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Belmont Stakes 2020

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Fearless Rick's 2020 Belmont Stakes Picks

Saturday, June 20, 2020, 11:15 am ET

Today is Saturday, June 20, 2020 and this is the print version of three minutes with Fearless Rick.

Today, at Belmont Park, the 10th race will be the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes, usually the third leg of the Triple Crown, though this year, because the Kentucky Derby and Preakness were postponed because of the Covid virus, the Belmont is the first jewel. The other big change is that the Belmont is normally run at a mile and a half. This year's distance will be a mile and an eighth, a significantly shorter distance and not nearly the challenge of the usual 12 panels.

The Kentucky Derby, normally run the first Saturday in May has been postponed until September 5th. It will be run at Churchill Downs. The Preakness, which will conclude the Triple Crown, will be run on October 3rd, at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland.

With the changes in scheduling out of the way, let's get right to today's race.

Right off the bat, a lot of people will be plunking down money on number 8, the 6-5 morning line favorite, Tiz the Law, trained by Barclay Tagg and ridden by Manuel Franco. He's won four of five career starts, including the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont last year, and the Grade 3 Holy Bull and Grade 1 Florida Derby, both run at Gulfstream Park earlier this year.

His only defeat was in the Kentucky Juvenile Cup, a Grade 2 race for two-year olds last November at Churchill Downs. He was third, beaten only three-quarters of a length, but neither of the top two finishers are running against him today. His credentials are solid, but the price will be short.

Let's get two horses out of the way. #6, Fore Left, and #7, Jungle Runner simply do not have the Beyer numbers, victories, nor close finishes to be considered competitive here.

This is where this race gets interesting. All of the remaining seven horses have legitimate chances of winning this race. Being three-year-olds, they are still developing, and all of them are trained by experts and ridden by leading jockeys. Any one of them could run huge today and upset the field.

Here's a quick look at each of them with their morning line odds.

#1 Tap It to Win won an allowance race at Belmont on June 4th, his third career win in six tries. He ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:39.3, equaling the track record. He's a front-running type and drawing the inside post is a huge advantage. Jockey John Velazquez will squeeze out every ounce of speed on this one. If the pace is to his liking, Tap It to Win could be out in front early and gone. He does carry an additional six pounds (all the horses will be carry 126), which probably won't make much of a difference. If he's good enough to hold off the entire field, the weight won't matter, but this is a huge class test. 6-1.

#2 Sole Volante is ridden by Luca Panici, trained by Patrick Biancone. He's won four of six and has hit the board in every start. He's a quality horse with consistently high Beyers who does his best running late. If he's right, figure him to be flying late. 9-2

#3 Max Player took the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct for his second career win in three starts. He broke is maiden in Philly back in December of '19 and is a stalking type. His Beyer of 86 from the Withers was almost six months ago, so he has every right to improve. Joel Rosario rides; Linda Rice is the trainer. 15-1

#4 Modernist paired up a couple of good efforts at the Fair Grounds in February and March, winning the Risen Star and coming in third in the Louisiana Derby. The William Mott trainee has had time off and sports a pair of bullet works coming into the Belmont. He should be on or close to the lead. Junior Alvarado rides. 15-1

#5 Farmington Road is ridden by J.J. Castellano, and only has one win in six tries, breaking his maiden at Tampa at a mile and forty yards in January. He was 4th in the Risen Star (which was run in divisions, so he didn't face Modernist) but his time was comparable. The Todd Pletcher entry is a big one-run closer who has prepped well since a fourth - beaten seven lengths - in the Arkansas Derby. A bit player, he's 15-1.

#6 Fore Left, and #7 Jungle Runner, as mentioned above, are throw outs.

#8 Tiz the Law, also mentioned above, is 6-5.

#9 Dr. Post will be guided by Irad Ortiz, the leading New York rider. This is another Todd Pletcher entry and may be dangerous. His 96 Beyer in a seven-furlong maiden special win was followed by an 86 when he won the Unbridled, an ungraded stakes at Gulfstream Park as the odds-on choice on April 25. The speed figure fall off should be ignored as the race was run at a fairly moderate pace and Dr. Post won handily. He's as good as any of the others at 5-1.

#10 Pneumatic won his first two starts and was third in the Matt Winn, Grade 3 race at Churchill downs on May 23. The 94 Beyer earned there was better than the 84 and 89 from his first two races. Improving? Yep.
Trained by Steven Asmussen, Pneumatic put in a bullet 5-furlong work on June 8, clocked at 59.4. He's dangerous at 8-1.

So, how do we play this?

You don't have to use the favorite, but if you're spreading out in exotics, you almost have to. The exacta may be short if #8 is a part of it, but I expect the trifecta and superfecta to be huge even if the favorite wins. If he's second, third or fourth, monster payouts await.

Let's take $61 and see what we can do.

I'm making the flat bets first:
$3 to win on 2, 3, 10 - $9

$4 to show on 2, 3 - $8

Taking a shot with a four-horse $1 exacta box:
2, 3, 9. and 10 - $12

a six horse part-wheel .50 cent trifecta with #8 in the first and second spots.
8 / 1 2 3 9 10 / 1 2 3 9 10 - $10
1 2 3 9 10 / 8 / 1 2 3 9 10 - $10

a four horse .50 cent trifecta box:
1 - 2 - 3 - 10 - $12

Here's the video (actually ran in escess of 5 minutes):


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