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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Charitable Prop

Got this prop line from Bodog yesterday:

Will the 141st Belmont Stakes have a greater attendance than the 140th Belmont Stakes (94,476)?

Yes +250

No -400
Now c'mon, that's gotta be free money, right? The weather forecast is favorable and NYRA is doing all they can. But there's no way in the world they're getting that kind of crowd, right? I don't think they would even if Mine That Bird was going for the Triple Crown. Barring the most special of circumstances, the days of 100,000+ are over in my mind given the high prices and alcohol ban.

The post positions have been drawn, and nice job in my view by the morning oddsmaker Eric Donovan. His projections correctly reflect the way that the betting odds are compressed in Triple Crown races these days. You may scoff at the notion of Luv Gov returning a mere 20-1 as Donovan's longest shot in the race; but that's the way these contests are bet. (Yes, Da' Tara was 38-1, but remember that Big Brown was 3-10.)

Down on the other end of the scale, we have Mine That Bird (2-1), Charitable Man (3-1), and Dunkirk (4-1). In my most humble opinion, Mine That Bird is the only horse that I would even faintly contemplate betting on at those odds....which I don't think he'll quite be.

I am just not getting the fascination with Charitable Man in this particular race one bit. Yes, he has very nice one-turn form, ran very well (with a perfect setup) in the Peter Pan, and he has an extremely confident and capable trainer in Kiaran McLaughlin. But I just don't see how you can take odds like 3-1 in the Belmont Stakes on a horse who finished 7th in his only race around two turns. (And how many better 3-1 shots will there be on the card??) You can cite every excuse in the book for his Blue Grass effort - it was on Polytrack, off a layoff, he got caught wide....and they're all perfectly legitimate. But they only go to explain possible reasons why he failed, and not at all whether he's a legitimate router.

Is he? Quite possibly if not probably. But a mile and a half? This race is just a guess - we really have no idea if any of these horses can handle it, but to me, he might just be, on his form, the most iffy proposition to get the distance in the entire race except for Brave Victory. Honestly, I don't know if there's any price that would get me excited to bet him in this spot. No way he's going to be out there alone (and I wouldn't like him even if I thought he would be). Remember, Zito/La Penta have an uncoupled entry, and you can bet that Miner's Escape will be out there winging. I think Chocolate Candy could be close to the pace, and that the Derby winner is going to be involved up front far sooner than in his prior races.

Dunkirk is a bit more palatable - I'd probably be all over him at, say, er, maybe 8-1. I love the horse, but I absolutely hate the way he's been handled, rushed into the Triple Crown with minimal experience. Don't see why his troubled Derby and another five weeks off is going to propel him to stardom here.

I think that Mine That Bird is the most probable winner, but also a poor wagering proposition at the 3-2 or so that I think he'll go off. So I'm looking for a bombshell to throw a flyer (or two) on. But I'll have to get back to you as to who.

- This was my favorite proposition bet:
Who will the winning jockey thank first in the post race interview?

Parents 3/2

Trainer 7/2

Horse 4/1

God 4/1

Owner 6/1

Himself 20/1
DiscreetCat writes: "As far as thanking himself, only 20/1? This is Calvin Borel we're talking about, not Rickey Henderson."

I'd be all over God at 4-1 if Patrick Day was riding Mine That Bird.


Anonymous said...

Alan, there are plenty of reasons to not like Charitible Man, but citing his failure around two turns has to be one of the silliest comments you've ever made on this above-average blog. Dude, it was his first race in how many months? and his first race as a three-year-old and his connections threw him in the G1 Blue Grass! And it was on the Poly. If ever there was occasion to forgive a horse, this is it. Also, he ran fairly evenly all things considered. If you are tossing him because he can't get the distance I think you're making a mistake. Toss him because he's so obvious that the other jocks are going to race ride the crap out of him. That's a better reason, methinks. -JP From SD.

Alan Mann said...

>>If ever there was occasion to forgive a horse, this is it.

I forgive him. Let's throw it out entirely. So then, what evidence do you have, based on his form, that would inspire you to bet him at 3-1 in this particular race? Because he's by Lemon Drop Kid? Because his 5th dam is the dam of Exceller? I just don't get that. I look at horseplaying in the big why would I bet a question mark like that at those odds when there are so many horses at comparable prices that you can make a concrete case for on paper?

