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Belmont Stakes Morning Line Preview and Betting Tips

With the post positions drawn, the morning line for the 2010 Belmont Stakes has been revealed.

Nick Zito’s Ice Box (Pulpit) looks to be the favourite at a 3/1 margin, but the Belmont normally doesn’t favour a late closer like him. However, his trainer does have first-rate experience over this course and distance so it looks like either Ice Box or Fly Down (Mineshaft) have history in their favour.

First Dude (Stephen Got Even) is the second favourite with a 7/2 price tag after a first-rate showing in the Preakness; running second to Lookin At Lucky. He was beaten by Ice Box in the Florida Derby back in March and remains winless so far.

He’s a good option for the bottom end of your exotic tickets, but it might be foolish to back him to win at that price. He is expected to be the early pace setter in a race without a huge amount of early speed so it will be interesting to see how that plays out for him.

Fly Down boasts some quality results with a first place finish over the talented Drosselmeyer (Distorted Humour) in the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont a few weeks back. The punters have confidence in him as he’s listed at an interesting 9/2 price. The track reference is a good one and this race isn’t a dramatic step up from the competition he faced previously; He’s a real contender.

The odds then jump to 10/1 for Make Music For Me (Bernstein) who finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, but he looks to be a bit more of a turf horse or synthetic runner as opposed to one who could navigate Big Sandy expertly.

Still, his connections have shown confidence and he has put in some great shifts over his career- finishing second to Lookin At Lucky twice and putting in that great run at Churchill when sent off at 30/1. Alexis Barba would be the first female trainer to win a Belmont if Make Music For Me was able to pull this one off.

Also at 10/1 is the talented Game On Dude (Awesome Again) winner of the Lone Star Derby. The Bob Baffert-trained colt has progressed with each race but is slightly underpriced.

Uptowncharlybrown (Limehouse) is an interesting sort that seems to have garnered a few fans over his brief career. His track record isn’t that outstanding, but many think he’s poised for a monster run at Belmont. He has the gas in the tank to handle the distance and could be a tactical speed threat. He’s also at 10/1.

Drosselmeyer is trading at a 12/1 price and he looks very competitive. His past three races have seen him finish 4-3-2 so he is poised to win the Belmont if he continues to improve. Having Kent Desmormeaux aboard is a great sign and He put in a second place finish to Fly Down over the Belmont surface in the Dwyer. He’s a nice outside shot and I’ll have him on my exotic tickets for sure.

Todd Pletcher’s Interactif (Broken Vow) is the latest entry to the Belmont and he’s a bit more heavily-raced than some of the others in this contest. He’s been all over- racing at Monmouth, Saratoga, Keeneland, Fulstream and Santa Anita, and he’s shown acumen over every surface.

Trading at 12/1, Pletcher referred to Interactif’s late entry as “calling an audible”. Watch for a sharp price-drop on him the day of the race.

Stately Victor (Ghostzapper) finished 8th in the Kentucky Derby and his traditional late-closing style did not get the job done as well as Ice Box did. If the race sets up nicely for him here he could attempt another late charge but I think Ice Box is the better closer. He’s 15/1 but I expect his price to rise as the Belmont Stakes generally doesn’t favour horses with his running style. Still, tell that to whoever made Ice Box the morning-line favourite.

John Sadler’s charge Dave In Dixie (Dixie Union) hasn’t scored since a maiden special weight at Del Mar last summer. He’s shown some inconsistency and isn’t proven over dirt. A disappointing fifth in the Illinois Derby doesn’t inspire much confidence. He has been laid off since April and will be as fresh as they come. Don’t expect much at 20/1.

Stay Put (Broken Vow) could see some action but remains a serious outside bet at 20/1. He did take an allowance/optional claimer on Derby day over the Chirchill surface. He also has fifth place finished in Grade 2 competition having run in the Risen Star and the Louisiana Derby. He needs a big step up and some luck in his direction; he’s too short at 20/1 against this field.

Spangled Star (Distorted Humour) is a very low-key chestnut who has a show in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct to his credit, but that’s about it. Richard Dutrow puts him out against a much-tougher field than he’s ever faced so he would do well to finish in the top 4. He’s at 30/1; expect him to drift a bit higher.

In all honesty, this race is absolutely wide open. Ice Box really did deserve to win the Kentucky Derby, and will likely give this one all he’s got. If he could have run the Derby against a field of 12 then he most definitely would have had that one. He’s talented and will be a well-respected runner in his later years. Look for him to do some serious damage at the Breeder’s cup.

Post Positions and Odds:

  1. Dave in Dixie – 20/1
  2. Spangled Star – 30/1
  3. Uptowncharlybrown – 10/1
  4. Make Music For Me – 10/1
  5. Fly Down – 9/2
  6. Ice Box – 3/1
  7. Drosselmeyer – 12/1
  8. Game On Dude – 10/1
  9. Stately Victor – 15/1
  10. Stay Put – 20/1
  11. First Dude – 7/2
  12. Interactif – 12/1

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