All these are people who follow the game closely, so their opinions are worth considering. Steve Haskin asks “Who can beat Smarty?” Jennie Rees’ similarly titled story “Can Smarty be beaten?” gets the money quote from trainer John Servis:
The pace comes into play a lot more dramatically than it would in any other race,” Servis said. Because we have a bull’s-eye on our back, more than any race this is where Stewart’s really going to have to shine. There are eight other horses in there that really don’t have anything to lose and a lot to gain.
When (and when not) to move is the paramount question for Smarty Jones and jockey Stewart Elliot in this race.
The Belmont’s web page at NYRA has a lengthy but very interesting transcript from Servis’ press conference yesterday, combined with token quotes from competing trainers at the end. And finally, Rick Bozich captures the mood perfectly in his interesting and informative “Anticipation.” Let’s hope the mood is one of satisfaction and not heartbreak this evening.