We have not even had the draw for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes and Ralph pulled my play/opinion out of me. Before I go any further, for those of you who are new, I never bet a favorite. If I think the favorite is going to win, then I pass the race. In this case, there are lot’s of emotional issues that effect all handicapper’s, me included! So keep that in your mind when you look at my opinion or anyone else’s opinion.
Here are some of the issues and / or conflicts as they effect me. I certainly would like to see another Triple Crown winner. I really thought Real Quiet and Smarty Jones would simply go out an win the TC. Others, such as Big Brown, Silver Charm and Califronia Chrome were hard to bet against. Most of the others seemed like good ones to try and beat. In the case of Big Brown, Silver Charm and California Chrome I pretty much just PASSED the race for a wager. In the case of Real Quiet and Smarty Jones I made simple straight exacta wagers. In all the others, if I could grab on to something interesting and formful, I would make a good wager… I still have plenty left from my wager against Charismatic and on Lemon Drop Kid. For those of you who remember, I came out for Lemon Drop Kid well before the Belmont Stakes on Race Day Las Vegas and even suggested using Bill Mott’s Vision and Verse in the exacta… That was exacta topped $1500.00 for those of you who followed my idea…
So here are the stats, there have been 140 (approximate) Triple Crowns and there have only been 13/14 Triple Crown winners. That makes it about a 10/1 Long Shot to win the Triple Crown and American Pharoah will be ODDS ON. This is really a simple wagering decision, year in and year out. We should always be betting against the American Pharoah simply based upon the REAL PROBABILITIES, even though on the surface, he looks remarkable in every respect. And so there it is, while each of us might love to see the next Triple Crown winner — me included — the smart play is to be betting against American Pharoah.
So while, on one hand I would like to have another set of memories to coincide with Affirmed/Alydar, Seattle Slew and even my fainter recollection of Secretariat — I SIMPLY DO NOT WANT ANY PRETENDER’S TO SNEAK IN! Maybe that’s the biggest issue for me. Again, these are emotional, so I am inclined to want to see this group of 3 year olds as outstanding. Because to win this Triple Crown, American Pharoah will have to beat someone significant! And I believe that to be True. But that being said, and considering the real odds of winning the Triple Crown and noting that Materiality ran beautifully in the Florida Derby and very well in the Kentucky Derby after his horrible start, he seems to be a worthwhile wager.
It might be fair to say, that my emotional bias would be for American Pharoah to get beat. Not because I don’t like the horse and not because I would not like to see a Triple Crown Champion. But because I would want to see a Triple Crown Champion, but I want that Champion to beat someone worthy. And I am thinking and hoping that Materiality is worthy. Before I finish this piece, let me make it perfectly clear, that I believe American Phaorah will run great on Saturday. I am hoping that Materiality will be able to make him run right up along side Affirmed/Alydar, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Citation and all the others. For that reason, I will be betting, if the odds are better than 3/1 on Materiality — just as I respect everyone who wagered upon Alydar some 37 years ago.