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Breeders' Cup 2017

$1,000 Belmont Day Stakes Survivor: Only 4 Survived

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On paper, it didn't seem like a difficult task picking one horse in each of the five graded stakes at Belmont on Saturday to finish in the first three places.  The respective field sizes for that quintet of top-notch races were 8, 7, 10, 7, and 11.  Let's examine how Belmont Stakes Survivor went down on Saturday, which offered a $1,000 prize pool for a mere $4 entry fee.

It started with True North Handicap, a Grade 2 affair for older sprinters going six furlongs.  Punters had a tough time deciding upon a favorite but in the end, the top two choices in the betting hit the board in an 8-horse field.  Despite that result, 122 entries were knocked out while 139 moved on to the next race.

Belmont 7th - True North

7 - Caixa Electronica (7-2f)
8 - Justin Philip (13-1)
3 - Smiling Tiger (7-2)

Next up was the Just a Game, a Grade 1 race for older females at one mile on turf.  The three favorites ran 1-2-3 and as expected, most moved on.

Belmont 8th - Just a Game

1 - Tapitsfly (3-1)
4 - Winter Memories (1-1f)
5 - Hungry Island (7-2)

Three-year-old sprinters took the spotlight in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens, which was contested over seven furlongs.  Favored here was Trinniberg, exiting the Kentucky Derby after clearly not getting the distance.  Trinninberg had won his previous two starts at the 7f trip in graded stakes but many horseplayers were willing to take him on following his drubbing in Louisville.  With the other well-fancied runners not hitting the board and longshots following Trinniberg home, we were down to 39 with two races to go.

Belmont 9th - Woody Stephens

6 - Trinniberg (5-2f)
9 - Currency Swap (9-1)
3 - Il Villano (15-1)
[Play Survivor Games for as little as $4 and win cash at Derby Wars.com!] 

Looking back at this contest, it turns out the trickiest event in the sequence turned out to be the Grade 1 Manhattan with older colts and geldings traveling 1 1/4 miles over firm turf despite a 7-horse field.  The betting board suggested a reasonably evenly-matched group and as it turned out, each of the three favorites were off of the board.  There were just 10 players left heading into the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Belmont 10th - Manhattan

4 - Desert Blanc (6-1)
5 - Papaw Bodie (10-1)  
2 - Boisterous (9-2)

From a Survivor perspective on-paper, the Belmont Stakes looked like a two-horse decision between Union Rags and Dullahan.  However, players knew if they chose one of those two favorites, they would likely be splitting the $1,000 with others.  But if both Union Rags and Dullahan were off the board and contestants could find someone else who'd run 1-2-3, there was a possibility at winning all of the money and not having to share with others.  Those are the kind of fun/tricky decisions which players must make in the heat of the moment during the final stages of a Derby Wars tournament.  4 of the 10 remaining players took what appeared to be the most logical Survivor horse in Dullahan while Union Rags, Paynter, and My Adonis each attracted two votes.

Belmont 11th - Belmont Stakes

3 - Union Rags (5-2)
9 - Paynter (4-1)
4 - Atigun (20-1)

So there it is, how 261 turned into just 4 after five graded stakes at Belmont on Saturday.  Congrats to Herbert 'hartvit' Boge, Samuel 'ruffian' Homiack, Frank 'fvespe' Vespe, and Ron 'zbuiler' Zuercher for turning a $4 investment into $250 for merely picking a horse to finish 1-2-3 in five graded stakes at Belmont this past Saturday. 


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