No Reason Not to Like Stradivari in 2016 Belmont Stakes

No Reason Not to Like Stradivari in 2016 Belmont Stakes

Category : News - Thu 02/06/2016 - 01:42 EDT

Wise guys who liked Stradivari in the Preakness have every right to maintain their enthusiasm for the Todd Pletcher-trained colt in the Belmont Stakes where the intriguing runner will likely make his next start.

Sent to post at odds of 8/1 in the Preakness, Stradivari was the only logical contender in the field to pose a legitimate threat to the top two of Nyquist and Exaggerator. The apparent recipient of a large win bet several hours before the big race at Pimlico, Stradivari was listed at one point as the pre-race even-money favorite on Preakness day, generating more than a little buzz around the country from the tote board-watching faithful. While it may be foolish to extrapolate much about a single wager, Stradivari’s Preakness run was sneaky good considering the circumstances and a sloppy track he may not have cared for.

Factors stacked against colt in Preakness

Giving away a ton of experience to his main rivals in the Preakness, Stradivari was not helped by drawing a wide post (11) in a race that also featured a suicidal early pace between Nyquist and Uncle Lino. The lightly-raced colt was probably taken out of his best game while being forced to rate while staying very wide through the first 300 or so yards of the race. Stradivari’s game is early speed – a commodity that figures to be very scarce from his Belmont Stakes rivals, and one that enabled the strapping colt to romp so effortlessly in a late-April allowance race at Keeneland while earning a 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

Belmont conditions likely much more suitable 

A closer look at Stradivari’s Preakness effort also reveals that he was only truly outrun by Nyquist and Exaggerator despite finishing fourth. Around the final turn, Stradivari made an adequate move, but was outgunned by the slop-loving Exaggerator. Still, he was able to keep churning late and looked like a lock for the show spot before being outfinished by another sloppy track Specialist in Cherry Wine who managed to nick Nyquist for the second spot. Bottom line handicapping suggests that Stradivari is the kind of long-striding colt who will show up with a big race in the mile and one half Belmont over a dry track. His natural speed will be a huge asset and this colt is plenty fit to pull the mild upset in the Test of Champions.   

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