Taking Your Professional Skills to the Racetrack
The Belmont is one of the very few mile-and-a-half races in America and few horses are trained to go that punishing distance. In the case of the 2007 Belmont Stakes, none of the seven horses had ever run that distance, so a serious handicapper would most likely take a pass on the race.
It is simply impossible to know what kind of “kick”—the right stuff at the end—a horse would have at that distance. A bet on the 2007 Belmont would have been a crapshoot.
(If you click on the illustrations below, you can see the past performances—the data that handicappers had to work with—and chart of the results.)
That said, to see Rags to Riches in the paddock and in the post-parade was enough to make your heart leap into your throat. If she were human, she would be Catherine Zeta-Jones. She looked fit, sleek, tough and poised with her ears pricked up. She was ready for action. Being a filly, she carried five pounds less weight than the male contenders. Her last race was a win in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs way back on May 4, so she was fresher than others. In her four races in 2007, she was never beaten.
Being an ardent feminist who believes women can do most anything a man can do, and if I were at the track, I might have said “What the hell” and gone with my heart rather than my head and put twenty bucks on Rags to Riches to win. (I only place win bets—never place or show.)
A bet on Rags to Riches was a “What the hell” bet, and the lady made a minority of horse players at the track—and around the country—mighty happy.