Bob’s Bets: Justify, Gronkowski honor Belmont Stakes wagers

Bob's Bets: Justify, Gronkowski honor Belmont Stakes wagers

June 11 (UPI) — What a magnificent Triple Crown series! Justify made history and we made money.

Our game plan for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, you’ll recall, was a four-horse trifecta box costing $24 of the $26.50 we had left after the Preakness.

Well, the four horses we selected not only finished the requisite 1-2-3, but actually were the first four under the wire in the Belmont. And with our favorite long shot Gronkowski rallying to finish second behind Justify, our $24 turned into:


Since we were playing with net winnings, every cent of that is profit. Add the $2.50 left after the Belmont wager and our profit for the entire Triple Crown is $231.50.

You are most welcome.

How did we have Gronkowski, when he was dismissed at odds of almost 25-1? Briefly, we’d been watching him for the best part of a year as he ran on turf and all-weather surfaces in England in preparation for the Kentucky Derby. Mostly under the radar of provincially-minded U.S. fandom, he ran well enough to qualify for that race but missed it with a fever.

Then he came to the United States and was handed over from English trainer Jeremy Noseda to American ace Chad Brown, who named Jose Ortiz to ride. Noseda is a fine trainer but for the Belmont, Brown and Ortiz were a big upgrade. We need a long shot to give these trifecta boxes profit potential and, to our eyes, Gronkowski was way underrated at any double-digit odds, let alone 25-1.

One of the great sayings of the sport is, nobody ever leaves happy after betting at the racetrack. The losers obviously are down in the dumps. But the winners are shaking their heads in the firm believe that they coulda, shoulda, woulda won more if only …

We would have won more — a lot more — if Gronkowski had not totally missed the break, if he had raced closer to a faster pace, if he had caught Justify and pulled off the upset. But that’s the worst kind of thinking. Justify, trainer Bob Baffert, jockey Mike Smith and the owners, WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and the others, deserved the win. We’re happy for them and satisfied with our loot.

Now, put some of those winnings away. We’ll be back the first weekend in November at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships where, with any luck, we’ll see Justify and Gronkowski face off again.

Meanwhile, Royal Ascot is next week. Then Saratoga opens …

What a great game.