There’s no chance of a Triple Crown winner at Saturday night’s Belmont Stakes, but what else is new?
The main thing is there’s value to be had on the odds board, and there’s added intrigue at Belmont Park in Elmont with both the Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, and the Preakness Stakes winner, Shackleford, in the field on the 1.5-mile track.
This is the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes, and it’s the first clash of Derby and Preakness winners since Afleet Alex and Giacomo met in 2005.
Oddsmakers at Bodog like Animal Kingdom as -175 chalk in a matchup with Shackleford (+145), even if the latter held off the current Belmont favorite to win the Preakness.
Fourth at the Derby, Shackleford was considered a longshot at the Preakness, but he charged out of the gate after battling with handlers prior to the race and held on for the win. Shackleford is priced at +500 to win the Belmont, while Animal Kingdom is +250 chalk ahead of Derby runner-up Nehro (+350).
(For updated lines and info on the Belmont, check out SB Nation’s lines partner Odds Shark).
Animal Kingdom is looking to become only the 12th horse to pull off the Derby-Belmont double. The last horse to turn the trick was Thunder Gulch back in 1995.
Recent history suggests Animal Kingdom could be in trouble. Only three of the last 11 Belmont faves heading into Saturday have come out on top (Afleet Alex, Empire Maker and Point Given), and the lengthy track could have something to do with that.
That said, Shackleford’s win defied all handicapping logic, and by all accounts, Animal Kingdom has looked the best of all the three-year olds in the field in training this week. A knock on Animal Kingdom is he has only one win on dirt, but that was at the Kentucky Derby, and besides, that’s an overblown theory in any case.
Great horses tend to succeed on any surface, and Animal Kingdom is no exception. Had the Preakness lasted only a few more seconds, we could be looking at a Triple Crown winner in Animal Kingdom.
Other horses worth a look this week include Master of Hounds (+700) and Mucho Macho Man (+800). Master of Hounds was sixth at the Derby, and Mucho Macho Man, who is set to run all three races in the Triple Crown, finished sixth in the Preakness despite losing a shoe during the race. The value could be with Nehro, however. Nehro could have won the Preakness given the pace and has the advantage of extra rest from sitting out at Pimlico.
For matchups and links to Belmont Stakes odds and more every day, visit Odds Shark.