the class of the field with plenty of horse wagering action on the Shug McGaughey trainee.
“The No. 1 post in the Kentucky Derby is more of a problem than the Preakness, despite what the statistics say,” said Michael Dempsey of TurfnSport.com
“And don’t forget Orb broke from the rail in his Fountain of Youth win at Gulfstream Park, defeating heavily favored Violence.”
Recent Preakness Winners
I'll Have Another
Lookin at Lucky
R. Dutrow Jr.
How much wood would a Wood Memorial winner win if a Wood winner would win the Kentucky Derby?
That’s a silly twist on the woodchuck tongue twister, but it begs the question since Derby favorite Verrazano’s last win was the Wood Memorial on April 6: why do winners of that historic race never seem to perform well a few weeks later when they run for the roses at Churchill Downs?
And what is the recent hex that has seen three of the past four Wood Memorial winners sustain injuries and unable to fulfill their duty as leading Kentucky Derby contenders?
Since 2004, the Wood has been a springboard for 19 Kentucky Derby starters. But none of them finished any better than a fourth in those nine races.
“Maybe it is a curse or just really bad luck,” said veteran handicapper Michael Dempsey of TurfnSport.com, who has covered the New York circuit for three decades.
The last time a Wood Memorial winner turned out to be a successful bet on the Kentucky Derby, it was Fusaichi Pegasus back in 2000.
Verrazano, the top betting choice at 4-1 according to OddsShark.com Derby odds page, is unbeaten in four starts including the Wood and the Tampa Bay Derby back in March.
“Verrazano has been the early betting favorite for months, and is likely going to be sent off as the favorite on Derby Day, but his Wood was not that fast,” said Dempsey. “And remember his trainer Todd Pletcher has a bit of a curse going as well, as he is just 1-for-33 in the Derby.”
A year ago, Gemologist won the Wood but was a disappointing 16th in the Derby after going off at 6-1 odds. “He was highly regarded and was sent off as the third choice, and he just did not fire,” said Dempsey.
In the three years before that, Wood winners Toby’s Corner, Eskendereya and I Want Revenge all came up a bit lame on the first Saturday in May and did not run.
Since Fusaichi Pegasus’s win, no Wood runner has finished higher than fourth at Churchill Downs.
“Both I Want Revenge and Eskendereya would have been the betting favorites, and although Toby’s Corner would have been more of a price, I liked that colt too,” added Dempsey, who was recently introduced as the main handicapping voice at USRacebook.com.
Verrazano won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 9 to solidify his early standing as favorite for the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs.
The colt was 6-1 in Kentucky Derby future odds released by Bovada this week. He is 3-0 in his career and is slated to make one additional start before he ships to Louisville.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said this week his final Derby prep will be the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. [ US Racebook offering new rates and new customer specials ]
A few other early Derby hopefuls will likely challenge Verrazano at the Big A, including Vyjack and Normandy Invasion both currently at 16-1 and Overanalyze at 40-1.
Who is No. 2 behind Verrazano? Itsmyluckyday is the second choice in Derby future wagering odds. He is 10-1 and unbeaten in two starts in 2013, including the Gulfstream Park Derby and the Grade 3 Holy Bull on Jan. 26.
He is pointed to Florida Derby on March 30, where 2012 juvy champ Shanghai Bobby (16-1) and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth winner Orb (16-1) are both expected to run as well.
Hear the Ghost moved to 12-1, according to Bovada, with his victory in the San Felipe. He defeated Flashback (12-1) and Goldencents (25-1) in this upset at Santa Anita.
Current odds as of March 15, 2013 provided by Bovada
Hear The Ghost 12/1
Normandy Invasion 16/1
Shanghai Bobby 16/1
Super Ninety Nine 16/1
Dice Flavor 20/1
Frac Daddy 25/1
Capo Bastone 33/1
Falling Sky 33/1
Ive Struck A Nerve 33/1
Power Broker 33/1
River Seven 33/1
Bern Identity 40/1
Hes Had Enough 40/1
Dynamic Sky 50/1
Palace Malice 50/1
Title Contender 50/1
*Editor Note: I'll Have Another was scratched Friday and will not run in the Belmont Stakes.
It was the Disco Era, a gallon of gas cost 63 cents, we did not have cell phones, and to get our news we actually had to pick up a newspaper.
Since 1978, we have seen (and unfortunately heard) Justin Bieber, gas is more than $3 bucks a gallon, we surf the web on our smart phones, and eleven 3-year-olds have come up short in the Belmont Stakes in a Triple Crown bid.
This year we will either see the 12th Triple Crown winner in history or the 12th horse to come up short.
[ Dullahan new Belmont Stakes favorite | My Adonis Best Longshot Bet ]
I’ll Have Another is going to be the heavy favorite to get the job done, but is he worth risking the bankroll at such a short price?
If we look back at the last four Belmont Stakes winners, we see nothing but longshots with winners paying $51.50, $28.00, $25.80, and $79.00.
There is nothing more exciting in horse racing than a crack at Triple Crown history but it's hardly going to get the pulse racing for bettors plunking down $2.00 to win $3.80.
