Categories: Horse Racing

2015 Belmont Stakes: Who Can Stop American Pharoah?

American Pharoah was the safe bet to win the first two legs of the 2015 Triple Crown. As the clear favorite to win the 2015 Belmont Stakes, there’s oddly a decent chance we could see the first sweep at the Triple Crown since 1978.

Considering it’s been nearly 40 years since a horse won all three races in horse racing’s biggest event, that’s really saying something.

Of course, by now we all know American Pharoah has the potential to be special. The horse itself separated itself from the pack in a tigt three-way jaunt at the Kentucky Derby and then dominated sloppy grounds at the Preakness Stakes. With one of the best jockeys leading the way, American Pharoah just might be the horse to end horse racing’s most hated drought.

The big question is, if it’s not American Pharoah, then who is it?

American Pharoah is the clear favorite heading into the Belmont Stakes (1-1 odds), but as we saw in the first leg of the Triple Crown, there are absolutely other contenders.

Frosted (5-1) has emerged as the top contender behind American Pharoah, while the sportsbooks are also giving Materiality (15-2), Mubtaahij (14-1) and Carpe Diem (16-1) the best remaining odds. No other horse has better than 22-1 odds (Madefromlucky) and two of the best horses that originally gave American Pharoah a run for his money (Dortmund and Firing Line) aren’t even in the race.

Horse racing betting is kind of funny for the Belmont Stakes, as you can go with the heavy favorite with even odds, or you can take your favorite dark horse (pun not intended) and see a better pay off.

Going with the favorite makes a lot of sense, but every horse favored heavily going into the Belmont Stakes since 1978 has failed. Winning all three races just isn’t an easy thing to do. While that’s an argument that has been beaten into oblivion, it’s almost even more difficult to pick the random horse that does come out of nowhere to steal the Triple Crown.

Tale of Verve (28-1) is one sneaky play to consider, as he finished just behind American Pharoah at the Preakness Stakes. Of course, Tale of Verve was at odds just to finish that well in the last race, which is why he’ll face long odds to come close to doing so again.

Circling back, the two best chances for an upset really do appear to be Frosted and and Materiality. Froster is expected by many to stay close throughout, while Materiality has the speed to be a problem. Madefromlucky is the supreme reach here, as some think he could be the Belmont Stakes’ Tale of Verve.

Logic and odds still tell us we could finally have a competent and deserving Triple Crown winner in 2015. Any horse racing fan should be hoping that’s the case. Unless you have a ton of money riding on Madefromlucky, of course.

All jokes aside, we’re giving American Pharoah the benefit of the doubt here. We rolled with AP through the first two races and were rewarded with correct picks and we’ll go for it in the Belmont Stakes, too. If we’re forced to take an upset we’d roll with Materiality due to the sheer speed factor, but in the end a new Triple Crown winner for the first time since 1978 is what we’re banking on seeing.

Kevin Roberts

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