Weekend Winners Club

Jun 12 2017

Belmont Stakes 2017: WTF Just Happened? Explained Here.

Belmont Stakes 2017 Recap and Analysis
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Monday, June 12, 2017
Belmont Park
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There are plenty of Monday morning armchair quarterbacks going around after the Belmont stakes as is usual for any Triple Crown race. In our final article analyzing the Belmont Stakes beforehand, we delineated how Irish War Cry would take control in the stretch after Meantime set the pace, and then be caught in deep stretch by… Patch.
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It was probably as good an analysis as any, except that I allowed my hatred of Tapwrit and all things Tapit to get in the way of a completely statistical and logical discussion. Tapwrit so far had been another overhyped, overpriced, overrated colt from Tapit who did nothing but disappoint his backers in his two biggest career races, the Blue Grass and Kentucky Derby. It should be noted that he still hasn’t earned his auction price yet but the Belmont got him a lot closer.
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Tapwrit gets first big win in Belmont over Irish War Cry and Patch

Tapwrit gets first big win in Belmont over Irish War Cry and Patch


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He was however, bred to win a Triple Crown race, as most expensive colts are nowadays, and that was proven by his lofty $1.2 million price at the Fasig Tipton auction. Nobody pays that money for a horse because they want to win the Tampa Bay Derby and finish off the chart in everything that follows. However, that’s just what he had done so far, and I held it against Todd and his connections personally.
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What I did know was how the race would play out: Irish War Cry would be near the lead and get caught in the stretch. The question was WHO would be the one to catch him, and that field boiled down to Tapwrit, Gormley, J Boys Echo, and Patch. With the lack of any real speed besides Cry and Meantime, they would be the only ones close enough with the class and pedigree to catch him.
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Gormley’s lack of beating anyone significant in his career has always made me skeptical, but he has a good pedigree and would be close enough to get in the superfecta, which he did. J Boys Echo is apparently still a 1-race wonder, but in that race he did beat Preakness champion Cloud Computing. In the Blue Grass and Derby he had excuses, getting bounced around early, but with 2 in a row ruled him out like I did with Tapwrit.
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That left me with Patch, a horse with a great Triple Crown pedigree, which we also covered in a Belmont article last week. His sire was Union Rags, a Belmont winner, and the mother was WindyIndy, who was born of Belmont winner AP Indy. You can’t get much better than that for the Belmont Stakes. And Patch has only disappointed in the Kentucky Derby like many others, getting bounced around early in the big field. Before that, he placed 2nd in the Louisiana Derby in his 3rd lifetime race. Lots of upside.
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Going back to the Belmont Grid, which we provided earlier in the week for free on the site, if you were paying attention, the Patch pick was almost unsubstantiated. He did have the 4th best PF overall, the 95 he earned in breaking his maiden before the Louisiana Derby, and that was only 4 points short of the top mark set by Meantime in the Peter Pan, which he lost.
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Patch’s power rating was also only 4 points off the top ranked Irish War Cry, joining a cluster of horses from 93-97 in power. But we were still going out on a limb for him as the top pick. A more logical pick according to the Grid would have been Gormley, 2nd in power and speed and early pace. J Boys Echo would also work as 3rd in stamina and 2nd in LP rating. Even Tapwrit would have been a more solid pick, 4th in stamina and just missing the top 5 in power.
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Remember, I was throwing out all the late pack runners because of the lack of speed in the race, which was covered in the Belmont pace article last week. This strategy and analysis did pay off, as even great closer Lookin at Lee (7th )and surprise Preakness placer Senior Investment (5th) failed to hit the top 4. The other plodders finished 10th and 11th out of 11.
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The other thing we did was throw out the horses that didn’t have the class. The two that weren’t in the 90 and up power group were throwouts, which included plodder Hollywood Handsome, who was a double throwout and finished last. After the toss outs we were left with a field of 6 to choose from, which was good enough for an easy dime super box that paid $224.
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The result didn’t really surprise me at all, and shouldn’t have surprised anyone really. However, Tapwrit was the first one out of the top position of my more aggressive exotic wagers, because of my aforementioned spite for his recent disappointments.
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I didn’t think Gormley would win because of his lack of ever beating any graded stakes winners, and nor did I think Meantime would go gate to wire. So that left me with J Boys Echo, Irish War Cry, and Patch as my key horses at the top of my super. I ended up with a dollar tri payout which wasn’t that great, and the dime super.
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Using the Grid, and my analysis beforehand to ensure that Patch was in your bets for example, and the tossouts based on pace and class, anyone could have won at least an exacta, trifecta, and dime super. They were as easy as possible. And a lesson learned, one that I occasionally have to relearn: don’t throw out a horse based on spite.

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