The talk and the Triple Crown is just about over and the Belmont Stakes is at hand.
Here is a look at the field of 10 (and their record):
1) Chocolate Candy (10-4-2-1) - Been off since running fifth in the Kentucky Derby. Has the ability to be close to the lead which will be a big benefit with the speed holding at Belmont today. He's been training in NY for five weeks so he should be acclimated to the Belmont surface. Don't like the fact that he's just 8-1 to but if he likes "traditional dirt", he will be in the thick of it.
2) Dunkirk (4-2-1-0) - After disappointing (11th place) as the second choice in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher appears to have the regally bred colt ready for this race. Jockey John Velazquez, Pletcher's regular rider, will ride him for the first time. Today he will look to validate his $3.7 million public auction price. Very dangerous here.
3) Mr. Hot Stuff (8-1-0-3) - The full brother to Colonel John has been a disappointment this year. He was 15th in the Derby in his first start on "real dirt" and will need a quick pace in front of his if he has any chance. The big plus for him is that he gets the services of Edgar Prado. Not likely to win here.
4) Summer Bird (4-1-0-1) - The "buzz horse" of Belmont Week is another horse who will be flying late. He also will need a quick pace in front of him but he has lots of talent and showed when he was third in the Arkansas Derby. He gets blinkers on for the first time which may move him closer to the lead and gets a big rider switch from Chris Rosier to Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux. If he's closer early in the race, he has a big shot.
5) Luv Gov (11-1-3-1) - A horse the probably doesn't belong in the Belmont. Just one win and never beaten these kind of horses. Pass.
6) Charitable Man (4-3-0-0) - The value of the Belmont, the colt has never lost in three starts on "real dirt" and is 2-for-2 at Belmont Park. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin won this race in 2006 with Jazil and is very, very dangerous here.
7) Mine That Bird (10-5-2-0) - What more can you say about this colt? The Derby winner and Preakness runner-up has become such a great story continues to get better with each start. Jockey Calvin Borel is looking for racing immortality trying to win the Triple Crown on two different horses in the same year. The key will be is where Borel places the horse early in the race. He can't be to far back or to close. I would love to see him win and has a great shot to give Borel a "Calvin Crown."
8) Flying Private (12-1-4-0) - Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has won four Belmonts and turned this colt around after running last in the Derby. Was a troubled fourth in the Preakness but will need to improve more to be a factor here. Watch later in the year.
9) Miner's Escape (7-2-0-0) - Trainer Nick Zito has become the "Crown Killer" after stopping two Triple Crowns in the past five years. This horse's best shot will be to repeat what stablemate D'Tara did last year. Go to the front and steal the race. If he doesn't do that, he has no shot. But counting out Zito is tough in the Belmont is tough.
10) Brave Victory (9-2-2-1) - Zito's other horse in the Belmont will need a good trip to have any shot. Since he's on the outside, he will need to stay out of trouble and the best chance may be to drop back, like he did when he finished third to Charitable Man last month.
I will be rooting for Mine That Bird as it would be a great story in sports. Charitable Man is the best value of the race since he's 5-1.
7) Mine That Bird
6) Charitable Man
1) Chocolate Candy