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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

A Sealed and Muddy Belmont Track Changes Things

No fast track on 2011 Belmont Stakes day … oh well. Let's make the best of a less than ideal situation.

A sealed and muddy track, with more rain coming down, is likely to change the way the big race is run, and therefore, alters the way I will bet. With this type of track, distance becomes less of an issue. The 1982 Belmont was a great example. Many thought Conquistador Cielo would not handle 12 furlongs. When the track came up sloppy though, the result was an absolute runaway. Horses that may have struggled home on a fast track, are now more likely to get out there and skip through the puddles on the way to the finish line. Conversely, those horses that were set to thrive at the extended distance by wearing down the others, are now more at the mercy of whether or not they can handle the messy surface.

Animal Kingdom, Nehro, and Master of Hounds, who are the three favorites, I believe will have a tougher time on today's track. Mind you, any of the three can still win, but each will have to prove that they really like an off track, if they are expected to make a powerful rally to win the Belmont. Of the three, Nehro might me the most up against it, as he has not looked good in the mornings when working over a wet surface. Brilliant Speed, at a little higher odds, is another who may see his chances diminish on a track that looks to be favoring closer to the pace types.

Horses like Shackleford, Mucho Macho Man, and Santiva, figure to be the ones to benefit from the track condition the most. Shackleford is the controlling speed, and bred to like an off track. Dale Romans has to be tickled pink with the weather development. Meanwhile, Mucho Macho Man and Santiva might be two horses sitting in the cat-bird seat. They will be stalking from not to far off the lead, and be ready to pounce if Shackleford begins to show the first sign of weakness. This could be an especially strong position if one of the longer shots in the race decides to pressure Shackleford early.

Wet tracks also can tend to result in more surprising finishes. Horses like Stay Thristy, Prime Cut, and Ruler on Ice might be more playable now. If any of the three prove to appreciate the wet surface, their chances of getting brave down the stretch goes way up.

Sometimes a wet track does not change what the result would have been, and maybe the riders will be more eager to press the pace because of what is happening, thereby taking the advantage of the frontrunners away, but more often than not a track , like we see today at Belmont Park, will have a big outcome on the final result. My advice is to alter your wagering accordingly.


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Older Comments about A Sealed and Muddy Belmont Track Changes Things...

i took the leaders i know people like closers in the belmont, but i go the other way. ruler on ice and stay thirsty were both very close to shackleford that race. i bet wins on shackleford, stay thirsty and ruler on ice. got my money back on shackleford flating out and ended up a head. great race and it seems to always be someone upseting the belmont many times. congrats to those who had the tri or super! my problem is i just bet straight money usually win or across the board.
Went with Santiva, was in the catbird seat but ended up not enjoying the track as much as we thought....ugh
Yes Andy, but it does not look like this track will be drying out anytime soon.
Exactly what I was thinking, Mucho Macho is now my top choice!
I was at the Conquistador Cielo Belmont. Great performace. Remember drying tracks can be tiring and favor closers.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. 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. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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