• Belmont by Brisnet numbers & my letters

    POSTED May 31, 2012
    Jon Siegel leads the latest edition of Triple Crown Insider acknowledging that I'll Have Another is the fastest horse in the race, and that is the case no matter what numbers you use to gauge these horses' performances.

    But handicapping a horse race isn't only about figuring out who has run fastest, it's about figuring out who will run fastest in this race.

    One of the best handicappers I know, Scott Carson, is great at projecting performances. I don't get quite as specific as he does when plotting a race, but I do use the rudimentary approach of figuring the chances a horse A) improves, B) maintains, or C) goes backward. A+ would be an explosive move, and a C- would be a huge step back.

    I'll Have Another is the easiest of Belmont winners with either an "A+" or "A" performance as defined above. Even a "B" performance means someone would have to improve, and only Dullahan or Paynter could win with their "A" if I'll Have Another fires a "B". Horses like Union Rags and Street Life, meanwhile, would need an "A+".

    The best chance for anyone other than I'll Have Another winning is if the dual classic winner runs a "C". His "off" race from either the Derby or Preakness probably still hits the board and might even win, but that would likely mean some others didn't fire as well.

    One reason I like Optimizer a little bit is he seems to always fire a "B", i.e. maintains his form rather consistently. That's not nearly fast enough normally, and as a top choice I wouldn't like him, but there's enough of a chance that he moves forward with the added distance to prefer him underneath at 20-to-1 than Union Rags, Paynter, or Street Life at lower prices.

    Still, I expect my main strategy (as a personal player, not for the TwinSpires.com Player's Pool) to be to single I'll Have Another in multi-race wagers, bet Dullahan to win, and play a straight I'll Have Another-Dullahan exacta with Optimizer thrown in to some of the gimmicks.


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