There are strong trends against American Pharoah garnering greatness on June 6. The betting trends are so greatly against a Triple Crown winner that most horse racing analysts don’t like the Bob Baffert trainee’s chances of becoming the thirteenth Triple Crown winner even though his odds are listed at 4 to 5 to win the Belmont Stakes. Click here to learn how to bet on the 2015 Belmont Stakes.
But, there are also some reasons why American Pharoah is destined to take home the Triple Crown. Those reasons are based in logical, handicapping, horse racing betting trends. First, let’s take a look at the betting trends against a Test of Champions American Pharoah win and then let’s look at the betting trends that give him a great chance to take home the Crown on June 6.
2015 Belmont Stakes
Date: June. 6, 2015
Start Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
Location: Belmont Park, Elmont, New York
TV Info: NBC
Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Distance: 1 1⁄2 miles (12 furlongs)
Purse: US $1.5 million – 1st: $800,000
Early 2015 Belmont Stakes Betting Odds
- American Pharoah 2/3
- Carpe Diem 6/1
- Frosted 6/1
- Materiality 8/1
- Conquest Curlinate 10/1
- Keen ice 10/1
- Madefromlucky 10/1
- Mubtaahij 15/1
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Triple Crown Betting Trends Against an American Pharoah Victory At The 2015 Belmont Stakes
1. Horses are built to run at the shorter Triple Crown race distances
Horse are built nowadays to traverse the 1 ¼ miles of the Kentucky Derby (at the most!) not the 1 ½ miles of the Belmont Stakes. The Preakness Stakes is actually run at a shorter distance than the Derby, 1 3/16 miles. In other words, dirt horses are bred to win sprint races. They happen to be able to win at the classic distance of the Kentucky Derby. They are almost never bred to win at 1 ½ miles like grass horses, the equines that win races like the Prix d’larc Triomphe in France every summer.
2. Horses aren’t built to run 3 races in a 5 week period
Since dirt horses nowadays are bred for speed, they aren’t bred to run 3 races, no matter the distances of each race, within a 5 week period. The winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes runs the Belmont Stakes after a 3 week rest from the Preakness to the Belmont. That’s a problem because most horses simply need more time to rest. Add in the fact that the Belmont is the longest race of the 3 and it’s obvious why no horse has won the Triple Crown in 35 years.
3. Data says that winning the Triple Crown is next to impossible to do
8 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to finish second in the Belmont Stakes. 5 horses have gone into the Belmont with a Kentucky Derby and Preakness victory and finished third in the Belmont Stakes. One horse finished seventh in the Test of Champions after a Derby and Preakness win. One horse finished eighth, one horse didn’t finish, and 3 horses didn’t even start in the Belmont after winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
— Churchill Downs (@ChurchillDowns) May 21, 2015
The hard numbers say that it’s virtually impossible to win the Belmont Stakes after winning the Preakness. Just looking at the numbers requires a horse racing handicapper to consider overlay odds before betting on the Derby and Preakness winner, which brings us to the final and most important trend against an American Pharoah victory on June 6.
4. Favorites don’t always win any horse race, much less the Belmont Stakes
Favorites win on average 30% of the time. This is true for all types of horse races: claiming, allowance, stakes and even graded stakes events. Sure, trainers point their horses to races and some horses can win a number of races in a row, but American Pharoah has to run in the Belmont Stakes in order to win the Triple Crown. He was never pointed to the Belmont Stakes. He was pointed to the Kentucky Derby.
Why bet on a low-priced favorite to win the Belmont Stakes, likely to be the hardest race of the horse’s career, when on average horses don’t win as favorites 70% of the time? The betting gods say that you shouldn’t. Betting on underlays, and the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner is always an underlay in the Belmont (even Funny Cide went off as the favorite in the Belmont over Empire Maker, who was actually bred to run 1 ½ miles), is always a bad bet.
Triple Crown Betting Trends That Favor An American Pharoah Victory At The 2015 Belmont Stakes
1. The underlay rules depend on individual handicapping
American Pharoah may be an underlay at 4 to 5 to you, but he may not be an underlay at 4/5 to someone else. Here’s why. If handicapping principles, most of which are laid out below, say that American Pharoah should be going off at 3 to 5 to beat his competition, he’s an overlay at 4 to 5. After all, American Pharoah isn’t running against the average winning time of the Belmont Stakes. He isn’t running against “history”. When the gates open, he’s running against the other horses in the race.
2. Fresh horses win the Belmont Stakes, but it has to be the “right” fresh horse
The horses with the best chances of winning the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes in the past have had freaky things happen to them. In 1979, Spectacular Bid stepped on a needle the morning of the race. He was off just enough for the upset to happen. Stewart Elliot aboard Smarty Jones in 2004 made a premature move. Bridstone caught him. Big Brown got a shoe loose and didn’t feel comfortable at all on the racetrack. I’ll Have Another probably would have won the Belmont Stakes if he hadn’t scratched the day before the race.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 18, 2015
When it wasn’t something freaky, it takes the “right” fresh horse to win the Belmont Stakes and upset the Derby and Preakness winner. Funny Cide lost to Empire Maker in 2003. Empire Maker was easily the right fresh horse having beaten Funny Cide in the Wood Memorial. Empire Maker finished second in the Kentucky Derby that year because he bruised his foot before the race. Tonalist beat California Chrome last year in the Belmont Stakes. Tonalist was the “right” fresh horse having won the Peter Pan Stakes and being bred to win up to 1 ½ miles. Is there anybody in this field that is the “right” fresh horse to take down American Pharoah?
3. The Belmont is still a horse race
What this means is that if you believe that 3 weeks will provide enough rest for American Pharoah to show his best before a 1 ½ mile race, you have to handicap the Belmont based on his competition’s ability to beat him. So, who is going to get the lead and will that horse do enough to compromise American Pharoah’s chances of holding off the closers? Are those closers built to run 1 ½ miles? The bottom line is that American Pharoah is the best horse in the race. The betting trend says that favorites only win 30% of the time, but there are favorites and then there are favorites. Some favorites, like Zenyatta in every one of her races, even in her Breeders’ Cup loss to Blame in 2010, was overlay because she was that much better than her competition.
Handicappers have to think about that single, most important, betting trend. Favorites lose 70% of the time because in many cases, they are a false favorite, a favorite that shouldn’t be going off as the favorite. Sound handicapping starts there. Then, think about whether or not the odds justify American Pharoah as an overlay or underlay.
That is the way to find out if American Pharoah is a good bet to win the Triple Crown on June 6.