Hall of Famer Woody Stephens trained five consecutive winners of the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in the 1980s. So why is there a race named for him on Belmont Stakes day run at seven furlongs? We'll probably never know for sure, but the one thing that seems certain is that Deadly Dealer, the 5-2 favorite in the $250,000 Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds, should prove tough to beat.
Deadly Deadly, the 5-2 morning line favorite, not only boasts the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the 10-horse field, but is the freshest runner in the group. The son of Concerto carved out a 104 Beyer in a seven-length score at 7 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park in early March. He is back sprinting after a disappointing effort in the 1 1/8 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) April 14. Todd Pletcher trains, and John Velazquez rides again.
The next highest Beyer belongs to 8-1 morning line choice Teuflesberg, who scored a 100 Beyer four races back in winning the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The Johannesburg colt, who is coming off a poor effort in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will have the services of jockey Robby Albarado, who won the Preakness (gr. I) on Curlin and will ride that colt in the Belmont Stakes.
Stormello is another coming off a poor effort in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Stormy Atlantic , however, boasts the biggest win of any of the contestants, capturing last year's Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) at 1 1/16 miles. Bill Currin trains the 6-1 morning line selection.
Second in the morning line betting is 4-1 Sports Town. The son of Belong to Me won the restricted Ogygian at 6 1/2 furlongs May 16 in his Belmont Park debut while registering a 96 Beyer.
The two remaining horse at single-digit morning line odds are 5-1 Street Magician and 6-1 Most Distinguished. Street Magican, by Street Cry, is going into the race off a score in the six-furlong Hirsch Jacobs (gr. III) May 19 at Pimlico. Rafael Bejarano returns in the saddle.
Most Distinguished didn’t break his maiden until his eighth start, but won last time out at a mile at Belmont May 11. Trainer Nick Zito, who sent out Birdstone to upset Smarty Jones in the 2004 Belmont Stakes, will saddle the Dixie Union colt.
The Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II), Belmont Park, Race 8, Post 4:25
Post Horse Jockey Odds
1 Bill Place Ramon Dominguez 15-1
2 Deadly Dealer John Velazquez 5-2
3 Stormello Kent Desormeaux 6-1
4 Teuflesberg Robby Albarado 8-1
5 Sports Town Garrett Gomez 4-1
6 Most Distinguished Eibar Coa 6-1
7 Out of Gwedda Michael Luzzi 20-1
8 Sweet Magician Rafael Bejarano 5-1
9 Not for Money Edgar Prado 15-1
10 Hobbitontherocks Alan Garcia 20-1