The 2006 Belmont dozenby Shawn Sillinger
And then there were 12
Twelve horses are entered (for now) in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown. The race may have been overshadowed by the injury to Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, and the absence of Preakness winner Bernardini, but there is still plenty of equine talent to go around. Here's a rundown of the galloping dozen, in order of post position.
1. Platinum Couple: Two wins and a show in five races this year, but a poor effort at the Wood Memorial on a sloppy track. Hasn't won at anything longer than 1 1/16 miles. The longest shot in the field (tied with Double Galore). Adding blinkers Saturday.
2. Sunriver: Arguably the horse to beat. Missed the Kentucky Derby due to lack of graded stakes earnings, but coming off a win at the Peter Pan with a very impressive 100 Beyer figure. Trainer Todd Pletcher has Sunriver lined up for a Belmont win.
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3. Hemingway's Key: Finished third at the Preakness. Won his first two races as a two-year-old, but the Preakness effort has been his best in five races thus far in 2006. Trained by Nick Zito.
4. Bob and John: One of the early Kentucky Derby contenders. Ran poorly there, but won the Wood Memorial beforehand with a slow time. Should benefit from not getting bumped around in a big field this time out. Has the stamina to outlast most of the field.
5. High Finance: Owner of the fastest Beyer figure in the Belmont at 102. Two wins, two places and a show in five races make him a compelling triactor choice. This is his first race around two turns.
6. Oh So Awesome: This French import was bought by Team Valor with the specific intention of running in the Belmont. Finished third last month in his U.S. debut on this track, also in sloppy conditions. Adding Lasix for this event. A good distance horse with enough upside to consider as a value pick.
7. Deputy Glitters: Horrible in the rain, and may be scratched from the Belmont Stakes if the weather does not cooperate. One of five horses in this event to run the Derby (finishing eighth) but skip the Preakness. Also hasn't picked up a victory longer than 1 1/16 miles.
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8. Jazil: An excellent sprinter/closer, but not proven over larger distances. Rallied late to come in fourth at the Kentucky Derby (in a dead heat with Brother Derek), and finished second behind Bob and John at the Wood Memorial. Hasn't worked out since May 27.
9. Bluegrass Cat: The early favorite, slightly ahead of fellow Todd Pletcher trainee Sunriver. Placed at the Kentucky Derby. Has four wins in eight career starts, and won both his races at Belmont. Not much value in this pick.
10. Double Galore: A relative unknown bay colt. Bred, owned and trained by Myung Kwon Cho. Has one win in five races, his maiden special weight last month at Hollywood Park. Will wear blinkers for the Belmont.
11. Steppenwolfer: Enjoying a solid 2006 with two wins, two places and two shows in six appearances. Has good speed, but will probably be too tired to get his motor running in the closing stages of this 1 -mile event.
12. Sacred Light: Finished second to Brother Derek in the Santa Catalina Stakes, but hasn't done much else. Only win (a maiden) came via disqualification. Sired by Holy Bull.
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by BetUSradio at 1800-sports.com on June 10, 2006
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