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By Shawn Rychling

With this year’s Belmont Stakes taking place fortnight ago, a very weak renewal of the Triple Crown series gets smaller and smaller in our rear view mirror. And as I sit writing on a Friday afternoon, it is exactly four weeks until Opening Say at Saratoga – which is like an adult Christmas for the horseplayer and should be a national holiday.  But much more on this year’s Spa meet in upcoming blogs.

Back to the Triple Crown.

So far, the entire 3-year-old campaign has been one disappointment after another.  Seemingly average colts took turns beating each other all during the prep races and each of the three Classic races were semi-letdowns as all three winners basically won on perfect trips and the supposed coming out parties for talented horses never materialized.

In a way, this year was similar to last year – although the overall talent level feels thinner this year. As we look to the 3YO races in the summer, Always Dreaming, Irish War Cry, Cloud Computing and Tapwrit figure to return to action as well as a decent second tier.  The Jim Dandy, Haskell, and Travers figure to be wide open betting races.

Recall what happened last year when Arrogate came out of nowhere to destroy the Travers field we thought was deep and has never looked back, defeating California Chrome twice and than taking the Dubai World Cup.

Not to say this horse is a good as Arrogate, but there is a late-blooming 3-year-old that will be tough to deal with this summer.

Timeline, trained by the recent King of Saratoga Chad Brown, is 4 for 4 in his career after taking the Grade III Betfair Pegasus last Sunday at Monmouth.  Timeline seemed to win the race effortlessly under Javier Castellano, taking the lead into the first turn and ticking off three sub-24 second ¼ miles, and then running a breezy 24.49 for his fourth ¼ as he opened up on the field in the stretch.

Timeline won by an expanding 3 ½ lengths at odds of 1-9 posting a speed figure of 99.  He took the Peter Pan in May and Brown smartly skipped the Belmont to give his horse some more seasoning.  Throw in this horse and the Haskell/Jim Dandy and Travers weekends look mighty interesting this summer.

Don’t forget, you can get all the Hot List analysis for this weekend’s Belmont Park action on the Interbets site right here. We have 19 horses entered for Saturday with plenty of betting options.  Good luck, and see you at Saratoga in 28 days!