Some horse racing handicappers place a higher priority on workouts than others, but no one wants to wager on a horse that turns in a bad workout before the big race. In the final workouts before the Belmont Stakes most observers were impressed by Dullahan.
Horse race handicapping is a very complex discipline with many competing theories and that is definitely the case for major stakes races. Ever since the Belmont Stakes betting odds were posted mainstream fans and ‘railbirds’ have been debating various aspects of each horse’s record and pedigree. Of particular interest to some handicappers–and little interest to others–is the horses’ final workout before the Belmont.
The reason for the debate over the importance of workouts in handicapping should be rather obvious, even to an inexperienced horse racing enthusiast. Common sense dictates that with a big race on the horizon that no trainer wants his horse to ‘leave it on the training track’. In light of this, even the best horses ‘go easy’ in their final workouts before a big race. This being the case, it’s difficult to determine if a slow workout is indicative of a horse not performing at its best or if its just a matter of the training rider not pushing him.
There are a few things that you can get from workouts irrespective of how hard and fast a horse runs. You can observe what sports bettors refer to as ‘emotional/subjective factors’–how a horse looks physically, how confident or nervous he looks and how well he handles running with other horses.
As far as the Belmont Stakes is concerned, most trackside observers have been most impressed with Dullahan. Dullahan has turned in some quick times in his workout runs and generally looks very confident, healthy and happy. He also seems to be working well with his new jockey, Javier Castellano. Castellano took over the mount from Kent Desormeaux following a failed Breathalyzer test at Pimlico before the Preakness Stakes. There’s a lot to like about Dullahan aside from his impressive workouts, so it’s doubtful that this information alone will change anyone’s perception of what is already considered the top candidate for an upset victory at the Belmont Stakes.