2023 Belmont Stakes

$1,5000,000 Grade I Belmont Stakes | Dirt | 12 Furlongs

#1 Tapit Shoes

Wide throughout and still had a nice stride going late, can sit ground-saving trip and have more energy to push off this NPT that featured a much more compressed dirt spread than we typically see with runners prompting that pattern. Big distance and class test but odds and pattern are there for him to put up an honest try.

#2 Tapit Trice

Very disappointing spin for backers as a co-favorite in the Derby with the other co-fav Angel Of Empire getting a very similar trip but vastly outkicking him late. I gave him a fade review for the Derby due to the pair of DTOPs signalling he could possibly be close to a ceiling and after a disappointing showing, he's unbettable again for me offering shorter odds.

#3 Arcangelo

Off a local 57h/72h SOFT win, he pushed off an easy pace and dueled well to get the nod. Things to like coming out of a historically good prep for this race but the $35k purchase is getting enough wise guy action, I think the question marks about this step-up outweigh consideration for wagering.

#4 National Treasure

Gritty heart to stay up in the Preakness and strong look to survive a quick stride frequency. As we stretch out to 12 panels here though it's going to get tougher as we typically prefer runners with bigger strides who can eat more ground over the extra distance. 3 weeks removed from giving us his largest dirt spread in career by far, it's going to be tough to re-create and I'd lean on the side of beating him.

#5 Il Miracolo

We like NPTs around here as they often set up for improvement, but the amount of improvement we're asking for here is probably higher than any likely odds offered. Runner was sub-70 on Final Figure in last and just not touching this group with any career efforts. Gotta run a race and a half compared to his last trip to figure.

#6 Forte

Based on his style of out-striding the competition over distance, it's a surprising dirt spread trajectory to see him actually have been progressing sustainable pace -10 to -8 to -5h. Much more typical would be going more mathematically negative in prep races as distance is added. Would seem to me this is not about a horse expending more energy early as a fault, but rather just a pro stepping up his pace each race to match the increasing class of the competition. Looks locked and loaded to be the deserving favorite here IF he's fully sound. He stumbled yet again in a Belmont work just as he did before scratching out of the Derby which has some folks throwing red flags.

#7 Hit Show

Loved this one for the Derby after an excellent spattering of patterns in his foundation. Prompted a nice DTOP that featured speed while staying compressed at 82/82 but ultimately wasn't quite strong enough over the distance despite a pretty great trip for an 18-horse race. Very tempting as a bet-back if given 15/1 or so but the distance is a concern for a runner that shortened stride some in the last furlong of Derby.

#8 Angel Of Empire

Opposite of what we just discussed with Forte, this one has a more traditional dirt spread progression for this race prompting larger dirt spreads (late speed) race over race and is a perfect fit for this configuration. Belmont's large sweeping turns are a plus here as there's less opportunity for front-runners to sling-shot a turn and hold off closers like this guy.

#9 Red Route One

Lacked his usual big closing kick in last. Don't know there was an excuse as the 4F/6F was no hotter than his usual and while he did make a nice move forward in Final Figure personally, he still lacked that late run compared to what his rivals showed. Could just be racing at his ceiling currently and match that to a runner that needs to be given a set-up by others, and I'm not thinking I can bet this one back here.


I think Forte holds the key here to my wagering strategy which will be 2-part: Key or Toss.

Ticket #1: .6. Forte keyed on top of .1. Tapit Shoes .7. Hit Show .8. Angel Of Empire

Ticket #2: Box .1. Tapit Shoes .7. Hit Show .8. Angel Of Empire


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