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Belmont Stakes 2013: Picks & Open Thread

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It's time for the final jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes.


It's Belmont Day. A hard rain fell in New York on Friday leaving us with a sloppy and muddy mess. Time will tell whether the conditions are better by the time the Belmont goes to post at 6:36 p.m. Eastern.

Belmont Scratches & Changes (via Equibase)

We at ADTSTC are once again happy to provide our 100% lock, guaranteed to make you money (not guaranteed to make you money), Staff Picks. JP's picks will be along later this morning. JP's picks are now included. And Zach's.

Race JP Top Pick Siva&Bale3 Top Pick Matt Top Pick TFTribe Top Pick Zach Top Pick
Easy Goer 2-Power Broker 9-Irsaal 9-Irsaal 4-Doherty 2-Power Broker
True North 6-Sage Valley 5-Caixa Electronica 7-Sage Valley 1/1a-Justin Phillip/Fast Bullet 5-Caixa Electronica
Just A Game 3-Centre Court 2-Stephanie's Kitten 2-Stephanie's Kitten 2-Stephanie's Kitten 3-Centre Court
Woody Stephens 7-Forty Tales 1-Declan's Warrior 1-Declan's Warrior 11-Let Em Shine 5-Honorable Dillon
Manhattan 8-Twilight Eclipse 1-Point of Entry 4-Real Solution 1-Point of Entry 1-Point of Entry
Belmont 3-Overanalzye 5-Orb 6-Incognito 5-Orb 2-Freedom Child

Race JP Odds Play Siva&Bale3 Odds Play Matt Odds Play TFTribe Odds Play Zach Top Pick
Easy Goer 4-Doherty 7-Micromanage 8-Wabbajack 8-Wabbajack 6-Doherty
True North 1a-Fast Bullet 3-Reload 5-Off the Jak 2-Laurie's Rocket 3-Reload
Just A Game 7-Better Lucky 5-Laugh Out Loud 1-Hungry Island 4-Dayatthespa 5-Laugh Out Loud
Woody Stephens 8-Tenango 1-Declan's Warrior 1-Declan's Warrior 1-Declan's Warrior 8-Tenango
Manhattan 9-Finnegan's Wake 4-Real Solution 4-Real Solution 8-Twilight Eclipse 8-Twilight Eclipse
Belmont 11-Vyjack 3-Overanalyze 6-Incognito 6-Incognito 6-Incognito

And the "Play of the Day" from our scribes:


Play of the day. This is an easy one for me: The True North's joint entry of 1-Justin Phillip and 1A-Fast Bullet rate out as my top two choices in the race. Fast Bullet is the speed of the speed, and the pace should be honest enough to let Justin Phillip make a run at the leader. I might be cheating by taking the odds-on, even-money, coupled entry favorite, but hey, sometimes you take what you can get!


Declan's Warrior--He's a mere neck away from having a perfect record in five starts. Though he has yet to race in the wet going, his breeding suggests that he could go all Freedom Child's Peter Pan on the field at peak form. There is tons of speed that could cook in here with the presence of #4 Retrieve, #6 Zee Bros, #10 Merit Man, and #11 Let Em Shine in the field. The #6 won't get to bounce along on ZOMG fractions like he did on Preakness Day again. Such a pace set up and his 2/2 record at 7 furlongs (also a win at 7.5 furlongs) makes Declan's Warrior the play of my day, as the turf races will be yielding/soft turf and the Belmont Stakes is weird enough to handicap, much less on a wet surface.


The Belmont Stakes, my Odds Play is Overanalyze because he could do a Stay Thirsty in the mud in that he's a NY horse of Repole's I didn't like that could bounce back strongly in New York. The overall play is Orb on the wet dirt. I bet him to win on Derby Day under similar conditions, got to go with him now even after the bounce in Baltimore after Gary got to lull the field to sleep on Oxbow. Then again, it's a 1 1/2 mile race on the dirt with rain involved and a 14 horse field with three year olds. So, anything (Hi Commendable, Sarava, Da' Tara...) can happen here.


The weather always seems to play tricks with us on these big race days, but my top play of the day should be able to run her race whether it's rainy, sunny, or something in between. 2-Stephanie's Kitten isn't going to offer a big number on the tote board, but I love her in the Just A Game. She's run well over softer turf courses in the past and should face any issues with the ground today at Belmont. The Just A Game is run on the Widener Turf Course which should certainly help Stephanie's Kitten when she makes a her big sweeping move towards the leaders when coming off the far turn. I would have loved Leparoux to remain in the irons for this race but Johnny V. has ridden her to victory several times in the past.

For the Belmont Stakes, my play is completely dependent on the weather. If it's wet (sloppy or worse), I'll play 9-Revolutionary. If it's dry (fast or good), I'll play 6-Incognito.


Best Play of The Day: Baffert gives 2-Power Broker a little class relief in Belmont's 6th, the 150k Easy Goer Stakes. Baffert is 31 percent winning when shipping and 27 percent in Non-Graded Stakes, and the sixth-length winner of the G1 Front Runner would seem to tower over this field class-wise. He is the only horse in the field to crest the par more than once, and keeps Napravnik, and would appear fit and ready with three works in the tab since an Allowance win less than a month ago.


I think Point of Entry is the lock of the day, there's no horse in this field that really compares in this race. If I have to pick a challenger, I'll take Twilight Eclipse who set a world record his last time out in the Grade 2 Pan American and seems to love going long distance.

I was really trying to shy away from Freedom Child due to the attention he's been getting. However, I just can't jump off the ship. I am a firm believer that closing from way off pace doesn't win you the Belmont so I'm looking for lead horses and pressers to finish in this one. I see Frac Daddy trying to set up the pace, but with more legitimate speed horses in Freedom Child and Oxbow giving chase, they'll dictate the race scenario. Oxbow is really intriguing because I don't know whether he'll sit off lead or try and set up a slow pace like he did in the Preakness. Either way, Freedom Child can settle in behind the leaders and still have a push left to the wire. I think his slop experience in the Peter Pan is beneficial and he'll be able to outlast a big late run from Orb and Revolutionary. Incognito is the best horse for your price in this one, and should be in the mix down the stretch. He's got a great pedigree and if you take off his last race (being part of Freedom Child's victims) he's a good pick to graduate into an impressive graded stakes showing.

Good luck to all! This is your Belmont Stakes Day Open Thread.