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Lessons From The Belmont

Posted by on 6/11/2014 11:05:45 PM

California Chrome was far from a cinch on paper to win the Belmont Stakes and as all online sports betting site players know, they don’t run them on paper, they run them on the track. One thing horse bettors tend to forget is that horses are not machines, there is blood running through those veins and not octane.

Upsets happen, just ask Native Dancer, who lost only once in his career to Dark Star in the 1953 Kentucky Derby. Or interview the ghost of Man O’ War, who also only lost once in the Sanford Stakes getting beat by a runner named Upset. In modern times, Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey knows a little about the subject since he guided Arcangues to victory in the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Classic at 133-1.

Another thing horse bettors can take from this season’s Belmont is that to win 3 races in 5 weeks at 3 different tracks and at 3 distinctly different distances takes a Herculean effort.

These horses are not all mature three-year-olds in some cases; they are still growing and still trying to figure out physically who they are.

It reminds me of a situation when I was privy to the Florida State basketball team years ago. My friend and former classmate, Pat Kennedy, was the coach at State at the time and another friend of mine and myself had access to the team during a stint when they played the University of Arizona.

In those days, I was not averse to putting a wager or two on a hoop game now and then but after seeing in real time how these college kids conducted themselves, gambling on college games on a huge basis was no longer on my menu.

The reality of it was, just like with sophomores on the Triple Crown trail, is that college hoopsters are just kids that have no real idea of what’s going on and are basically just babies.

Some are immature, some can’t handle pressure, and maybe like California Chrome, some can’t handle a grueling schedule or when things don’t go exactly to plan.

California Chrome had things pretty much his own way in the other races, but last weekend, he has off a bit poorly and he had a target on his back.

That kind of pressure affects horses and humans in different ways.

One of the major lessons that astute horse bettors can take away from the Belmont is to project what kind of journey a horse may have against any particular field he must face and if he can handle the type of situation he may be forced into that day.

If a runner is comfortable on the lead, will he be able to gain a clear advantage early? If he is a stone-cold closer, is there enough pace in a particular race to promote a late rally?

Another lesson bettors can take from this classic is what can happen if the race unfolds in a way that could not be expected. In this year’s Belmont Commissioner, who had never been on the lead in his life, made the lead in the final Triple Crown race of the year and nearly pulled off the 28-1 shocker.

The one rule about horse racing still is; there are no rules.

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