Belmont Stakes Top 10

by TCI 3 years ago

Jon & Joel launch a TCI Top 10 for the final leg of the 2014 Triple Crown. Will we see history or disappointment in this year’s Belmont Stakes? The TCI guys break down the top contenders with a week to go until the big day.

Watch it. Comment.

TCI Top 10

Rank Name Bris
1 Tonalist 107
2 California Chrome 106
3 Wicked Strong 103
4 Medal Count 97
5 Samraat 99
6 Commanding Curve 101
7 Social Inclusion 106
8 Commissioner 102
9 Ride On Curlin 103
10 Kid Cruz 99

through 5/29/2014


  • JR

    Hey Joel,
    Just tuned in you never disappoint. When will have your next update at Belmont? Understand what you said about dosage, track dosage for routes at Belmont on average is showing 2.64 with average CD 0.62 under the 3.00.
    I agree Tonalist is a threat, though he doesn’t have the races under his belt that CC has.

    Joel, CC is due to have a work tomorrow I think 5 furlongs, some question whether that is enough to keep him fit. Alan Sherman has said if he’s not fit now, he never will be. What are your thoughts on that.

    Even though it’s been many years, Tabasco Cat and Riva Ridge had DI’s over 3.5 so there is always hope. Like I said before you can’t calculate heart. By the way, I did notice your reference to the Storm Cat mare:)

    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Kind Regards,

    • Joel Cunningham

      Ha! Hey JR!

      ROC isn’t only out of a Storm Cat mare, she happened to be one of my favorite SC mares of all time – Victory Ride..a brilliant G1 mare who didn’t want to run a step beyond 7-8 furlongs.

      I agree that Dosage isn’t everything. I even got called out on it by a pedigree expert. But my contention is that stamina tools are very important at true marathon distances on dirt because the fact is that we are breeding for horses to excel at those distance less and less as the years go on. It’s just a simple reality that stems back to the breeding shed. So while Dosage, the Tomlinson numbers, or whatever you use to judge stamina (I myself like affirmation of some of these numbers, but most of the time I can qualitatively understand what the horse will handle based on seeing him individually and reviewing his pedigree), I believe it’s a very important tool to handicapping and figuring out the Belmont Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, and any other 1 1/2-mile race or beyond on dirt. It is less important to me as a tool at 1 1/4 miles or under…

      I talked to Art last night and he’s going to work Chrome a half. He’s looking for something just to keep him on track, nothing too sharp. He said the horse is as fit as anyone in the race and I agree with him. His foundation and race schedule is as good as you’ll see and fitness is a non-issue IMO.

      We’ll be at Belmont next week to produce the show on location next Thursday. Can’t wait!

  • 1JoeP

    Hi Joel – Belmont is quickly approaching, can’t wait! I agree with you that dosage is a valuable tool in trying to land on some good horses for the Belmont. While I Believe that California Chrome has a shot to win the Triple Crown, he is not my #1 pick. For me, Wicked Strong is my clear #1. He is rested, has a good pedigree/dosage, can run midpack and grind his way to victory. Wicked strong also has a win over the track. Here’s my top 5 Joel: #1 Wicked Strong #2 Tonalist #3 C. Chrome #4 Saamrat #5 C. Curve.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Joe! Fantastic Top 5. I think you see the race similarly. 1 1/2-mile races really are gallop-type races in many cases..a European style of race almost. Last year the pace APPEARED to be fast, but in reality the track was just very fast IMO…especially considering that the horses up on that pace were on the board at the finish.

      Usually this is a cruisers race…you don’t want to be way back, and you just want to get into a nice rhythm, save ground, and time out your finish, which is hard to do…unless your horse can really finish at 1 1/2 miles then I think you benefit from trying to take the race at the 1/4 pole and then grinding it out, because we’ve seen many Belmonts fall apart with nobody really finishing in the stretch or changing position because nobody is really excelling at the distance, thus it can almost be a race of attrition IMO. Having the ability to handle the distance better than your competition gives you a big leg up in multiple ways – one being that you can time your finish with a greater margin for error.

      To that end, a colt like Wicked Strong is highly attractive because I agree with you that given the proper trip he’ll be able to cruise along in a tracking position that won’t have him too far out of it (he was within 4-5 lengths throughout in the Wood). And what’s attractive about him are the two fast finishes he’s shown in the Remsen and Wood that give you the thought that he may have the best closing punch of any in the race. So if a few of them are within a couple lengths of each other, i do believe that will be a weapon that can benefit him, since many of the closers in here don’t have his turn of foot, many are simply going to grind it out. The big question about him and all of these will be: Can he run close to his A-race at 1 1/2 miles? That’s why I believe the stamina qualifiers are so important, and whether you look at Dosage, Tomlinson, or just dig into his 5-cross and study it, his pedigree stacks up with the best in here across the board for the trip.

      Further, I thought his mile work the other day shows he’s ready. He’s reportedly been a little more keen than normal, but that mile work last weekend was a good move and positive sign IMO. His odds will be interesting to see IMO…I could see him anywhere from the 2nd choice to the 4th choice. My guess is that he Tonalist and Ride On Curlin will all be fairly close. Hard for me to figure out which one of the three will take more money. I’m inclined to say Ride On Curlin will be the 4th choice, but I really can’t separate WS and Tonalist..I go back in forth, so it’ll be interesting to see how the horse players bet those two.

      In conclusion, you’ve been very sharp this season, my friend. Much better than most I’ve seen around the country. You identified Chrome out of the state-bred stakes on the Cushion Track and stuck with him all winter/spring. Now you have the discipline to look elsewhere even though I know you’re a big Chrome fan. Kudos to you!

  • JR

    Hey Joel,
    Now we have GAR going into the fray, I sure you have some thoughts on him, whether that changes anything in your top 10.

    A friend of mine who is a psychiatrist, once said if you put 10 psychiatrists in a room to evaluate a patient, you will have 10 different opinions. IMO, the same could be said for pedigree experts. I’m with you, I use dosage for all 3 races as a tool.
    Take Care

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