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horse racing

How to Bet the Belmont, If You Bother

If you've never been to a big horse race, Saturday's Belmont Stakes is perfect for the track novice. There's no chance for a Triple Crown winner, so barely anyone will be there. (In a similar situation last year, 52,861 spectators attended the Belmont. About twice as many people show up for a potential Triple Crown winner.) Even some of the horses are staying home, like Derby winner Super Saver and Preakness champion Lookin at Lucky. It's hard to be enthusiastic about this field, with only a dozen horses. Actually, we've struggled with this entire irksome season, considering the only (barely) interesting thing that happened was Calvin Borell's umpteenth Derby win. (We're just mad that our Preakness pick, Dublin, veered off to the outside out of the gate and recovered only well enough to place fifth.) So who's worth considering on Saturday?

Two-time Belmont winner Nick Zito trained the favorite, Ice Box, (our pick for the Derby) who won second place in Kentucky and has been resting comfortably since. Nine of the other horses are offering odds of 10–1 or higher, so you could make a good bit of money if you bet the right combination. Regrettably, that trifecta — first, second, and third place picks, in or out of order — should also include First Dude (second at the Preakness, 7–2) and the Bob Baffert (Preakness-winning trainer) entry, Game on Dude (10–1). This reasonable bet is also a tepid endorsement of the silly Dude naming convention, not to mention the Todd Palin association. We're sorry, but there's just no way around it.

Related: Bookies Gone Broke [NYM]

Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images