This Saturday will be one of the biggest days horse racing has seen in more than five years. The last time there was a legitimate shot at the Triple Crown was by Big Brown in 2008. Unfortunately, Big Brown become the first Triple Crown hopeful to fail to finish the Belmont Stakes, as jockey Kent Desormeaux pulled the horse up in the homestretch. The thrill of horse racing never gets so big as it does when there is a legitimate horse, with a legitimate shot at winning the Triple Crown. When the favorite is in the lead and turns for that long homestretch, the thrill is every bit as big as a last second 3-pointer in basketball or wrist shot in a hockey shootout. That is if you are rooting for the favorite.
Millions will be betting on the Triple Crown and California Chrome on Saturday at 6:52 at Belmont Park on Long Island, NY. But tens of thousands will be betting against him too.
One horse racing enthusiast, who is attending this year’s Belmont Stakes, flat out said he is betting against California Chrome. “You know odds-on favorites aren’t my thing,” he said. Despite going to the race to see a Triple Crown won, he is doing what any gambler would, looking for value, and perhaps a big payday.
Craig Donnelly, the resident horse writer/handicapper for the Philadelphia Inquirer put his tickets out on Friday placing his win bet on Wicked Strong. The Sporting News has a good piece called “Taking shots against California Chrome” where four different handicappers pick their horses to bet, still skeptical and not about to lay 3-5 odds or worse. Their video points out that jockey Victor Espinoza is just 2 for 66 at Belmont Park.
Is it possible to bet against California Chrome while rooting for a Triple Crown?
I wouldn’t know as I cannot. Yes, I would like to make some ching this Saturday, but I would rather see the Triple Crown finally conquered. I cannot jump for joy when California Chrome crosses the finish line first, knowing that I lost a bunch of money trying to beat him. But . . . if the horse loses, I want to make sure I cash a ticket as well.
So I will be betting California Chrome to win across the board and head to the OTB to get a $2 win ticket as a souvenir. But, I will also be playing an exacta with him finishing second and a win bet on one of the longer priced horses, like Commanding Curve or Medal count, a horse that is 12-1 of longer. I will also be playing the Pick 4, which is scheduled to get underway at 4 p.m. with race 8, the $750,000 Longines Just a Game, continue with the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap, $1 million Knob Creek Manhattan and conclude with the Belmont Stakes. In fact there are three pick 4s on Saturday and Pick 5 starting with the first race. We checked and all of the big online sportsbooks are offering the Pick 5.
Whether you end up betting or just watching, rooting for a Triple Crown or rooting against the heavy favorite, enjoy the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes. What will you do if California Chrome wins the Triple Crown?