Hey dude, are you in SD as in San Diego? We're heading out to Del Mar the last week in July.

El Angelo said...

I'd take Miner's Escape as my longer-shot play, and agree, nobody's going to be over 25-1 in this race.

Alan Mann said...


ELMONT , N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced today that it has removed its televised signal of Belmont Park thoroughbred racing from the in-home distribution network of the Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation, effective Wednesday, June 3.

The action comes as a result of the discovery that for a period of more than two months (from approximately January 29 to April 15), Nassau OTB had provided live streaming of NYRA racing on its internet site, in violation of New York State Racing and Wagering Board (NYSRWB) rules and regulations which require prior approval from NYRA for internet video streaming.

Despite repeated requests, NYRA has to date received no satisfactory explanation from Nassau OTB as to why it deliberately pirated NYRA’s signal over the internet.

Coincidentally, in early spring NYRA discovered that the Capital Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation was also streaming NYRA races on its website without its permission and in violation of SRWB regulations. Capital OTB, however, apologized and provided NYRA with a reasonable explanation for its actions. As a result, NYRA waived its right to remove its television signal from the Capital OTB in-home distribution network.

“NYRA’s racing signal is valuable and proprietary and we cannot allow it to be pirated by our competitors in the industry,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “Nassau OTB’s failure to apologize for and acknowledge its actions has prevented us from understanding what led to the unauthorized video streaming and creating safeguards to prevent this occurrence in the future.”

Anonymous said...

Or toss Charitable Man because he is not fast enough, the simplest reason.

Agree that 3-1 is absurd on him, but I suspect despite the hype and the connections Dunkirk will be the strong second choice because he is fast enough to win the race according to the figure gurus.

My projected Final odds;

MTB 8-5
Dunkirk 5-2
Charitable Man 4-1
Chocolate Candy 6-1 (name)

I agree the remainder will all be between 10 and 25-1, a combination of connnections (Lukas and Zito) and enticing names will lower the odds, both of which I am happy to bet against

Anonymous said...

PS, the o/u for ACTUAL attendance should be 40,000, those props are absurd and I would bet the house.

steve in nc said...

I'm not saying I'm in love with the odds, on CM, but I don't understand why it seems like you wouldn't play him in the Belmont at any price.

If polytrack (or turf for that matter) isn't an excuse, then I guess Curlin was just kind of a washed up in and outer last year?

Presume for a minute that CM, like many other horses, is a different animal on poly than dirt so we should toss his poly race. Then he is horse that is not only undefeated on dirt, but is drawing away at the end of every race. His fastest race is his longest race, so why cast aspersions on his stamina? Like Harvey Pack, I wouldn't play him as the chalk, but I wouldn't play any chalk here since they're all trying a marathon for the first time.

CM's Beyer # is slower than MTB's only because he has always been wide, often very wide. I haven't seen the Rags yet, but I've heard his Peter Pan figure is as good as MTB's best. And CM's last race is only a little faster than his 2YO best. MTB, coming off two closely spaced races much much better than ever before seems much more likely to bounce than CM.

I also doubt Garcia will have CM out in front unless the pace is extremely slow. He will rate behind Lezcano. I wish I could lock in the 3-1 on CM. I fear he'll be more like 2-1 with MTB at around 8-5.

steve in nc said...

OK, now I have seen the Rags. Charitable Man got a slightly faster # is his last than MTB's best. Dunkirk is the only one with a (slightly) faster # than CM, but CM's strong 2YO #s lead me to believe he's got a better chance of repeating or exceeding the good #.

Anonymous said...

Looking for a bombshell, you say? Try Mr. Hot Stuff. He's up against it pace-wise (as is Mine That Bird), but he's an improving, talented colt who should relish the distance, and he's going to be completely overlooked on the toteboard. I'll definitely be using him in some manner.

Anonymous said...

Charitable Man not fast enough? Against who? The current Belmont Stakes field is one of the weakest fields that I have ever seen. Charitable loves the Belmont track!!! He doesn't need to be on the lead. Mine That Bird will go off at 4/5. Donekirk 5/2 and Charitable Man at 4/1. I will take 4/1 with this field any day of the week.

ballyfager said...

