Belmont Stakes Handicapping and Free Pick

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Known as the “Test of Champions,” the Belmont Stakes is a true measure of a horse. Going 1 ½ miles over the main dirt track in Elmont, NY doesn’t come easily. Several of the horses in this field, however, do come from bloodlines that suggest they can handle the distance, at least for one race. From a handicapping perspective, it’s hard not to fall in love with recent past performances, but in the case of the Triple Crown and Kentucky Derby, it seems right to forgive horses who didn’t get clean breaks or good trips in race fields fit for the Irish Turf, not a normal race here in America.

This race truly comes down to whether or not you think the Preakness Winner (3) Rombauer, at morning line odds of 3/1, can close into a fast pace up front similar to how he won at Ole Hilltop three weeks ago. A decent sized upset that day, Rombauer took a huge step forward to beat tired rivals who came out of a competitive Kentucky Derby two weeks prior. It was a fast time, and he came out of the race in good form. I don’t believe Rombauer will get the same setup today. I also don’t believe he is the class of this 3-year-old crop. Rarely do horses run personal best back-to-back races, and with Flavien Prat jumping off and riding Hot Rod Charlie instead, I think it’s a reminder that even the jockey doesn’t think much of the Preakness winner. With so many other horses skipping the Preakness and getting a solid 5 weeks rest before this race, my money will be going elsewhere.

Speaking of (4) Hot Rod Charlie, with morning line odds of 7/2, a win in the Louisiana Derby and a very good third in the Kentucky Derby put this horse in prime position for a bounce back victory, especially due to his early speed. Flavien Prat will try and run a similar race to the Kentucky Derby where he sits right off the early pace and makes one wide move to go around the leader. He’s been prepping well and working out at longer distances to get fit for this race. Consider Hot Rod Charlie for Win and Exotic wagers.

The morning line favorite for the Belmont Stakes is (2) Essential Quality going off at 2/1 odds. Before the Kentucky Derby, he was a perfect 5 for 5. Getting knocked around in the Kentucky Derby and taking an extremely wide trip made it difficult for Luis Saez to muster up a big run coming for home, but a fourth place finish only by 1 length shows this horse’s determination. Essential Quality has been training phenomenally, and with added rest, it’s hard to pass on this one. The good news is, if you like Essential Quality, I don’t think his odds will change much, as there are other solid contenders in with a shot.

The early speed for the Belmont Stakes will most likely come from (7) Rock Your World who had a disappointing Kentucky Derby, 17th, but had bumping trouble right out of the gate, especially since Joel Rosario’s foot was missing in the saddle and couldn’t control the horse. I’m surprised Joel actually hung on after just getting hammered from all sides for the first 100 feet. This horse seems to want more distance, as wins over both turf and dirt run outs are still quite impressive. Winner of the Santa Anita Derby previous to the terrible trip in the Derby, speed is good at Belmont and at 9/2 morning line, Rock Your World could lead this field all the way around this track.

The last true contender I see for this race is (6) Known Agenda. He got the dreaded rail draw for the Kentucky Derby and finished ninth while being jumbled throughout the first turn. With Irad Ortiz Jr. staying aboard, and knowing trainer Todd Pletcher has a knack for getting horses to run long, consider Known Agenda at 6/1 to be a solid, minor upset play.


If you are a sports bettor and are looking to double or triple your money, bet (2) Essential Quality to Win at 2/1. He’s the best in the field class-wise.

If you are an exotics player looking to hit it big for a few more dollars, bet a trifecta and superfecta box with (2) Essential Quality, (4) Hot Rod Charlie, (6) Known Agenda, (7) Rock Your World. There will be no upsets in this race on the top end, these contenders are just that much better.

The easiest way to bet the Belmont Stakes is with TVG. TVG will be offering money back specials all weekend long at Belmont, so make sure to opt in and take advantage. Don’t have an account? Simply click here to and sign up. Once signed up, under promotions, make sure to opt-in to the Money Back Specials, and get refunded up to $10 if your horse finishes in the money.

Written by OutKick Bets

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