The Belmont Stakes is a punishing race for any potential Triple Crown winner. The 1-and-a-half mile run is a distance that most horses have never even run, nor will they be asked to run this distance ever again in their racing career. Big Brown will make his third start in 5 weeks, up against horses that have had it a bit easier with few weeks off. Big Brown wasn’t afforded the luxury of taking a break for the Preakness or Kentucky Derby. Or miss both jewels of the Triple Crown and come in fresh while the Triple Crown candidate must gut it out. You can understand why no other horse in 30 years has achieved a Triple Crown.
Last year, filly Rags to Ritches was just one head better than the 2007 horse of the year Curlin at the Belmont finish line. Rags to Ritches benefited from a 5-week rest between the Kentucky Oaks, a race for 3-year-old fillies, and the Belmont Stakes. With her fresh legs, she was able to out-kick Curlin at the wire. Now when you look at the Racing Form, you will most likely see many Kentucky Derby runners back in action to face Big Brown once again. The last 9 years have produced 4 double-digit longshot winners, and there have been only 13 double-digit longshots since 1933. Some trainers and owners finally figured out the formula. If you don’t win the Derby, come-in fresh for the Belmont and aim your horse for the Breeders Cup Classic late in the year. If Big Brown proves to be fast enough on Saturday, he will have passed horseracing’s biggest endurance test. But if you want to beat Big Brown for the Belmont, recent history says look for a fresh horse at a longshot price.
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