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Belmont Stakes contenders

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Posted: Friday June 09, 2000 09:44 AM


Sports Illustrated's Mark Beech ranks the top Belmont Stakes contenders as of June 8. Look for more horse racing analysis throughout the week.

Belmont Rankings
Rank Horse Odds Trainer
1 Aptitude 4-1 Bobby Frankel
The Skinny: Frankel has said all along that this is his Belmont horse. Of course, he also thinks Aptitude should have won the Derby. Still, the colt is fresh and has a world of talent; he's easily the fastest horse in this race. Aptitude also has the Belmont stamped all over his pedigree. He's the one to beat.
2 Impeachment 8-1 Todd Pletcher
The Skinny: One-run wonder specializes in passing tired horses, which he did to finish third in both the Derby and Preakness. Those finishes command respect, but he needs a hot pace to have a shot. And except for Hugh Hefner, this field isn't as fast as the last two. Could still lug up for part of the purse.
3 Wheelaway 10-1 John Kimmel
The Skinny : A very interesting contender. He made an impressive move in the stretch in the Derby, but veered in badly at the 1/8-pole, indicating he may have been tired. He's rested for the Belmont, however, and ready to go. Might make things interesting if Aptitude doesn't run to form.
4 Postponed 10-1 Scotty Schulhofer
The Skinny : Has been steadily improving since finishing a disappointing fifth in the Florida Derby March 11. He's also the only horse in the race who won his last start. It would have to be a big jump, but he could surprise everyone if he continues to move forward.
5 Unshaded 10-1 Carl Nafzger
The Skinny : Is he in or is he out? Nafzger's never really seemed sure. That's because in the Peter Pan, on May 27, his colt failed to improve off his victory in the Lexington despite a five-week layoff. Hasn't shown that he's in Aptitude's class, but a finish in the money wouldn't be a total surprise.
6 Curule 12-1 Saeed bin Suroor
The Skinny : Unknown Godolphin runner acquitted himself well by finishing seventh in the Derby, but made no bid for the lead in the stretch and never threatened the winner. If he improves off that effort, a finish in the money isn't out of the question. Don't look for him in the winner's circle.
7 Globalize 15-1 Jerry Hollendorfer
The Skinny : Missed the Derby after he was injured during a workout two days before the race. He ran well in the Peter Pan Stakes on May 27, and might be prepared to move forward, but he's got a ways to go before he beats the best in this field.
8 Appearing Now 20-1 Juan Ortiz
The Skinny Finished fifth in the Wood, nearly three lengths behind Aptitude. Has shown modest improvement this spring, and has never really run poorly in his career (three wins in six starts). Won't win, but if you want a blue-plate special long shot to complete your exotic wager, he might be the one.
9 Tahkodha Hills 25-1 Ralph Ziadie
The Skinny : Another colt who seems to be improving at the right time. In Flamingo Stakes, however, he finished nearly 11 lengths behind Trippi, who was 11th in the Derby. Before that, he lost in the Florida Derby by 10 to Hal's Hope -- who lost the Derby by 24 and the Preakness by 39. Pass.
10 Commendable 25-1 D. Wayne Lukas
The Skinny : His form was already on the downswing when he ran a career-worst race and finished 17th in the Derby. Other than the fact that he's rested and ran much better early in the year, I see no reason to recommend him here.
11 Hugh Hefner 30-1 Martin Jones
The Skinny : He's the speed in this race, and speed horses don't usually fare well in the Belmont. That said, he ran fairly well in the Preakness and deserves some respect here. I'd really like him if the race were half as long, but it's not, so he's got no shot.

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