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Breeders' Cup 2017

Going the Distance In The Belmont

The Belmont Stakes has been known as the test of champions since its inception in 1867. 


The grueling mile and a half distance has been the kryptonite to many so called “Super Horses” and triple crown hopefuls. We’re a mere 24 hours away from the Belmont and the rigors of the triple crown have already claimed one casualty. The scratch of I’ll Have Another is a major disappointment to everyone involved with the horse and the sport. It’s a tough break for all of his adoring fans, but the race must go on and there are still talented colts in this field.


Looking into a horse’s pedigree can give us an indication on how he or she will handle the brutal 12 furlongs of the Belmont. This year’s edition of Belmont has several horses that have the distance-breeding to stay at this long trip.


Let’s take a look into the main contenders pedigree’s and see if they have what it takes to handle the grueling Belmont.


Dullahan is by Even The Score out of Mining My Own by Smart Strike. Dullahan’s sire, Even The Score was an extremely talented and versatile race horse, he won grade II Californian stakes at the 9 furlong distance and the grade II Mervyn LeRoy stakes at the 8.5 furlong distance.   The un-raced Smart Strike mare, Mining My Own has been a big success in the breeding shed, she produced the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, this makes Dullahan a half to “The Bird.”


Paynter is by Awesome Again out of the Cees Tizzy mare, Tizso.  Awesome Again was just that, simply AWESOME.  Awesome Again won the grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic, the grade I Whitney, and the grade II Stephen Foster.  Awesome Again is the sire of the champion filly, Ginger Punch. Ginger Punch won the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Distaff defeating Hysterical Lady, Ginger Punch also won the grade I Personal Ensign at the 10 furlong distance. Paynter’s dam, Tizso was winless in two starts, but she’s been productive in the breeding shed. Tizso is the dam of Tiz West. Tiz West won the La Puente Stakes at 8 furlongs and  the grade III Cinema handicap at 9 furlongs.


Union Rags is by Dixie Union out of the Gone West mare, Tempo. Dixie Union was a dynamite talent. As a juvenile he won the grade II Norfolk, the grade III Best Pal, and the grade III Hollywood Juvenile Championship. As a 3 year old Dixie Union won the grade I Haskell and the grade I Malibu Stakes. Dixie Union never stretched his talent past 9 furlongs.  Tempo only raced 3 times in her career winning twice. Tempo has been useful in the breeding shed, she’s had  6 winners. But, most of her offspring prefers sprinting. Gone West was very talented, he boast wins in the grade I Dwyer , the grade II Gotham , and the grade II Withers. Gone West exceeding himself as a sire, He’s the sire of the grade I Santa Anita Derby winner Came Home, Came home also won the grade I Pacific Classic at the 10 furlong distance. Gone West also sired Commendable. Commendable won the Belmont stakes proving Gone West can produce distance horses.


Atigun is the son of Istan out of the Dynaformer mare, Rimini Road. Istan was a consistent horse. He won 9 races out of 21 starts. His crowning achievement was in the grade III Turfway Fall Championship Stakes.  Istan is a young up-coming sire. He’s the sire of Mr.Bowling.  Mr.Bowling won the Dover stakes at Delaware Park and finished 3rd in the Iroquois stakes at Churchill Downs.  Rimini Road finished 3rd in her only start.  Atigun is Rimini Road’s top performer, but she has produced Rimini Rebel who won a Maiden Special Weight at Hawthorne Race Track at the 8.5 furlong Distance. Atiguns Dam-sire, Dynaformer was a good race horse, but he’s been an incredible sire. He’s the sire of the great, late, Barbaro. Barbaro won the Derby before being injured in the Preakness. Dynaformer is also the sire of Dynaforce who won the grade I Flower Bowl Handicap at 10 furlongs and the grade I Beverly D at 9.5 furlongs.


Optimizer is the son of English Channel out of the A.P. Indy mare, Indy Pick. English Channel was a champion who relished the longer distances. English Channel captured the grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf a 12 furlongs and the grade I United Nations (Twice) at 11 furlongs. English Channel is a young sire who’s only had a few crops, Optimizer his is top earner. Indy Pick won twice in 6 starts, Otimizer is her best earner.  Optimizer’s Dam-sire is the great A.P. Indy. A.P. Indy himself won the Belmont stakes and the grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic. A son of the triple crown winner, Seattle Slew, A.P.  is a legendary sire who’s offspring include Aptitude, Bernardini, Golden Missile, Master Command, Mineshaft, Music Not, Rags to Riches, Stephen Got Even, and Suave.

Street Life is the son of Street Sense out of the Grindstone mare, Stone hope. Street Sense was a “Phenom.”  He is the only horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky Derby. Street Sense is also a very young sire,  he is the sire of the former Derby hopeful, Castaway. Castaway won the grade III Southwest stakes at Oaklawn Park.  Stone Hope only won a single race in 11 starts, she’s had one other runner to date.  Street Life’s dam-sire is Grindstone. The lightly raced Grindstone won the Kentucky Derby and the Louisiana Derby.  Grindstone has been useful in the breeding shed and is best known for being the sire of Belmont winner Birdstone.



With the defection of I’ll Have Another, Dullahan should be the post time favorite. Dullahan has been nothing short of spectacular in preparation for the Belmont.  He was only a few lengths behind the Derby and Preakness winner.  The jockey switch from Kent Desmormeaux to Javier Castellano should be of no concern. Dullahan’s  4 furlong work in 45.97 under Castellano shows how good they can work together and how ready Dullahan is.


Union Rags loves Belmont Park and is primed for a good performance.  Johnny V. will be aboard for the first time. Look for Johnny to put “Rags in the race early. He looks to sit a dream trip behind Paynter and Unstoppable U, but he has to show he can handle the distance.


Paynter is coming in off of an impressive front running score in an allowance race at Pimlico. His breeding suggest that he should relish the 12 furlong distance. If his competition falls asleep Paynter could be long gone by the time they open their eyes.


I will be Keying #5 Dullahan over #3 Union Rags, #9 Paynter and #10 Optimizer in tri’s and exactas. Let’s Hope for a big score and a GREAT Belmont!



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Older Comments about Going the Distance In The Belmont...

I am a loyal kind of guy, so I am making Union Rags my top pick. At this point a Union Rags victory would be a great story!
Just think its crazy that Dullahan, a horse that has never won on dirt is going to be the favorite for a triple crown race. If he wins, I'm ripping up my tickets.
Guyana Star Dweej will be in my superfecta mix
Beware of lone speed!

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