Thoroughbred Handicapping:
Learning, earning and loving the track.

NetCapper Store
New Stuff

The Grandstand
Capper Demo
Spot Play Demo
New Features
Track Tracts
TTs Archive
Contact Info
More Books
Capper Email























Track Tracts

Keeping Up With the Joneses
by Gordon Pine

Just how good is Smarty Jones? Will the contender for the triple crown show up tomorrow, or will it be just another pretender? Unless a completely different horse is on Belmont's track tomorrow, Smarty seems like the strongest contender to win it all since Spectacular Bid in 1979. But remember: it didn't work out for the Bid and it's possible it may not for Smarty Jones ' it's a long way around that Elmont, New York oval. The Belmont should really be called the 'Dream Trasher' Stakes.

Again, I use my mechanical contender-selection method to narrow the field down to five or so horses. I take the highest two of each horse's last three speed figures and average them. That gives me a contender figure for each horse. (If there are only two races available in the pps, I average them. If there is only one race available, I use that as the number.) I then take the top five horses as my contenders. If anybody is tied for fifth, I include them. I'm using Cramer speed figures rather than Beyer speed figures this year. I have six contenders for the Belmont this year because Caiman and Eddington are both tied for fifth:

  • Master David: 91.5 contender rating
  • Purge: 104.5 contender rating
  • Caiman: 89.5 contender rating
  • Rock Hard Ten: 95 contender rating
  • Eddington: 89.5 contender rating
  • Smarty Jones: 108 contender rating

Looking at the contender ratings, there's only one horse who even appears to be remotely in Smarty Jones' ballpark, and that's the probable second-favorite, Purge. It looks like Smarty took Purge's measure in the Arkansas Derby and disposed of him handily. But you can make an excuse for Purge in that he might not have liked the muddy track. Also, you have to be careful with the form of quality three-year-olds. Their ability is still developing, and they can show dramatic, never-before-seen improvement. Still, Smarty has to be the strong choice. The only other horse I would include in the betting line would be Rock Hard Ten ' he's earned the right to be taken seriously. He's lightly raced, and as such falls into the category of an 'unknown ceiling' horse. We don't yet know just how good he is (except that we know he wasn't as good as Smarty Jones in the Preakness).

So, here's my seat-of-the-pants betting line for the Belmont:

Horse Probability Fair Odds Bet Odds ML Odds
Smarty Jones 60% 4/5 6/5 2/5
Purge 18% 9/2 7/1 5/1
Rock Hard Ten 12% 7/1 11/1 8/1

No surprises here ' I like the top three favorites in the same order as the morning line. I give Smarty Jones a 60% chance to win, which is about as high a probability as I ever give in a betting line. The way I see this triple crown, we made our money when there was money to be made ' in the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness was, from my perspective, a race where the underlays won (as most races are). The Belmont will probably be the same ' good for nothing from a bettor's perspective, but great from a fan's perspective. I'll watch and hope for Smarty Jones to win to break the curse and make my $2 souvenir tickets on him worth something someday.

If Purge or Rock Hard Ten are overlayed, I'll bet them to win and an exacta top-and-bottom wheel against the other two. That's unlikely, though. One good bet may be one that a friend suggested ' a play we've used before ' is to bet to show the most likely horse to run in-the-money besides Smarty Jones. I'd probably choose Rock Hard Ten for this role, although Purge would be a good candidate too. The expectation is that this horse will at least run third, probably behind Smarty Jones, and I'll get $2.10 to show. But, if something unexpected happens to Smarty Jones, you could get boxcar payoffs to show on this other horse because the bridge-jumper money will be on Smarty Jones to show. It might be the only value play we'll get tomorrow.

Here's a reprint of our Belmont Booze feature of several years past.  Here's mud in your eye!:

Not to be outdone by Churchill and their mint juleps, Belmont Park has announced that the Belmont Breeze is the official toast of champions for the 2001 Belmont Stakes. (I don't know if that means it will also be the official toast of champions for the 2002 Belmont Stakes ' the trouble with traditions is they take so dang long to become traditional.)

Anyway, this delightful concoction was created by Dale DeGroff, head bartender at Manhattan's Rainbow Room/Windows on the World. Says Mr. DeGroff, "One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak. I wanted to use a spirit that has significance in New York, so I chose rye whiskey. New York has always been a big rye town, and it was one of the first spirits to be distilled in quantity in America, by none other than George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. I wanted a drink that would appeal to a wide audience, which can be difficult with rye. So, I introduced another flavor to cut the strength and bite of the rye. I chose Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry and finished with a combination that is the base of the most popular drinks in the last 10 years, cranberry and citrus."

Here's the recipe:

' 1 1/2 ounces Seagram's 7 (or good, blended American whiskey)
' 3/4 ounces Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry
' 1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice
' 1 ounce Simple Syrup (or substitute 1 ounce sweet and sour mix for the lemon juice and simple syrup).
' 1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice
' 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
' 7-Up
' Club Soda

Shake the first six ingredients with ice, then top with half 7-Up and half club soda. Garnish with fresh strawberry, mint sprig and lemon wedge, and drink after you make your bets, not before.

In my ongoing quest to promote alcoholism and deepen the stereotype of horseplayers as half-drunk losers, I plan to inaugurate special mixed drinks for all kinds of races. The third race at Hollywood, a maiden-claiming $32,000: the Harvey Wallbanger. The fourth race, a two-year old $50,000 claimer, the Goose Joose. You get the idea.  NC

Copyright '2004 NetCapper Inc.  All rights reserved.

Track Tracts Archive

Back to Top