Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Churchill to Belmont, No Stop At Pimlico

Nehro, Master of Hounds, Santiva, Stay Thirsty, Brilliant Speed. These five horses will attempt to win the Belmont Stakes with their last race being the Kentucky Derby. They finished anywhere from 2nd to 12th in the Derby. These five face a tough task, with both the Derby and Preakness winner in the fold, along with hard-trying Mucho Macho Man. So what are their chances to overturn the decision against Animal Kingdom? One way to determine that is to look back on previous horses who have attempted to the same, specifically in the past 20 years.

Below is a chart that list every horse who ran in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes without a race in between in the last 20 years.

As the chart shows, the strategy of going directly from the Derby to the Belmont has had some success in the past twenty years. 39 runners have done, with 14 horses hitting the board in the Belmont. None of the five "doing the double" can beat the improvement of Commendable in 2000, who went from a 17th in the Derby to the winner's circle in the Belmont. The five horses in this year match the most in the last 21 years. It is interesting to note that in the 3 most recent years that more than four horses came directly from the Derby (2000, 2006, 2008), both the winner and the runner-up were among that group. That is something to note to those who like any of those horses.

The two Derby finishing positions most often to go on directly to the Belmont in the last twenty years are 2nd and 4th, each with six runners. (scroll down below the chart to see the table listing the total for each finishing position) If Nehro does start on Saturday, he would be the 7th in the past 21 years, meaning 33% of the time the place horse in the Derby has skipped the Preakness in favor of the Belmont. In a tie for the 3rd most often with 5 runners is the 7th place spot, which is where Brilliant Speed finished. Stay Thirsty marks the first time in at least 21 years that the 12th place finisher has gone directly to the Belmont.

So there is some food for thought about the Belmont Stakes this Saturday when it comes to those "doing the double". Take this information as nothing more than a tool to help bring home stacks of cash, office pool pride or simple bragging rights among the family. Good luck this weekend!

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