‘Derby’ Bill makes his Belmont picks
“Derby Bill” Watson was the official handicapper at Colonial Downs for six years and has been a professional handicapper for 24. Hear him, Nick Hahn, Frank Vespe, Mike Barone and Darrell Wood each Saturday from 10-11 a.m. on “Off to the Races” on WXGI or theracingbiz.com. Watson’s Belmont superfecta: No. 4 Hot Rod Charlie, No. 6 Known Agenda, No. 7 Rock Your World, No. 2 Essential Quality.
Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
1. Bourbonic Todd Pletcher Kendrick Carmouche 15-1
Pletcher’s Wood Memorial shocker [$146.50] 13th in Derby, will be hard pressed to finish top 5 in N.Y. return
2. Essential Quality Brad Cox Luis Saez 2-1
Derby favorite buried Preakness champ Rombauer in Blue Grass Stakes, earning favorite status here.
3. Rombauer Michael McCarthy John Velasquez 3-1
Perfect spot in Preakness win; faces tough task wheeling back vs. talented, well-rested top four here.
4. Hot Rod Charlie Doug O’Neill Flavien Prat 7-2
Preakness winning jockey Prat opted to jump ship and try to wire-to-wire this small but talented field.
5. France Go de Ina Hideyuki Mori Ricardo Santana Jr. 30-1
Needs a $1,000,000 bonus performance just not seen by me here.
6. Known Agenda Todd Pletcher Irad Ortiz Jr. 6-1
No. 1 Post in Derby was death sentence! 1½ miles gives 2007 Belmont runner-up Curlin’s kid rebound chance.
7. Rock Your World John Sadler Joel Rosario 9-2
Fourth colt with 100 Beyer figures will get better trip from two-time Belmont champ Rosario rolling up front.
8. Overtook Todd Pletcher Manny Franco 20-1
Third string for Pletcher taking major jump in class with career-best 83 Beyer, leaves me uninspired here.