Charity Money Likely to Ride on Point Given in Belmont

Charity Money Likely to Ride on Point Given in Belmont
Photo: Skip Dickstein
Point Given, morning line favorite for Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
The $50,000 that will be wagered on Saturday's Belmont Stakes to benefit the Imus Ranch, a working cattle ranch in New Mexico that takes in kids with cancer and lets them work with horses and other livestock, will likely be riding on Point Given.

Mike Francesa, a New York radio sports commentator and frequent guest on the nationally syndicated "Imus in the Morning" show, told host Don Imus Friday that he will wait until Saturday morning to make his final decision on the how the money will be wagered.

"Tomorrow morning, I will go into a room and figure out how to bet it," said Francesa. "I am not sure of where the money is going."

Francesca said he envisions a Belmont scenario in which Balto Star will be alone on an uncontested early lead until the rest of the field "decide when to reel him in."

In the end, Francesa believes Preakness Stakes winner Point Given and Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos will engage in a stretch duel. "I think Point Given will distinguish himself," Francesa said of Saturday's classic.

If Francesa follows the script he used successfully in a similar wager in the Preakness Stakes, not all of the money will be spent on one wager.

Francesa came up with 30 different Preakness bets for the $15,000, including $5,000 to win on Point Given, and showed a net profit of $8,146. It would have been a much more profitable day had Congaree finished second, because one of the bets was a $1,000 exacta from Point Given to Congaree.

As in the Preakness, regardless of how the Belmont wager turns out, the Imus Ranch will be the winner. The original $50,000 plus any wagering profits will go to the ranch. If the wagers are a bust, the ranch still gets the $50,000.

The "Imus in the Morning" show has 10 million listeners on 77 stations throughout the country and can also be seen on MSNBC television.

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