Understanding a Jockeys’ Mindset
The pace of the race in the Preakness Stakes got the team at BetUS thinking. With our Belmont Stakes picks around the corner, could the projected pace of the race affect the horses we select?
The 2023 Preakness Stakes was all but handed to National Treasure and there was no initiative from rival jockeys to inject some speed into the race.
Online gambling markets had Mage tipped to win, but the Kentucky Derby favorite never had a chance, and it all comes down to the pace up front.
We Feel Bad for Mage
We are not in the business of bagging jockeys, but we’re not sure what Javier Castellano was thinking in the Preakness Stakes.
There’s no doubting that he had sport betting favorite Mage in a good position strategically, but given how slow the race was run, he had to know it would become a sit-and-sprint affair down the stretch.
When riding a hot favorite, who potentially has the Triple Crown on the horizon, you have to take bad luck out of the equation. He should believe he’s on the best Thoroughbred, so putting Mage into the race earlier would have been the right move.
A case can be made that if Castellano goes early, Mage might not have anything in the tank for the final furlong. However, it’s better than never giving the horse a chance.
He would have needed to be Secretariat to run down National Treasure, who wouldn’t have blown out a candle after the race.
“We will get him turned out and do some training,” trainer Ramiro Restrepo said. “Everything is great. The colt is fantastic, bright-eyed, and his head is up. We could not be any happier with him after trying as hard as did in the Preakness. The kid is an iron horse.”
Too Tough to make up ground into a 1:13 pace; a G1 Preakness🥉for our Mage who ALWAYS shows up. Congrats to the winners.
The last 5 months have been a MAGE-ical ride, we even got to win the Kentucky Derby 🌹
Couldn’t be prouder of our talented colt. Onto the next one 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/ZIHnlmVoqV
— Ramiro A. Restrepo (@RamiroRestrepo) May 20, 2023
The pace of the race determines most horses races. It’s not common in American racing for the race to be run so slowly. We see it primarily in Europe and Australia, where the field is stacked and it becomes a sprint home.
However, racing in the U.S. is often gun and run. That would have suited Mage, much like it did in the Kentucky Derby.
The latest Belmont Stakes news is that Mage will miss the race and head to the Travers. We hope the jockey adopts a more positive mindset.
“We will give him a little vacation and he will power up and we will figure out the best way to get to the Travers,” Restrepo said. “He has not missed a day and has been on the engine since January.”
Belmont Stakes Strategy
For the runners taking part in the upcoming Belmont Stakes, it will be interesting to see how fast they go.
Those of us who are old enough to remember Secretariat’s 1973 win will remember how enduring a sustained speed can break the hearts of the opposition.
Big Red contested the lead with Sham before the latter dropped out to finish last, and pulled up with a hairline fracture of his front cannon bone.
However, Secretariat was able to break the hearts of the rest of the opposition by never letting his foot off the gas. It’s a daring tactic, but the right one if you have a horse good enough to sustain the speed.
Our Belmont Stakes predictions wouldn’t have put Mage anywhere close to that level, but we would have liked to see the Triple Crown up for grabs with a similar ride.
If you’re on the best horse, take bad luck and a slow pace out of the equation. Make your own running, and if the horse isn’t good enough to sustain the pace, so be it.
We expect to see more pace in the Belmont Stakes. At least one runner should be willing to take the risk. It’s a dying tactic, but against what could be a small field, it could be their best chance of success.
There should be good value at the sportsbook with a few runners. We recommend finding horses that go forward.