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2010 Belmont Stakes: On the Record

Ice Box

It'll be Ice Box - unless it's not.

True, it may not seem like the most distinguished group ever to line up for the Belmont – but where they truly fit in is hard to judge at this point in the year; someone could become a break-out star.  Nick Zito makes a good point in suggesting that the now-traditional 20-horse field in the Derby keeps horses from competing in all three Triple Crown races; it does seem odd that the overarching trend is to run potentially top-level horses less often on the whole – except when it comes to Derby Day. Then, it seems, even those who are pretty clearly sprinter-milers (or turf horses) still get thrown into the Derby field.

The same is rarely true of the Belmont, although there are always a few who seem to be in the field just because there’s room.  So, who’s going to win, who will have a notable career post-Belmont, and who’s just happy to be here?  Let’s find out:

1 / Dave in Dixie / C H Borel  /  J W Sadler / 20/1
Trainer John Sadler would seem to have a better shot at posing for winner’s circle photos with Crisp in the Acorn; yes, the horse is on the rail with Bo-Rail aboard, but does that matter at Belmont?  The longest (and only) race Dave in Dixie has won was at 6 furlongs.

2 / Spangled Star / G K Gomez / R E Dutrow, Jr.  /  30/1
Another with only one in the winning column; he seems quite overmatched here, even with the talents of Garrett Gomez at his disposal.

3   /  Uptowncharlybrown  /  R Maragh  /  K P McLaughlin /  10/1
In addition to having a bittersweet human-interest background, he’s always had an excuse when he’s run poorly.  Jockey Rajiv Maragh is a local pro, and the extra distance may even suit the horse, even if it’s not immediately apparent in his pedigree.  He’s the most interesting longshot in the field, and deserves better luck.

4 / Make Music for Me / J Rosario / A Barba / 10/1
We like to see female trainers in big races, and without his surprise fourth-place finish in the Derby, Make Music for Me would not be here.  While we might have dismissed him out of hand for the Derby, he could spring another surprise.

5 / Fly Down  /  J R Velazquez /  N P Zito /  9/2
He’s the ‘other’ Nick Zito horse – and he should not be overlooked.  He’s beaten both Drosselmeyer and First Dude (twice) and his only losses were down to bad racing luck.  He’s a very serious threat.

6  / Ice Box /  J Lezcano / N P Zito /  3/1
If he’d had a little more luck on Derby Day, we might not be hearing the complaints about the Derby and Preakness winners’ not appearing in the Belmont.  On paper, the race is his to lose – he’s the class of the field.

7  / Drosselmeyer / M E Smith / W I Mott / 12/1
Second to Fly Down last time out, Drosselmeyer seems more of a solid G2 performer; a wag might suggest that he’s perfect for this year’s installment of the Belmont, but I think he’s a notch below the best here, both in terms of speed and distance abilities.

8  / Game On Dude / M Garcia / B Baffert  / 10/1
Yes, he won the Lone Star Derby. Yes, he’s trained by Bob Baffert, but those are Game On Dude’s chief qualifications for being here.  Still, it’s always fun to have Baffert around, even if we never see the horse in another major race.

9 /  Stately Victor / A Garcia / M J Maker / 15/1
He’s beautifully-bred, but his only win this year was in the Blue Grass.  It’s possible, however, that he just wants further to run – he’ll get it on Saturday, but he’s not an obvious pick.

10 / Stay Put / J Theriot / S Margolis / 20/1
On paper, he doesn’t seem to be crying out for a 1 1/2 mile race, and he’s not faced this caliber of competition, but his Beyers have been improving.  He could progress here, but winning seems unlikely.

11  /  First Dude / R A Dominguez /  D L Romans / 7/2
He’s been saddled with a terrible name, but he showed obvious talent in the Preakness. He has something of a rivalry starting with Fly Down, and certainly seems to have progressed since then.  But will he regress from his career-high Beyer last time out?

12 / Interactif / J Castellano / T A Pletcher / 12/1
He was a last-minute addition to the field, and his turf credentials are much stronger than his dirt form – but he’s interesting here.  He’s got plenty of stamina on his dam’s side (love the Broad Brush angle), and his post position seems perfect for his running style, especially in a race of this distance.  He could spring an upset – and then return to turf/synthetics forevermore.

Prediction: Ice Box, Fly Down, Uptowncharlybrown, Interactif

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