Location: Belmont Park – Elmont, New York
The Belmont Stakes, the final and most demanding leg of the Triple Crown, is named after August Belmont who had been a leading banker and racing man of the 19th century. He was also the first President of the Jockey Club in 1867.
Secretariat’s 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont established the world record for a mile and a half on dirt at 2:24. With his win in the Belmont, he became the ninth horse to capture the Triple Crown.
Twenty-nine horses have been eligible to win the Triple Crown coming into the Belmont Stakes and eleven have succeeded. In six recent runnings, horses that won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, Charismatic in 1999, War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in 2003 and Smarty Jones in 2004) were denied racing immortality in the Belmont Stakes. Racing has not seen a Triple Crown champion since 1978, when Affirmed swept the three-race series.
You can wager on the Belmont for FREE on TwinSpires.com beginning Friday, June 8th.
TwinSpires.com is the official online wagering home of the Kentucky Derby. Learn how to sign-up for a FREE online wagering account by clicking here or watching the video below and enjoy the Belmont Stakes.
Belmont Stakes Betting Information
There are several concepts unique to the race that have to be taken into account when betting the third leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown – The Belmont Stakes.
Let’s be clear: I’ll Have Another will be an underlay this weekend. Given the inevitable souvenir ticket purchases – you can even buy them online – he almost has to be. Plus, as we’ve seen in years past, when a Triple Crown is on the line, rational betting often takes a leave of absence.
It’s important to evaluate all of the entries not only as you would any other race but with the following concepts in mind:
DISTANCE: The Belmont Stakes is run over a distance of a mile and a half and few, if any, three year olds will have had prior experience in such a long race. In light of this fact, a handicapper has to make some educated guesses about which horses will be able to handle the distance so keep this in mind when Belmont Stakes betting.
In some cases, you’ll be able to get an idea about a horse’s ability to handle increased distances by looking at the first two Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The Derby is run at a mile and a quarter, while the Preakness is a mile and 3/16ths. Depending on how a horse has been prepared for his three year old campaign, these distances may be longer than anything he’s run in the past. That being said, the extra quarter mile is a very significant jump and it’s not safe to assume that just because a horse handled a mile and a quarter that he’ll have the same ability at the longer distance.
For that reason, most handicappers turn to pedigree for Belmont Stakes betting to get some idea of how a horse will handle the long distance. Like many components of horse racing, certain traits are common from one generation to the next. The horse’s sire and/or dame are obviously the most important ancestors to consider, but in some cases it’s worth looking further back in the bloodline. Some horses are ‘bred to distance’ and are usually a better candidate than one without a lineage of success at long races that put a premium on endurance. It’s very important to look at the first two legs of Triple Crown in order to find the best horse to bet on.
SCHEDULE: One of the most significant reasons that winning the Triple Crown is such a rare event is the grueling schedule of the three races. While the ideal layoff between races varies from horse to horse, most high level equine competitors race fewer than 10 times per year. In most cases, thoroughbreds seldom race without a break of three weeks to a month. For a Triple Crown aspirant, however, it’s necessary to win three very competitive horse races in a five week span. There is a two week gap between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, with three weeks between the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
In recent years there has been a trend away from horses running in all three legs unless they’re in contention for the Triple Crown. The most common scenario is for a horse to run in the Kentucky Derby, skip the Preakness, and run in the Belmont though other combinations also occur. For this reason, it’s worth giving special consideration to ‘rested’ horses. In addition, it’s helpful to take a look at a horse’s past performances and see what his typical turnaround time between races is and how he’s fared when undertaking a heavy schedule.
WEATHER/TRACK CONDITION: As anyone who watched the 2010 Kentucky Derby can attest, weather can be crucial to the outcome of a horse race. As a species, horses are very sensitive to the conditions in which they run and the surfaces they run on. On balance, most owners and trainers try to avoid racing a promising young horse in inclement weather or on a sloppy track. If the weather at a racetrack becomes particularly bad you’ll see a number of ‘late scratches’ for this reason. A Triple Crown race like the Belmont is a different matter and unless a horse’s connections have a reason to fear for his safety due to the elements or track conditions they usually makes the start for Belmont Stakes betting.
