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Bettors beware: 2014 Triple Crown long shot mysteries emerging

Are you a superstitious bettor wondering what else is out there to be paranoid about in relation to the 2014 Triple Crown possibility? As a horse racing and betting research writer, I have a few hunches I would like to discuss. Of course, the main question my mind centers around is whether this will be the year that the Triple Crown is won for the first time in almost 40 years. But it does not end there for me. Let’s just say I think 2014 has already been a weird year for horse racing and I am happy to share my thoughts on the matter.

The famous Wright Brothers in Belmont Park for an Aviation Tournament in October, 1910.
Library of Congress

The first 2014 horse racing scandal sign appeared in England

In 2010, a horse racing coup occurred in the UK that was the largest of its kind. It was executed by Barney Curley, a betting picks expert and professional punter. As it turns out, the last major coup of this kind was in 1975 (also by Curley) and was called the Yellow Sam Betting Coup. After getting a lot of heat from lawmakers about the legality of his methods in January and February 2014, Curley got up in front of an audience before the 2014 Cheltenham Festival and defended his right to legally win money from bookmakers in this way. Just like in 1975, Curley says that betting on the long shot pays off.

Triple Crown drought expected to be broken?

One other “coincidence” that has me wondering is that June 7, 2014 might be the date that the Triple Crown is finally awarded. The last year that it was awarded was June 10, 1978. Once I saw that California Chrome had won the Preakness and the Derby, I started to develop a theory that this would be a Triple Crown year and therefore a Triple Crown for horse betting scandals and major headlines. Using my theories that yet another late 1970’s horse racing scandals would be repeated, I looked to find one that I could expect.

Will Belmont Stakes have a scandal again this year?

A couple of years ago, there was hope that I’ll Have Another would grab the 2012 Triple Crown. However, he was taken out of the race at the last minute before he could run the Belmont Stakes. In the meantime, the workers at Belmont Stakes were preparing to go on a labor union strike if demands were not met. In other words, I have a pretty good feeling about turbulent vibes from Belmont Park, and I am thinking that we could have a scandal develop there in anticipation of a Triple Crown win -- call it a hunch!

A historic Belmont Park scandal that may re-emerge?

So if three times is a charm, what kind of horse racing scandal from the late 1970’s can we expect to reappear? As it turns out, a Belmont Park horse-swapping scandal in 1977 was one of the most followed in its time. It all begins with Dr. Mark Gerard who had former clients like Secretariat. He imported horses and so few questioned him until he bet on a long shot and won a significant amount of money. Long story short, he bought two different horses that looked exactly the same, he ran the dud horse to get it established as a long shot, and then switched out the winner horse to run as the 57-1 long shot in a turf race at Belmont Park. Dr. Gerard pocketed $77,920 in winnings on a $2000 bet. In other words, no matter which horse wins the 2014 Belmont Stakes, I will still be worried if there is a retro 1977 switcher-roo scandal happening right under my nose.

Emergency Triple Crown betting tips

Are you worried that there is going to be a letdown for your Triple Crown bets just like you had in 2012? Seeing I’ll Have Another nixed from the race at the last minute put a lot of people’s betting strategy in jeopardy. If this ends up happening to you for your 2014 Triple Crown bet, take a deep breath. If you have learned nothing from this article so far, it is to plan on buying a ticket with the long shot to win.

Otherwise, all you need to do is to have your homework done concerning other Belmont Stakes horses in the race in advance, always bet on the long shot, and get a trifecta box. For the trifecta, spend the extra money to have all your options covered for the top three horses finishing in any place with win (first), place (second), or show (third).

Still worried about the long shot angle? Take a look at the payouts from the last time a long shot won a Triple Crown race:

  • 2009 Kentucky Derby: Mine the Bird had 50/1 odds with a payout of $103.20 (win)
  • 2011 Belmont Stakes: Ruler on Ice had 24/1 odds with a payout of 51.50 (win)
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