Belmont Stakes Preview

by TCI 4 years ago

The time has come. Can the 36-year drought of a racing Triple Crown finally be broken Saturday? With the spotlight heavy on California Chrome’s chance at history, Jon and Joel discuss his biggest obstacles and most dangerous challengers. So, what’s in store for this year’s Test of a Champion? History, or disappointment?

Watch it. Comment.

TCI Top 10

Rank Name Bris Comments
1 Wicked Strong 103 Consistency has been the issue, but he possesses the best overall profile for this race; Main threat to the Chrome Crown
2 Tonalist 107 Big-time talent with a bright future; Feet issues are concerning, and he’ll need to be much more relaxed early to win this.
3 California Chrome 106 12 furlongs separates him from history; He’s undoubtedly the best horse, but the Test of Champions distance could be daunting.
4 Medal Count 97 Very dangerous if he can fire his best race on real dirt; Style and pedigree are tailor made for the Belmont.
5 Commissioner 102 Another outsider with a big shot at 1 ½ miles; Well-bred colt had solid local prep and wants to run all day.
6 Samraat 99 Fires every time and has a good close-up, grinder style for this race; Biggest concern is whether he’s good enough.
7 Commanding Curve 101 Looks to have figured things out since his nice Derby run, but he must stay in closer contention early to have success here.
8 General a Rod 100 Probable pacesetter could grind along and take this field far; Solid stamina profile, battle tested, and back class on the lead.
9 Ride On Curlin 103 Tough campaigner enters off his best race yet, but 1 ½ miles with his female family could have him in line for a bounce. 
10 Matterhorn 100 Pletcher longshot has always shown a lot of potential, but he’s not bred as well as the other Tapit to handle 1 ½ miles.

Off: Social Inclusion, Kid Cruz
through 6/5/2014


  • 1JoeP

    Hi Joel – Great final analysis. I respect your opinion and have shuffled my lineup. My top choice still is Wicked Strong. I agree with you that Commissioner is tailor made for the Belmont and he moves up to my #2 selection. I feel that because of his grinding style and dosage, that Samraat will finish better than Cal. Chrome. Samraat is my #3 horse. Cal. Chrome settles in as my #4 horse. Rounding out my top 5 is the late running Curve. Should be a fun one to watch Joel!

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Joe!

      Agree with everything you said here! WS just seems very very hard to keep off the board…if you asked me to name 1 horse that will finish on the board I would say him and not Chrome. But his price will be short for a horse that’s been hard to trust, which is why I’m running back my Derby longshot Medal Count one more time, and I really believe WinStar has pointed for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont with Commissioner who just was not fast enough to be a Derby horse, but he will love this trip and seems to be on the upswing. WinStar has always thought very highly of him, and you’re getting a lot of potential and stamina here on a horse that’ll be 20-1.

      Good luck tomorrow!

  • JR

    Hi Joel,

    Good job Joel, interesting points as usual. I am going with Jon on this one, I’m sure it’s no surprise to you. Agree about WS, I think he is a logical choice. Think ROC can get a piece, can’t discount J V, either. Who else knows the track better? GAR is interesting, Rosie, I think she can drop in and not be caught wide. Curve would have to have things go his way how often does that happen. Still I think I will cover just in case. Looks like Victor is taking no chances with him running in the Brooklyn, I’ll be interested in watching.

    I’m sure I’ll have after thoughts later on for you:)

    Take Care,

    • Joel Cunningham

      Good luck JR!

      I do think Rosie has a lot to say in the pace..she can go to the lead with GAR and that would likely force Samraat to take back…if Rosie doesn’t go from the break then Samraat could go early, or Chrome could even find himself on the lead. Personally, I think Chrome’s best shot to win would be on the lead in here.

      I still believe that Medal Count, Commissioner, and Wicked Strong are the 3 best suited for this trip. All 3 should be able to get covered up and settle in around midpack, which will be a great spot here IMO. I struggled to split MC and Commissioner honestly…it really may come down to who looks best in the post parade as far as who gets me “Win” money.

      Tonalist still remains the X-factor IMO, because I think he’s very good. So much so that I think he’s the early favorite for the Travers IMO. I think he’ll love 1 1/4 miles…not totally sold at 1 1/2 miles, and I just worry about the feet issues and how sharp he can be early in races. But if he fires his best he can win this IMO, which is why I have to use him and I won’t allow him to beat me.

      Have fun tomorrow!

      • JR

        Hey Joel,

        Did you see Pletcher’s interview on HRTV? I had expected a little more enthusiasm when talking about Commissioner. Tonalist winning in the slop vs a dry track is the question for me. I’m not up to date on his feet issues, anything serious to worry about?
        I really like Dale Romans, but he said the same thing about Dullahan granted they are different horses, but there are ??????????.
        Joel, stride angle on CC 100 degrees, Big Red 110 degrees
        Affirmed 93 degrees, he is covering 14% more ground than Affirmed. Information provided by Somax Performance Institute in Tiburon Calif.

        By the way I’m pea green with envy that you will see this first hand.
        Take Care my friend,

        • Joel Cunningham

          JR, sorry I missed this during the craziness Saturday. Hope you enjoyed the race and made some $ too!

Take our site on the go!
Scan with your smart phone.