If there is a chance for bad weather and/or an off track it’s essential to consider that when handicapping the race. One good measure of a horse’s ability in this type of race can be found with a quick look at his past performances. If a young horse has *any* experience on a muddy or sloppy track that’s a good indication that his connections have confidence in his abilities in these circumstances. Most promising three year olds are brought along cautiously, and had there been a concern about the ability to perform in substandard conditions it’s unlikely they would have competed in it in the first place.
Another predictive component of a horse’s ability to run on a less than perfect track is past experience on turf and, to a lesser extent, synthetic surfaces. Turf is more yielding than dirt, so there are some similarities between it and a muddy track. In any case, experience on any surface other than dirt is a positive as it indicates an ability to adapt and perform on a variety of track types.
Finally, a horse’s pedigree can also indicate whether or not he’ll perform well in substandard track conditions. Like so many other competitive traits, you’ll frequently see horses that do well in mud produce offspring that also perform well in the slop. Now you should have a really good idea on what things to look at when picking a horse for placing Belmont Stakes bets this year. Horse betting is the biggest part of horse racing, and it pays to make educated horse picks for your bets. Who knows, you could be a big winner this year when you bet the Belmont Stakes on June 9, 2012.
BELMONT STAKES BETTING BITS*
- Although it’s called “The Test of Champions,” recent winners of the Belmont Stakes haven’t exactly reminded racing of great races horses of the past. Since 1992, Belmont victors have won just 24.3 percent of their subsequent starts (28-115) – after having won 41.1 percent of their races beforehand (67-163).
- Since 2000, only five Belmont champs had previously won a stakes race. Four of them – SummerBird, Da’Tara, Jazil and Commendable – had won just once prior to scoring in the Belmont.
- A few recent longshots notwithstandng, the Belmont Stakes has actually been relatively formful, as the post time favorite has won 55 of the 129 editions of the race in which the odds were recorded (42.6%). Unfortunately, many of the winners were hammered at the windows, as betting Belmont favorites has produced a woeful -21.64% ROI.
- Despite all the talk about the benefits of rest, every Belmont winner since 1992 raced within the past 36 days.
- It appears as though speed figures can safely be ignored in the final lef of the Triple Crown. Since 1998, 10 Belmont winners improved their last-race Brisnet speed figure by more than five points (over a second).
- Since 1999, only two horses that competed in the Preakness – Afleet Alex (2005) and Point Given (2001) – were able to win in New York.
*Provided by TwinSpires’ horse racing author, handicapper, and podcast host, Derek Simon. You can listen to Derek live every Wednesday on his Simon Says Racing Podcast
The Belmont Stakes figures to be a huge event this year with I’ll Have Another bidding to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Given his skill set and the 1 ½ length of this race he may have the best chance of any Belmont Stakes contenders in years.
There have been 30 horses that came to the Belmont Stakes in search of eternal glory – almost all of them were bet like they’d already achieved it. The last winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness not to be favored in the Belmont Stakes was Assault in 1946… and he wound up winning the Triple Crown. Still, as the chart reflects, a $2 win bet on all of the Triple Crown hopefuls in the Belmont has produced an ROI of -41.5 percent, including a -78.42% ROI over the past 50 years.
Here’s the rundown of the 2012 Belmont Stakes contenders by post position:
Post Position 1 – STREET LIFE: Seems to be the “wise guy” horse underneath as the alternative to the alternatives. A few people I know are picking him to win, and 12-to-1 isn’t a terrible price, but his running style works against him as does the fact that he needs to get faster to win while others get slower.
Post Position 2 – UNSTOPPABLE U: Worth noting because trainer Kenny McPeek says this one will be on or near the lead, but stretching out to 1 ½ miles for his stakes debut against a good group is what will stop him.
Post Position 3 – UNION RAGS: Looked like the best of his generation when winning the Champagne and finishing a troubled second to eventual champion Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but did not progress as a three-year-old. A move forward in the Belmont get him in the number and a move forward plus others regressing gets him in the winner’s circle, but I’m not sure 1 ½ miles is his wheelhouse, though jockey John Velazquez has more wins than any other rider this century going 1 ½ miles on the Belmont main track.
