How Gettysburg will affect the Belmont Stakes pace

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Ed DeRosa

June 11th, 2016

Much was made of the lack of pace expected for the Belmont Stakes in the weeks leading up to the race, but that changed in the days leading up to the race when WinStar Farm transferred Gettysburg to trainer Steve Asmussen, who entered the colt to ensure pace in the 1 1/2-mile race.

But what is the plan for Gettysburg? Is it go as fast as he can as far as he can or is it press other forwardly paced types into running faster than they're capable of doing? The former not only gives Gettysburg his best chance of winning but also makes it more likely that other riders will make a mistake. 

The chart on the left is from the Ultimate Past Performances and shows the best pace ratings for each of the Belmont Stakes entrants. Gettysburg's top E1 rating towers over this bunch, suggesting that he will be alone on the lead. What's interesting is that Exaggerator, despite still being viewed as a closer, won't be that far behind other pressing types like Destin, Stradivari, and Governor Malibu.

If Kent Desormeaux moves too soon aboard Exaggerator then that definitely benefits Asmussen's other starter, Arkansas Derby winner Creator, as well as other closers such as Arkansas Derby runner-up Suddenbreakingnews, and U.A.E. Derby winner Lani.

I.e. Exaggerator's best chance is with a Summer Bird-style ride from Desormeaux versus a Real Quiet-type ride.

Gettysburg is the only horse in the field with lifetime triple-digit ratings at each stage of the race, so a gate-to-wire effort is not out of the question. Not saying it will happen, but there are worse bets on the board than the lone speed at 30-to-1. Otherwise, only Exaggerator, Governor Malibu, and Stradivari have triple digit ratings in both the E2 AND LP columns. Given Exaggerator's class, I have no problem preferring him despite the supressed price.

Of the closers, I do like Lani best considering the 20-to-1 number, 1 1/2-mile distance, and his fitness. Rain would be another bonus with him.

For my Belmont Stakes wagering strategy, CLICK HERE.