Just went over the Belmont PP's. Charitable Man is CLEARLY the best horse in the race. If this were an allowance race on a Thurs. afternoon, he would be the favorite. But the hype will dictate otherwise. He still might be as low as 5-2.

Oh, and Anonymous 4:26, I don't know where Dunkirk got his exalted reputation but his record says he is overrated (and the figures "gurus" be damned).

If you want to succeed at this game you must understand that their figures are merely opinion and not fact.

There, I've put my two cents in. We'll see what happens early Sat. evening.

Alan Mann said...

>>I'm not saying I'm in love with the odds, on CM, but I don't understand why it seems like you wouldn't play him in the Belmont at any price.

Because I don't like him! :-)

Alan Mann said...

I mean, I think I'm looking at this race a whole different way than some of you guys. I don't view it as a normal race; it's an anomaly, a race at a distance at which none of these horses have even come close to running. I don't see how or why the Beyers or Rag numbers that Charitable Man earned running one-turn sprints and "routes" have anything at all to do with projecting how he'll perform on Saturday. It's purely speculation, in my opinion, that he'll be able to stretch out to 12 furlongs, and, again solely my opinion, any odds that he might realistically be, whether that's 3-1, 4-1, or even 5 or 6-1, is not nearly enough to make him a worthwhile investment of my money, especially on a day on which one will likely find solid propositions, backed in black and white in the Racing Form for all to see, at the same prices.

Anonymous said...

Ballyfager, Anon 426 here.

I parsed my words carefully. My comments re Dunkirk regard his projected odds and not my opinion of his chances.

I believe he is totally over rated and am against him Saturday, even moreso than Charitable Man because I do not believe Dunkirk will get the 12f.

I am against CM because he has beaten no one. I don't care what the Rags or any other figures indicate. The Belmont is a contest of Stamina, not speed, and figures are irrelevant as past results certainly prove.

As for the subsequent Anon who claims this Belmont is the weakest you have ever seen, you need to delve a little deeper. I suggest you start with 2006, then hit the rewind button to 2000 and 1996 (see current S Crist blog for details). Those were poor races.

This race includes the best 3yo male in the country, until proven otherwise, which in itself makes it superior to plenty of other runnings.

ballyfager said...

@ Alan,

Your 10:15 comment could apply, more or less, to every horse in the race. And every horse in the Belmont every year. Further, it would very much apply to the trainers and jockeys too.

They can call it the breeder's race all they want but, the fact is, as American racing has evolved, the Belmont is irrelevent.

Self praise stinks, but I can't resist saying that I had DaTara and the exacta last year. I also had Sarava and the exacta in 02. The exacta in 02 was $2,500. I'm pretty sure Sarava never won another race.

Alan Mann said...

ballyfager - Self-praise away, my friend....and pray tell, who do you like this year? :-)

race said...

I have ridden the coat tails of Kiaran McLaughlin, as well as Larry Jones many times---Yes, CM beat Friesan Fire back in September of last year, and CM beat Imperial Council as well--both Horses a dissapoitment--- at least to me---maybe somebody will have to hit me over the head to wake me up, but that little Horse does have heart---so this maybe a race to help with the masses---like Forego, not a Horse to win money on, but a Horse to bring back some excitment for those who don't necessarily follow the races religiously, a Horse to bring them back to the track---we surely need it---race

ballyfager said...

Well, I like Charitable Man to win but it will take a lot more looking to flesh out the exotics.

I had Summer Bird in the Ark. Derby. Coming around the turn it looked like he was going to sweep by the whole field but he kind of flattened out in the stretch. He gets a better jock this time although Desormeaux is still taking abuse for last year's Belmont

By Sat. I'll have more of an idea. The year Sarava won I started out only with the conviction that War Emblem wouldn't win.

He won the Derby fairly easily but he was hard pressed to win the Preakness and I thought he'd regress in the Belmont. He had a bit of trouble at the start and they tried to use that as an excuse but my God, it's a mile and a half race.

Alan Mann said...

>>Well, I like Charitable Man to win...

Oh man, et tu? :-|

Stephen Alicknovic said...

Why even use the Bluegrass as a race to comment on? I drew a line across it, as anyone should.