Post Position 4 – ATIGUN: Of all the longshots (horses outside the top five choices), this one seems to be getting the most attention. His three wins have been impressive, but they’ve come while running through conditions, and he hasn’t handled the jump to stakes company very well. Leparoux winning would make a good story given the drama surrounding his rides on Union Rags in the Florida & Kentucky Derbys, and McPeek knows how to spring an upset when spoiling a Triple Crown bid, but this one would be a legitimate surprise.
Post Position 5 – DULLAHAN: If not the most likely winner at least the most likely value. I’ll Have Another’s win price virtually assures that Dullahan will be a fair price in the win pool. Even if you think Dullahan only wins this 25% of the time, 4-to-1 is a great bet. He is the only horse in the field I think can win even if I’ll Have Another runs his “A” race, and it’s more likely that Dullahan runs his best than I’ll Have Another does, so he’s the on-top selection.
Post Position 6 – RAVELO’S BOY: The form coming out of the Tampa Bay Downs races this year has been abominable, and a three-month layoff stretching out to 1 ½ miles in the Belmont from a fifth-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby isn’t ideal.
Post Position 7 – FIVE SIXTEEN: Appears to be overmatched at all points of call no matter how you draw up the race.
Post Position 8 – GUYANA STAR DWEEJ: The maiden win was actually kind of snappy and hints at talent enough to maybe do something in this race at a big price. The bad news is that was his eighth career start, and the follow-up effort in an entry-level allowance race was a big step back. Still, as the only entrant sporting the Mr. P.-Northern Dancer cross he merits some respect in the sense that I’d use him before Unstoppable U or Five Sixteen.
Post Position 9 – PAYNTER: This is a bit dramatic, but he’s sort of the Trinniberg of this bunch. Clearly very fast, but just not sure why this race for him right now. Like Atigun, his two wins have been impressive but have come while running through his conditions. I’ll Have Another already beat him easily in the Santa Anita Derby, and the Derby Trial was good, but the winner was clearly best. Like Street Life, the morning line price (8-to-1) is OK, and I like Street Life or Paynter better at their morning lines than I do Union Rags, but just seems to have too much against him to best this group.
Post Position 10 – OPTIMIZER: I like him for the reasons other people like Street Life, but with Optimizer you’re getting twice the price. He’s not a big win threat given his relative slowness to the top contenders and his running style, but I do think he improves on the stretch out and that’s good enough to land in the tri at a big price.
Post Position 11 – I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: The most likely winner, but unless you think he wins this race more than 56% of the time then he’s a bad bet to win. How to make money, then? I’ll single him in multi-race wagers not expecting him to be 4-to-5 in exotic pools and play Dullahan to win as well use those two in exotic wagers with Optimizer.
Post Position 12 – MY ADONIS: I actually picked this horse to win the Wood Memorial, and he showed nothing in that race and the horses ahead of him have showed very little as well save for Street Life’s third-place finish in the Peter Pan. He’s from the same connections as Ruler On Ice, and I could actually see My Adonis getting a similar trip minus actually being in front at the end, but hanging on for 3rd or 4th isn’t impossible.
Which of the Belmont Stakes contenders will be this years champion? Find out June 9th, 2012 and place your online wagers right here with TwinSpires. Enjoy the race!
Contenders information provided by The Director of Marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS) and a lifelong Thoroughbred racing enthusiast and astute handicapper, Ed DeRosa. Follow Ed on Twitter here
By James Scully
I’ll Have Another is easy to root for in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, but any sentimental desire for a Triple Crown winner must be left out of the equation when handicapping the race. There is no pleasure in doing so, but I will take a stand against the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner with Dullahan.
The Belmont Stakes will be televised on NBC from 4:30-7 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.
The final leg of the Triple Crown offers the most extreme test in the series with its 1 ½-mile distance and timing, the third hard race in a five-week period for 3-year-olds, and I’ll Have Another looks like a strong candidate to regress following massive performances in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
And he will need to be at his best against Dullahan, who appears ready to turn the tables following a fast-finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.
