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June 10, 2022

Belmont best bets: This time, take the favorite

The Triple Crown was dead as soon as the Derby Winner decided to take off for the Preakness. The biggest drawback to a sport that relies on three big races a year is that they need the winner of the first to stay on board for the second race. Instead, we see the return of Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, the third-place finisher at the Preakness in Creative Minister, and even one female horse looking to be the first filly to win the Belmont in 15 years.

That’s a lot without any threat to the Triple Crown, so there’s still plenty of good value on the board to attack in New York. Let’s look at the three best ways to bet the Belmont Stakes – with what not to play as a good starting point. Two quick reminders: there are only eight horses scheduled to race in this event, and the odds are parimutuel – meaning the odds change depending on how much money each horse gets. Unlike Fixed Odds, the parimutuel bets pay out equally as a pool bet, depending on how many people bet. We use the Fixed Odds from Vegas set on Thursday as a good indicator of where money is going.

First, here's a look at the current odds:

We The People2-1
Mo Donegal5-2 
Rich Strike7-2
Creative Minister6-1
Barber Road10-1
Golden Barber20-1

Rich Strike Ain’t It

Do not bet this horse to win, place, or show. The ridiculous 80-1 longshot that scampered its way to the winner’s circle in Kentucky simply cannot duplicate that again. Definitely not here. The horse already picked up major steam at a couple of books after opening in Vegas at around 7-2. What’s odd here is that this horse needed every possible thing in its favor to go right to win the Derby. The ability to duplicate that on a longer track against a smaller field just doesn’t add up to a winning ticket.

Plus, the odds have been destroyed on this horse to the point where the value has been sucked out clean like a Dyson. If you are going to take a risk, let it be on more of a long shot that hasn’t been picked through more than your neighbor’s garage sale. Rich Strike is a deep closer that likes to race well off the pace, it worked in the Derby – again, as an 80-1 shot – but hasn’t worked at the Belmont. The style of racing doesn’t bode well at this track, hence why only one deep closer has won over the past 22 years. It just isn’t happening this year.

Take the Favorite

Often, we tell you to be wary of heavy favorites, especially big-time public action that backs those favorites. It’s easy to get lost in the narratives or trends – not angles – that look sexy and have little to no substance behind them. History isn’t necessarily on We The People’s side, as the front-runner style has only won three times over the past 22 years, but there is tangible hope this horse can be the fourth.

It’s a healthy combination of the style against the field, and how well WTP has fared in recent races. What’s interesting is the style has transferred over to the other courses in the years that it was successful at the Belmont. American Pharaoh in 2015 and then Justify in 2018 each closed out Triple Crown bids by winning at the Belmont track. This is a solid sign for WTP who sits around a 2-1 favorite to win the race. This is a great horse to mix and match finishing positions, be it to win or come in second and even third. Having a big lead early may not last, but it could easily be enough to keep WTP in line for a place or show finish.

Play the Stalkers

The only time on the planet when stalking is good is in the racing streets. The style of racing lends itself to two horses in the field including a 3-year-old filly. Unlike the pacesetters who jump out in front or the closers/deep-closers that chill in the back, the stalkers stay right in the middle, burning just enough energy to never be out of it, while keeping a faster pace than all of the closers. Normally, the stalkers are best to race in a field that is top-heavy with pace setters, with the idea that they would burn each other out leaving room for the stalker. That actually applies here but more of the opposite line of thinking. Since there is only one true pacesetter in We The People, the expectation is that any true stalker can gain a significant advantage over the closers – as there are five horses hanging back on a longer track.

There simply isn’t any true “middle of the pack” when only two horses comprise of that middle. Skippylongstocking and Nest are the two to target here. Skippy has had recent success racing from the stalker position, as Nest has built her career doing the same. Last year’s winner was also a stalker-style horse, and in 2017, and for the three years from 2012-14. Nest came in 2nd last race at the Kentucky Oaks and won her previous two races this year. The problem is the track and poor history for any filly here, as mentioned, it’s been 15 years since one has claimed victory at the Belmont. Skippy is the better bet for an outright winner, but Nest is still strong to place or show.

Final Card

We The People to win

Skippylongstocking to win

WTP, Skippy, Nest trifecta

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