So while most of us root to witness history on Saturday, there are still plenty of tickets to cash, so let’s meet the eleven contenders that are taking on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner. Belmont Stakes odds courtesy of OddsShark.
1. Street Life (12-1): Trained by former Bobby Frankel assistant Chad Brown, the colt comes into the race off a solid third-place finish in the Peter Pan (Grade 2) over the Belmont Park main track. The colt was outrun early and was picking it up late, and certainly appears to have enough pedigree to handle the 1 ½ miles. He is by Derby winner Street Sense out of the mare Stone Hope, who only won a sprint in her career, but she is by Derby winner Grindstone.
2. Unstoppable U (30-1): This colt is one of two in the race sent out by trainer Ken McPeek. The colt is undefeated in two starts, but takes a big step up in class here. The trainer has not been happy with the way the colt has been finishing his works and even mentioned that he could end up being scratched.
3. Union Rags (6-1): The colt was sent off as the second betting choice in the Kentucky Derby. He was off a beat slow, which placed him at the rear of the pack and he did not get clear running room until late, rallying to finish seventh. His jockey, Julien Leparoux, was criticized over his last two rides aboard the colt and has been replaced by veteran New York rider John Velazquez. The colt deserves a long look on Saturday.
4. Atigun (30-1): This is the second of the two runners that McPeek sends out, and the colt is coming into the race off a win against second-level, optional-claiming company. The colt has tried graded stakes company three times in his career, with the best finish a fifth in the Arkansas Derby. He was beaten by 11 ¼ lengths by Bodemeister, who went on to finish second in the Derby and Preakness.
5. Dullahan (5-1): This guy is a two-time Grade 1 winner, but both of those victories came over polytrack. The colt did put in a solid effort in the Derby. He broke inward and bumped Union Rags, was caught in tight quarters heading into the first turn, and came with a seven-wide run into the stretch and finished up well, beaten just 1 ¾ lengths. The colt gets a new jockey in Javier Castellano and blistered a four-furlong work on June 3. This guy is a half-brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. His main knock is the fact that he has not won on conventional dirt, but he gives every indication he will be able to handle 1 ½ miles.
6. Ravelo’s Boy (50-1): This colt ships up from Florida and will be making his first start off a three-month layoff. His last outing came in the Tampa Bay Derby where he checked in fifth. That race has been a productive prep for the Run for the Roses in previous years, but came up weak this year. It took him six tries to pass his first allowance condition and, coming off the layoff, this would be a huge upset if he is in the mix.
7. Five Sixteen (50-1): The gelding has won just one of his six starts, taking five outings before he earned his diploma. He acted up in the gate last out and checked in fourth against first-level allowance foes in his most recent outing. The gelding does have a long-winded pedigree, by Invasor out of a Salt Lake mare that also produced stakes winner Doc’s Doll. But he would really need to move forward to get the job done in this spot.
8. Guyana Star Dweej (50-1): It took this colt eight tries to break his maiden, finally getting the job done at Aqueduct going a one-turn mile. He finished 6 ¼ lengths behind Unstoppable U in a first-level allowance race in his most recent start. The connections were considering the Preakness for him, but skipped going to Baltimore. After losing his mount on Dullahan, Hall of Fame trainer Kent Desormeaux lands on this colt.
9. Paynter (8-1): Trainer Bob Baffert has Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister on the sidelines, but comes in here with the very intriguing Paynter. The colt only has four starts under his belt, with his stakes tries a fourth in the Santa Anita Derby and a second in the Derby Trial (Grade 3). He was only beaten 3 ¾ lengths by I’ll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby and don’t forget that was just his second career outing. The colt earned a solid speed figure beating allowance foes in his last start and is going to be an early-pace factor in this race. The colt has more upside than anyone in the field and the 8-1 morning line looks fair. I have a hunch this guy is going to get bet down a few points.
10. Optimizer (20-1): Other than I’ll Have Another, this colt is the only other runner that competed in the first two jewels of the Triple Crown, finishing 11th in the Derby and making a mild late run to finish sixth in the Preakness. He is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, who has won 13 Triple Crown races, tied for the most in history with Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons. Lukas was hospitalized this week when a horse kicked him in the head, requiring stiches on his forehead.
12. My Adonis (20-1): A late addition to the party, his connections did not commit to running until Tuesday. The colt mixed it up early this year in a couple of Derby preps, finishing third in the Holy Bull and second in the Gotham. He was a disappointing seventh in the Wood Memorial, knocking him off the Derby Trail. He came back with a decent effort in the Canonero at Pimlico. The winner of that race was Pretension, who came back to finish 11th in the Preakness. His connections did win this race last year, Ruler On Ice returning $51.50.
The festivities kick off with first race post time of 11:35 ET. There are four other graded stakes on the afternoon card: The $400,000 True North (Grade 2), $500,000 Longines Just a Game (Grade 1), $400,000 Woody Stephens (Grade 2), and the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (Grade 1).
Michael Dempsey provides his full card report for Belmont Park and Churchill Downs each racing day. Mike’s full card report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations.
Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each weekend, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.