Dullahan is the top pick based in part on his preparation – the classy chestnut signaled his readiness and affinity for the oval with a sizzling half-mile workout (:45 4/5) last Sunday at Belmont Park. He did it easily and the workout is significant because it’s the same way that Dullahan trained prior to his outstanding win in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes two starts back.
Dullahan did not impress onlookers with his morning drills prior to the Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs is not his favorite track), but proved talented enough to finish a good third despite losing a lot of ground when forced to rally wide into the stretch. His connections wisely bypassed the Preakness; Dullahan’s running style and breeding are better suited to the 1 ½-mile Belmont distance.
The five-week freshening between the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes helps, with two of the last three winners, and five of the last nine, utilizing the same pattern, and Dullahan’s increasing BRIS Speed ratings (96-98-102-106) add to his appeal.
The colt will receive a positive switch to big-race jockey Javier Castellano, who knows Belmont Park as well as any rider with a 24-percent win rate during the current meet, and trainer Dale Romans is becoming an experienced Triple Crown veteran, saddling horses in the last eight events. He has every reason to be confident Saturday with Dullahan.
“I wouldn’t trade places with anyone,” Romans said. “I want to walk out of here with 120,000 people booing me.”
Dullahan is set to play the role of spoiler.
I’ll Have Another rates as a worthy Triple Crown candidate. Unbeaten from four starts this year, the sensational chestnut possesses an ideal pedigree for the 1 ½-mile distance and the tactical speed to overcome any kind of pace scenario. And the colt is a fighter, displaying tremendous grit in his Preakness and Santa Anita Derby victories, who promises to lay it all on the line in the Belmont.
But the likelihood remains that I’ll Have Another will take a step back in the Belmont Stakes.
The current Triple Crown format was established in the 1960s, but the five-week schedule no longer makes sense given that modern-day Thoroughbreds are far less durable than their predecessors. I’ll Have Another is no exception, making only five career starts prior to the Kentucky Derby, and lacks the foundation of previous Triple Crown winners.
Like so many Derby winners, I’ll Have Another bounced forward in the Preakness, becoming the 12th horse in the last 34 years (35 percent) to capture the first two classics. It’s the next short gap — three weeks — between the Preakness and Belmont that exacts an extreme toll on Triple Crown hopefuls.
Doug O’Neill bypassed a workout after the Preakness, a sign that I’ll Have Another is feeling the effects of the hard campaign.
The trainer did not baby his charge this spring, training him hard at distances from six furlongs to a mile during the mornings, and logic suggests that if I’ll Have Another bounced out of the Preakness in good shape, O’Neill would have worked him during the interim to maintain his fitness. This is the biggest race of his career – there will be plenty of time to recuperate afterward – and the decision to only gallop him into the Belmont Stakes is a legitimate concern.
Mario Gutierrez will be riding his first Belmont Stakes, but the talented rider fits perfectly with I’ll Have Another. And regardless of the recent drug controversies surrounding him, O’Neill has proven his worth as an excellent horseman over the years.
It would be foolish to dismiss his chances outright and I will applaud I’ll Have Another if he ends the Triple Crown drought, but do not believe he will have enough left in the tank to withstand Dullahan’s challenge.
Paynter will be on or very close to the lead from the start and enters on the upswing for Bob Baffert. The Hall of Fame trainer has always been high on the $325,000 yearling purchase, but Paynter did not make it to the races until mid-February, winning his debut at Santa Anita. Following a pair of encouraging efforts against stakes rivals, the late-starting colt posted a confidence-building victory in his last effort, an allowance on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico, and received a whopping 107 Speed rating for the 5 ¾-length decision.
Paynter may continue to develop into a high-class performer and appears to be training well at Belmont Park in preparation, recording a seven-furlong workout last weekend. He looms as a threat to carry his speed a long way on the front end with further improvement, but a minor award is probably more realistic.
Union Rags entered 2012 as the early Kentucky Derby favorite, but never appeared comfortable finishing third in the Florida Derby two starts back and exits a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby where he lost all chance at the start. The Michael Matz-trained colt likes Belmont Park, rolling to an impressive win in the Grade 1 Champagne last fall, but his Speed ratings are a little low compared to his main rivals Saturday. A top-three finish may be within his grasp, but Union Rags does not look sharp enough presently to offer a serious challenge.
