Bettors Edge- Wagering on the Belmont Stakes
This Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York is the running of the 145th Belmont Stakes, which is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown racing season for three-year old thoroughbreds. The field of 14 has been confirmed and the morning line has been set. The following is a look at a few of the top favorites as well as my betting strategy for this race.
As expected, Kentucky Derby winner Orb has been opened as the odds-on-favorite to win the Belmont at 3/1. He will be starting from the fifth gate which is one of the more favorable positions for this track. The big question for trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Joel Rosario is how will this colt handle the extra distance of this 1 ½ mile race. While position in a somewhat crowded field is still important, finding the proper pace could mean the difference between winning and losing. The last time a Kentucky Derby winner won the Belmont after losing the Preakness was in 1995 when Thunder Gulch accomplished this feat.
The horse to watch in this race is Revolutionary, who is currently listed as the 9/2 second-favorite on the morning line and starting from the ninth gate. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano, this colt was held out of the Preakness Stakes to specifically prepare for the Belmont ever since finishing third in the Kentucky Derby after going off at 6/1. At the very least, this horse should finish in the money given his proven strength down the stretch.
Oxbow stunned the nine-horse field in the Preakness Stakes as a moderate 15/1 longshot with his first victory in a Grade I stakes race. He also finished a solid sixth in the Kentucky Derby and remains one of the few horses in this field to run in all three Triple Crown races. He is trained by D Wayne Lucas and will once again be ridden by veteran jockey Gary Stevens starting from the No.7 gate. The last horse to win the final two legs of the Triple Crown was Afleet Alex in 2005.
Belmont Stakes Betting Strategy
The Belmont is the most grueling test of endurance these three-year olds will face which often time leads to a wide-open race. I have concerns with both Orb and Oxbow given that this will be their third major stakes race in just over a month which has a way of taking its toll in a longer race. This opens the door for Revolutionary, who was specifically held out of the Preakness in an effort to win this race. While he is my pick to win the Belmont, I also really like Golden Soul at 10/1 to be a major factor down the stretch. He finished second in the Kentucky Derby on a great late kick and should once again finish in the money on Saturday afternoon. A great hedge bet would be play Revolutionary and Golden Soul in a boxed exacta in an expected one-two finish.