The Haiku Handicapper

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Freelance writer Joe Nevills analyzes the 2018 Belmont Stakes field in the form of Haiku; a Japanese poem of 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

Joe is a former sales editor for the Daily Racing Form and is currently a columnist for Arabian Finish Line. A Michigan native and current Kentucky resident, Nevills’ byline has also appeared in Thoroughbred Times, BloodHorse, the Paulick Report, American Racehorse and other publications.

The Haiku Handicapper has broken down the sport’s biggest events in a bite-sized fashion over the past decade, appearing with DRF, Thoroughbred Times and Arabian Finish Line. The segment was introduced on Joe’s former blog The Michigan-Bred Claimer, analyzing the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

#1 – Justify
Preakness nail-biter
Are his rivals catching up
Or did he save gas?

#2 – Free Drop Billy
Trending the wrong way
But he’s got a Belmont page
Could outrun his odds

#3 – Bravazo
Just missed in Preakness
After solid Derby try
Overlook no more

#4 – Hofburg
A lot about him
Draws Tapwrit comparisons
Justify’s top threat

#5 – Restoring Hope
Back around two turns
When scaling back didn’t work
Minor award threat

#6 – Gronkowski
Stateside first-timer
Loves a mile on Poly
And that’s all we know

#7 – Tenfold
Took a big step up
In the Pimlico deluge
Poised to keep rolling

#8 – Vino Rosso
In friendly confines
On a team that excels here
Excuses are few

#9 – Noble Indy
From top prep winner
To a longshot afterthought
Tough one to support

#10 – Blended Citizen
Shut out at Churchill
Learned he likes Belmont instead
Should be coming late

Cancel the parade
Hofburg was bred for this race
Then seven, one, ten