Welcome to 2016 Belmont Stakes & Belmont Betting

The Belmont Stakes is the final race of the three that comprise the Triple Crown. It takes place every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. For the second year in a row history could be made at the 2015 Belmont Stakes. American Pharoah has already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and is one win away from becoming only the 12th Triple Crown winner in history. There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner in the sport of horse racing since Affirmed in 1978. California Chrome gave it a good run last year, winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before finishing fourth behind Tonalist in the Belmont.

The Belmont is a Grade 1 stakes race contested over a 1 ½ mile dirt track for three-year-olds. During the Triple Crown campaign, a horse must not only deal with the longest distance of their career but the grueling schedule. The Belmont takes place three weeks after the Preakness and five weeks after the Kentucky Derby. Since most high-level thoroughbreds usually race every three or four weeks, the scheduling of the Triple Crown races is as big of a challenge as the competitions themselves. The scheduling is so demanding that many horsemen have called for the racing schedule to be changed to provide horses with more time between races.

First held in 1866, the Belmont is the oldest of the Triple Crown races by nearly a decade. The race is the namesake of 19th-century financier August Belmont, Sr. and was originally run at the Jerome Park Racetrack in the Bronx. The Jerome Park track got its name from a Wall Street colleague of Belmont’s, Leonard Jerome.   August Belmont died in 1890 and Jerome in 1891 and following their passing the event was moved to the nearby Morris Park Race Course until the opening of Belmont Park. The race has been held annually since then with the exception of 1911 and 1912. Between 1963 and 1967 the race was held at nearby Aqueduct Racetrack due to a major renovation project at Belmont Park.

While the Kentucky Derby has the nickname ‘the run for the roses’, the Belmont winner traditionally receives a blanket of carnations. Despite the floral tradition of the Belmont the moniker “the run for the carnations” hasn’t exactly become part of the American lexicon. The race’s catch phrase may not have gained traction with the American public, but the Belmont does boast what many consider the greatest performance in the history of thoroughbred racing. In 1973, Secretariat clinched the Triple Crown in the Belmont with a downright dominant performance—“Big Red” set a course record of 2:24 in winning the race by an astounding 31 lengths. One of the most enduring images of Secretariat’s victory is the shot of jockey Ron Turcotte easing up his mount near the finish line as he looks back over his shoulder in amazement that the rest of the field is nearly out of sight.

The 2014 Belmont winner was Tonalist, trained by Christophe Clement with jockey Joel Rosario aboard. Tonalist was a 15/1 betting choice with California Chrome installed as a 3/5 post time favorite. Tonalist paid $20.40 to win, $9.60 to place and $7.00 to show. Commissioner finished second returning $23.20 and $13.20 while Medal Count took third paying $13.20.

The 2016 Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 11th. For those looking to attend the race live, gates open at 8:30 AM. In addition to the highly sought after reserved seating, Belmont Park admits thousands of fans via general admission on a first come, first served basis. Reserved seats should be purchased well in advance–in 2014, they sold out long before race day.

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Can Tepin Be Beat In Woodbine Mile?

Posted Under: News by Jim Murphy on 15th September 2016

Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile is a marquee turf event on top of a huge card of action. And despite plenty of champions and would be champions at the race track near Toronto all eyes are on 5 year old mare Tepin. Most concede that she’s the best turf horse in the world at the moment which makes her the ‘horse to beat’ in the Woodbine Mile. She’s been on an impressive roll over the past year plus but there’s one big question about Saturday’s race–her three month layoff since her last race.

Her connections–owner Robert Masterson and trainer Mark Casse–gave her a really challenge with her most recent start. Tepin shipped to England in June for the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal Ascot meet. She was off Lesix and didn’t like the soft ground at the Royal Ascot course but she still managed to win by a half length in a gutsy effort for her regular jockey, Julien Leparoux. Since then, she’s been back at Saratoga working for most of the summer under the supervision of assistant trainer Norm Casse. He’s guardedly optimistic: “She’s always run well fresh. In that way, I’m confident. Her works were the way that we like them to be. All indicators are she’s ready. I’m cautiously optimistic.”

Tepin has won 7 straight races and 10 of her last 12. Her current run started last October with a win in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland. She really got the attention of the racing world with a win over 11 male horses in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile. She was named the Eclipse Champion Female Turf Horse and she might be setting herself up for a repeat with her performance so far in 2016. She’s won a couple of stakes events at Tampa Bay Downs followed by the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley by five lengths at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile.

The 20th running of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile will be contested with a field of eight and is the ‘main event’ on a huge card of racing that also includes the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf, the Grade 2 Canadian, and the Grade 3 Ontario Derby. The Woodbine Mile and Canadian are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers. The Mile has produced four previous Breeders’ Cup Mile winners, including Wise Dan and Court Vision.

Meadowlands To Test Lower Takeout Rate

Posted Under: News by Jim Murphy on 12th September 2016

Horse players continually advocate for a lower takeout rate at North American horse tracks. Despite their advocacy the takeout rate has gone up more often than not. That’s going to change this Fall at the upcoming all-turf Thoroughbred meet at the Meadowlands at New Jersey run by Monmouth Park. Every bet on the meet will have a 15 percent takeout. That equals the lowest takeout in the country, offered by Suffolk Downs at their six day meet this year. Last year, takeout at the 14-day Meadowlands meet was 17 percent for straight bets (win,place,show), 19 percent for exactas and daily doubles; 25 percent for pick threes, trifectas, and superfectas; and 15 percent for pick fours and pick fives.

Dennis Drazen, advisor to the ownership group of Monmouth Park said that the move was an ‘experiment’ prompted by the constant request from horse players for a lower takeout rate: “Everybody keeps talking about reducing takeout to a fairer number. We began talking about this last year and we think it makes sense to do it now to see what we come up with.” The meet will be the fourth operated by Monmouth Park at the Meadowlands track. It begins September 28 and runs through October 19 and has, on balance, been considered a success due to the large fields in the races among other factors. Last year, average field size at the Meadowlands meet was 9.9 horses per race, well above the overall 2015 national average field size of 7.85 horses per race. It also has been successful at attracting the betting public with the handle growing by 15% or more every year.

Lower takeout is extremely popular with players and seen as a way to get more money in their hands which more often than not gets ‘re-bet’. The thinking is that the greater ‘churn’–or re-betting action–will make up for the lower percentage takeout rates in terms of track revenue. Due to the disjointed nature of horse racing, however, nothing is easy as it should be. Simulcasting operations make less money with a lower takeout rate and in the past have refused to carry signals from tracks that lower their percentages.