My wish was granted that both Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners are in the 2011 Belmont Stakes. Shackleford won the Preakness and extended the Triple Crown drought. Animal Kingdom came on strong at the Preakness, but fell short by half of a length to Shackleford. The added distance at the Belmont Stakes could be what Animal Kingdom needs to win it here. The Belmont Stakes is the most grueling race in the Triple Crown series as it will take endurance and stamina to overcome the one mile and a half race.
It has been hot in New York (95 degrees) on Wednesday and Thursday, but assistant trainer for Animal Kingdom, John Panagot, said it has not bothered the horse.
There are 12 horses running in the Belmont Stakes this year and hopefully we don’t see too much bumping. Animal Kingdom will leave from post 9 and Shackleford will be on the far outside post 12. At this distance, post position is irrelevant.
I am going all in on Animal Kingdom as I was impressed at how strong he finished in the Preakness.
Belmont Stakes Picks
I am betting $50 on this race and here’s how I am laying my bets.
$10 W-P on (9) Animal Kingdom
$5 Exactas 9-12, 9-6, 9-1
$2 Straight Trifectas 9-12-1, 9-6-12, 9-1-6, 9-6-1 and 9-6-10
Long shot: $5 Win on (4) Santiva
Major League Baseball is my favorite sport and growing up in New York, it was the Yankees. My dad was a diehard fan and the torch was passed onto me. I consider myself a baseball historian and a fan of the sport with a knack for being objective. My favorite moment was at Yankee Stadium when Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield were competing for the American Leagues highest batting average. Donny baseball won by tenths of a point. Great day!
My other favorite sport is horse racing and mostly harness racing. I was first introduced to harness racing back in 1980 when my neighborhood friend invited me to Roosevelt Raceway. I had no idea what I was doing and my friend said “just bet on any horse Carmine Abbatiello is driving.” I made several win bets and I did hit a few winners. I was so excited and from that day on I was hooked. My greatest night was when I hit the straight triple in the 3rd and it paid $1,200 and my dad who wasn’t fond of me betting on the horses was elated when I gave him a few hundred from my winnings. My uncle Duke loves the ponies and I use to bump into him at OTB (Off Track Betting) when I couldn’t make it to the track.
I have watched and handicapped Harness and Thoroughbred racing for over 30 years and have been a spectator at many race tracks. My most memorable race was the 1983 US Pacing Championship at Roosevelt Raceway. I was born and raised in Astoria, Queens (New York) and was fortunate to see many great races at Yonkers, Belmont and at my home track, Roosevelt Raceway, which was closed down on July 15, 1988.