Friday, June 10, 2011

My Belmont Pick - Made In America

Even if a horse has the breeding to go a mile and a half, it doesn’t mean they will want to do it with enthusiasm and in racehorse time. THAT takes HEART.  And that is why the Belmont Stakes is called the Test of Champions.

We should see a great race Saturday in the Belmont. The first seven finishers from the Kentucky Derby plus five new shooters will get into the gate to run once around the mile and a half oval nicknamed Big Sandy.

A lot has been made of the stamina in the bottom half of the pedigree of the Derby winner Animal Kingdom. German breeding has been inferior for years when compared to other European and North American bloodlines. Perhaps this is changing a bit, but they have a long way to go. They are predominately turf horses that run long distances, but they are, on average, a cut below the top Grade and Group 1 stakes horses, worldwide. A good horse can come from anywhere, but with a few exceptions, it’s been my experience that, German horses win German races.

Germany has the world’s finest Olympic quality dressage and jumping horses. The various Wamblood breeds; Hanoverian, Westphalean, Rhinelander, Trakhener, Holstiener, Oldenburger, all from, and named after, the different regions of Germany, have dominated the world stage for centuries, but their Thoroughbreds???? Not!

So proceed with caution when evaluating the bloodlines and stamina of the German horse. I am not saying that Animal Kingdom can’t gallop past the field and dominate the Belmont, but keep in mind, that our North American bloodlines, though more speed favoring than other countries, can still produce many a great horse that will “run all day”. ON THE DIRT.

Those who look at Preakness winner Shackleford’s pedigree as speed only, should look again. Not only is there stamina rich blood on his dam’s side through Unbridled, but his sire Forestry, though a sprinter, is out of a  Broodmare of the Year and Grade 1 winner, Shared Interest, who herself is by Pleasant Colony. This is true North American stamina breeding at its finest.

If Shackleford has the heart, he certainly has enough staying power embedded in his family tree, to get him to the finish line, in front, in the mile and a half test of champions. He has speed, which already gives him a tactical advantage, he is coming off a gutsy win and he is thriving at Belmont.

Good luck in your wagering this weekend and safe trips to all our equine friends.

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