In Belmont, favorites out of favor Long shots not short on Triple Crown wins


ELMONT, N.Y. -- While a camera crew from "Good Morning America" has tailed Nick Zito in the morning, other media members have been quizzing Frank Brothers and D. Wayne Lukas about their horses' chances in Saturday's 123rd Belmont Stakes.

This is not a trend. It is tradition for trainers of the favorites to draw the most attention in Triple Crown events. Logically, and perhaps rightfully, so.

But here's a trend, for both the Belmont and the Triple Crown: losing favorites and obscure winners.

In the last 36 Triple Crown events, only four favorites have won. Just two of the last 12 Belmonts have been won by betting choices, and such long shots as Temperence Hill ($108.80) have come home first in that period.

With a field of 11 ready to be entered this morning at Belmont Park for the 1 1/2 -mile New York classic, another upset seems possible.

Strike the Gold, the Kentucky Derby winner, and Hansel, the Preakness champion, have yet to show the consistency that would make either a standout in the race. And the likely third choice, Corporate Report, never has won beyond six furlongs or in a stakes race.

While connections for so-called fringe horses, such as Scan, Green Alligator and Lost Mountain, are quietly confident of their chances, trainers of the extreme long shots also have been giving reasons they could produce a Belmont shocker.

Another Review, who figures to be the longest shot in the field, finished 13th of 16 in the Kentucky Derby nearly five weeks ago.

"He's doing terrific," said his trainer, Johnny Campo. A victory for Another Review would be sweet for Campo. Ten years ago, he experienced the most disappointing loss of his career when Pleasant Colony, the Derby-Preakness winner, finished third in the Belmont.

Subordinated Debt, a narrowly beaten second in the 1 1/8 -mile Jersey Derby 10 days ago, is another overlooked entrant. Even if he loses, the son of Halo will make history -- Julie Krone, his rider, will be the first woman to ride in the Belmont.

Trainer Dave Monaci said Subordinated Debt will "love the mile and a half. He's a horse that will just keep galloping and galloping and galloping."

One other long shot, Quintana, was a disappointment when he finished fourth in the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 26; he had finished a good sixth in the Derby. But Curly Ortiz, the colt's exercise rider, said the son of Affirmed is "very happy and very aggressive right now."

NOTES: Final Belmont preps yesterday morning: Strike the Gold, 4 furlongs in 49 seconds; Mane Minister, 3 furlongs in :36 3/5; Lost Mountain, 3 furlongs, :38 2/5; and Green Alligator, 5 furlongs in 1 minute. . . . Smooth Performance arrived from Ireland yesterday. . . . The "Good Morning America" piece on Zito airs tomorrow. . . . Meadow Star, pointing for her summit clash with Lite Light in Sunday's Mother Goose Stakes, drilled 5 furlongs in 1:11 1/5 yesterday. . . . Chris Antley replaces Robin Platts aboard Jolie's Halo in Saturday's $500,000 Nassau County Handicap, fifth race in the American Championship Racing Series. Farma Way, winner of the Pimlico Special, is the likely favorite.

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