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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

The Belmont Stakes - An Early Preview

Preakness captures the 2011 Preakness over Animal Kingdom

Belmont Stakes 2011

1. Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux-Dalicia, by Acatenango)   2-1
Taking nothing away from Shackleford, this one has been the best horse in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. With oodles of distance breeding on his female side, he only needs to keep his good form for trainer Graham Motion to be the one to beat and complete an outstanding 1-2-1 classic series.

2. Nehro (Mineshaft-The Administrator, by Afleet)   7-2
Despite the fact that he only has a maiden win to his credit, he has proved to be one of the elite horses of this crop. Ran a very good Derby despite being much closer to the pace than anticipated. The five week break should do him a lot of good, and if he can handle the distance, is a big threat to get his first stakes win.

3. Master of Hounds (Kingmambo-Silk and Scarlet, by Sadler's Wells)   6-1
The choice of many a wise guy, this Euro invader offers a lot to like. He has the advantage of being fresher than most, the benefit of stamina building European style of training, and a dam side breeding full of distance. Any improvement off a Derby that was even better than it looks on paper may win the Belmont.

4. Shackelford (Forestry-Oatsee, by Unbridled)   6-1
A son of Foresty at 12 furlongs? Maybe. In his last three starts, he has proven to be one tough son of a gun as the field turns for home. He will not be my top pick, but who knows, if the pace is slow enough early, the Preakness champ may be tough to run down once again.

5. Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno-Ponche de Leona, by Ponche)   10-1
I'm honestly not sure what is going on with this guy's shoes, but I believe there is more to him than we saw in the Preakness. Big lanky body may be well suited to the demands and vastness of 1 1/2 miles at Belmont. He seems to be on a fire every other race schedule, so he is due to fire on June 11.

6. Santiva (Giant's Causeway-Slide, by Smarten)  15-1
My top longshot for the Belmont was left with no chance in the Blue Grass and then ran a good race in the Derby despite probably needing the race more than most. I like the Smarten breeding for the distance, and if he can sit a little closer to the early pace, might be up for a big surprise.

7. Brilliant Speed (Dynaformer-Speed Succeeds, by Gone West)  20-1
After getting up late to win the Blue Grass, he came back to run a solid race in Louisville. If he did well on the dirt at Churchill Downs, it stands to reason he may do well on the dirt again in New York. Being a son of Dynaformer certainly does not hurt his chances to get the distance.
 


[Will Animal Kingdom prove that he is the best three-year-old in the land with a win in the 2011 Belmont Stakes?]


8. Stay Thirsty (Bernardini-Morovia, by Storm Bird)  25-1
I know the talent is there, I saw it many times, including the Gotham, but his last two races do not inspire too much confidence. He will need to turn things around in a big way to factor in, but a return to his home track may help the cause.

9. Prime Cut  (Bernstein-Life happened, by Stravinsky) 25-1
Nothing wrong with his recent form, but then again it does not look quite good enough to win a Triple Crown race. I have great respect for his trainer, but Considering his pedigree, I think middle distances on turf or synthetics might prove to be his game.

10. Ruler On Ice (Roman Ruler-Champagne Glow, by Saratoga Six)  30-1
After a promising performance in New Mexico, I have a feeling that his loss to Concealed Identity in the Fedrico Tesio proved that he does not quite have what it takes to scare this Belmont crowd.

11. Monzon (Thunder Gulch-Shadow of Mine, by Belong to Me)  40-1
I must admit that after a win this winter at Aqueduct, I thought this one may have a future. It certainly has not looked that way since. His chances to follow his daddy's footsteps, and win the Test of Champions, are slim at best.

12. Harlan's Hello (Harlan's Holiday-Princess Hello, by Secret Hello)  50-1
The good news is that he is coming off a win over this Belmont strip in his last race. As for more good news ... there is none. He looks completely overmatched against this crowd.

13. Isn't He Perfect (Pleasantly Perfect-Reciclada, by Rictorious) 50-1
I can only assume that his trainer is looking to double his pleasure by not just running one crazy long shot in the Belmont, but two. It could be a quite a battle between him and his stablemate to see who brings up the rear.

 

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Older Comments about The Belmont Stakes - An Early Preview...

if harlens hello was in this race i think he would have won easy cause he was bread for the mud and he just a monster horse over all
Brilliant Speed ex bx with Animal Kingdom, Nehro and Santiva
icy, I know it is hard to put him on top but it is so hard to count him out when I watch his past races. I may put Master of Hounds on top.
fourteen horses running in the Belmont. Ten do not belong in the race. My selections. Nehro,Animal Kingdom, Master Of Hounds,and Shackelford.
as for Nehro if he wins he'll be the only Mineshaft progeny to win a grade 1 at a 11/8 or more.Hard to put him on top.
mr. zipse......pretty much agree with your pix here.
12thCrown, I love your two picks. Based on what we have seen there is no reason that Nehro and Master of Hounds should not finish on the board. I think they should run 1 & 2. Icy, I like Animal Kingdom to round out my tri, but I really like Nehro. I just hope he isn't too used to coming in second. I like that he had some time off to get ready for this race.
LOL ... sorry those shoes are costing you so much $$, Eric!
I like Animal Kingdom ,he is I believe the best of this crop and it will take more than we've seen so far to beat him in the Belmont. Nehro,this horse intrigues me because he seems to have already run farther than Mineshaft progeny are noted for as he passed on his speed but not his stamina but there is always that exception to the rule and he may be it.
I'm tired of Mucho's shoes costing ME so much $$. Can't play him on top again, but I like Master of Hounds with that breeding. And no reason to believe Nehro won't run huge again!
i still think that Shackleford has the pedigree that can stand 1-1/2 miles, he is the best speed horse with very strong stamina, with very will power, is in my opnion the best speed horse that has right now, if he will control the space, he will be manuvouring the slow or fast fractions of the speed accotding to his will, so if the jockey cleverly guide him, he will win the Belmont, i am prety sure that the pedigree he has, he can stay distance. only danger horses are Master of hounds and Santiva.
Good call out Brian. I noticed that too. I still think the top three or four of that list would make their presence felt in the Belmont. Can't see any "newcomers" really making a bit hit but then again if Awesome Patriot runs, he'd peak my interest just for his possible stamina bloodlines, his two wins as three were both front running, and of course the Baffert connections.
Hmmm...that is very interesting. Thank you for pointing that one out. I didn't even notice that before you mentioned it. That is another factor to consider when one is looking at the upcoming Belmont.
Notice the top seven ran 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 in the Kentucky Derby ... interesting.
Really, I think the top four on this list are the only ones with some kind of shot to win the Belmont, and even so, the top three appear to be the real deal.
not sold.
AGREE, very dangerous with one start, jet lag done & a VERY impressive resume!!!
Master Of Hounds ran big in the Derby.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.