After victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, California Chrome will get a chance at winning the Triple Crown during Saturday’s 146th Belmont Stakes.
California Chrome draws No. 2 post for Belmont. He’s a 3-5 favorite to become 1st Triple Crown winner since 1978. pic.twitter.com/KcV9bYi3sI
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 4, 2014
Only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown; Sir Barton was the first in 1919 and Affirmed the last in 1978. None were born in California, which should not be surprising in light of an ever-growing emphasis on speed rather than stamina. In fact, there have been just two California-bred Belmont winners in thoroughbred racing history – Comanche in 1893 and Africander in 1903.
Also working against California Chrome is the draw of the No. 2 spot, which hasn’t produced a winner in some time.
The last Belmont Stakes winner to come from Post 2 was Tabasco Cat in 1994, 3 days before the last Stanley Cup won by the @NYRangers
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 4, 2014
So what’s the best wagering strategy? Bet the field. Five of the last six Belmont winners have double-digit returns and the last favorite to win the 1.5-mile race was Afleet Alex in 2005.
Based on the morning-line odds, by wagering on the field using the Kelly Criterion model for an event with mutually exclusive outcomes, you could skew the risk/reward matrix in your favor by eliminating California Chrome from contention altogether.
|Post||Horse||ML Odds||Return on $2 bet|
|1||Medal Count||20||$ 40|
|4||Commanding Curve||15||$ 30|
|5||Ride On Curlin||12||$ 24|
|9||Wicked Strong||6||$ 12|
|10||General a Rod||20||$ 40|
The downside, of course, is if California Chrome makes history, but all wagering comes with risk. It’s just a matter of maximizing your odds.