2012 Belmont Stakes Contenders: Optimizer

Horse: Optimizer
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Pedigree: By English Channel out of an A.P. Indy mare (Indy Pick)
Career Record: 11-1-2-1
Career Earnings: $215,594
Notable Races: G1-Preakness (6th); G1-Kentucky Derby (11th);G1-Arkansas Derby (9th); G2-Rebel (2nd); G2-Risen Star (9th); G2-Kentucky Jockey Club (4th); G1-Breeders' Cup Juvenile (8th); G1-Breeders' Futurity (3rd); G2-With Anticipation (2nd)

Can He win The Belmont?

There is a simple answer to the question, "Can Optimizer win the Belmont?" That answer is "no".

There are multiple issues with Optimizer heading into the Belmont Stakes. First, he's never won on a dirt surface in his career. He won his debut on the turf and then ran a solid race in the G1-Breeders' Futurity over the Polytrack at Keeneland, but to this point, Optimizer has failed to win on dirt.

Second, Optimizer's form in his last three races is simply awful. He finished 2nd to Secret Circle in the G2-Rebel Stakes back on March 17th, and has proceeded to follow that up by finishing 9th, 11th and 6th in his next three starts, losing by a combined total of 46 lengths. Forty. Six.

Third, Optimizer's trainer, Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, has been abysmal in graded stakes races over the last few years. Lukas won a pair of stakes on the Preakness undercard three weeks ago, but over his last 165 starters in graded stakes races, Lukas has only been able to win three times (2%) and sports a -$1.82 $2 Return On Investment. There is no way to sugarcoat those numbers.

Optimizer will likely find the Belmont Stakes to be an uphill struggle to snap his 10 race losing streak.

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