The Belmont Stakes is ten days away. Is there a horse that can beat JUSTIFY? Or can he become racing’s 2nd Triple Crown winner in the last three years? AMERICAN PHAROAH won all three legs of the Triple Crown series in 2015. Prior to that it was AFFIRMED 37 years earlier in 1978. The 70’s gave us three TC winners, beginning with SECRETARIAT in 1973, SEATTLE SLEW in 1977 and AFFIRMED the following year. Could this be another decade of multiple TC winners? If JUSTIFY wins at Belmont Park on June 9th it will be trainer Bob Baffert’s 2nd TC, as he was also the trainer of AMERICAN PHAROAH. Here for your consideration are two more horses who could put a damper on the celebration.
TENFOLD. He finished third in The Preakness by 3/4 of a length. He rallied in the homestretch as he passed a tiring GOOD MAGIC to get into the second spot, only to be passed by a hard charging BRAVAZO in the shadow of the wire. After The Preakness effort, trainer Steve Asmussen was asked if TENFOLD was going to New York to challenge JUSTIFY again, he enthusiastically responded; “Heck yes, we’re going.” This horse showed early promise in winning his first two races, but he faltered in the Arkansas Derby, so Asmussen pointed him toward Pimlico. TENFOLD should get better the more he races, and gets more mature both mentally and physically. He has the right running style for Belmont, but can he step up again?
HOFBURG. The ‘wise-guy’ horse of the Kentucky Derby is back again to have another go at JUSTIFY. Trainer Bill Mott saw enough in this horse to enter him in the KD with only one win in three career starts. Starting out of the gate he had an awful trip in the KD and had to steady several times. He eventually got on track and ran well late in the race, finishing out-of-the-money in a distant 7th place. HOFBURG is the son of TAPIT, who has sired 3 out of the last 4 Belmont Stakes winners, including the last two, with CREATOR in 2016, and TAPWRIT last year. Bill Mott isn’t coming to NY for a haircut, he thinks this horse can win. If, as in The Preakness, JUSTIFY gets hooked up in a speed duel on the lead, don’t be surprises when HOFBURG comes at him with a late run.
DRB will provide more Belmont Stakes challengers in the coming days as well as a full preview on the Friday before the race. So come on back.