Street Life will look to capitalize upon a solid effort over the track, offering an eye-catching stretch move to pass eight rivals when third in the Grade 2 Peter Pan May 12, but it’s difficult to envision his late-running theatrics proving successful in this difficult spot. The promising Chad Brown trainee is still an intriguing option for the bottom of the exotic wagers.
Optimizer joins I’ll Have Another as the only horses to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown, but he has his work cut out for him, finishing out of the money in seven of his last eight starts. A multiple Grade 2 runner-up, Optimizer did show signs of life when rallying belatedly for sixth in the Preakness and is well-suited for the 1 ½-mile distance with his pedigree. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him come running late for a small piece given his stellar connections, but the D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt is likely overmatched.
My Adonis flashed talent earlier in the year, but must rebound from a disappointing effort in a minor stakes at Pimlico.
The remaining Belmont contestants – Atigun, Five Sixteen, Guyana Star Dweej, Ravelo’s Boy and Unstoppable U – look too slow to factor in the outcome.
Everything is built around Dullahan; I will bet him to win and recommend exacta and trifecta wagers with him on top.
$40 win 5 (Dullahan)
$20 exactas: 5 over 9 (Paynter) and 11 (I’ll Have Another)
$1 trifecta part-wheel: 5 over 1,3,9,10,11 over 1,3,9,10,11
Enjoy the Belmont Stakes!
James Scully is a writer for Brisnet.com. James is also the editor of the Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal daily newsletters for the site. He was also featured as one of the panelists at the Churchill Downs-hosted Breeders’ Cup Handicapping Summit in 2010.
|Race||Post Time ET/PT||Available Wagers||TV Coverage|
|1||11:35am/8:35am||WPS EX TRI P3 DD||HRTV|
|2||12:07pm/9:07am||WPS EX TRI P3 DD QUI P4||HRTV|
|3||12:39pm/9:39am||WPS EX TRI P3 DD||HRTV|
|4||1:11pm/10:11am||WPS EX TRI P3 DD QUI||HRTV|
|5||1:52pm/10:52am||WPS EX TRI P3 DD||HRTV|
|6||2:34pm/11:34am||WPS EX TRI P3 DD P6 ($1-million Guaranteed)||HRTV|
|7||3:15pm/12:15pm||WPS EX TRI P3 DD Grand Slam||NBC Sports|
|8||3:59pm/12:59pm||WPS EX TRI P3 DD P4 ($1-million Guaranteed)||NBC Sports|
|9||4:43pm/1:43pm||WPS EX TRI P3 DD||NBC Sports|
|10||5:39pm/2:39pm||WPS EX TRI P3 DD P4||NBC|
|11||6:35pm/3:35pm||WPS EX TRI P3 DD (Belmont Stakes)||NBC|
|12||7:20pm/4:20pm||WPS EX TRI DD||HRTV|
|13||7:50pm/4:50pm||WPS EX TRI||HRTV|
Welcome to the 2012 Belmont Stakes. This year we have a chance to see the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 when Affirmed won the Triple Crown.
The historic journey for Reddam Racing’s I’ll Have Another started beneath the Twin Spires with his dramatic victory in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5. On Saturday trainer Doug O’Neill’s colt will attempt to become just the 12th Triple Crown winner in American racing history – and the first in 34 years – when he faces 11 rivals in last and longest jewel of the Triple Crown series.
The Belmont Stakes 2012 will take place on Saturday, June 9th. For those looking to attend the race live, gates open at 8:30 AM. In addition to the highly sought after reserved seating Belmont Park admits thousands of fans via general admission on a first come, first served basis. You can also find a full 2012 Belmont Stakes Schedule on this site.
Can I’ll Have Another win the Belmont Stakes? Find out on June 9th!
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) – the organization responsible for the management of Belmont Park – is making $10 grandstand general admission Belmont Stakes tickets are available through Ticketmaster.
With I’ll Have Another set to pursue a sweep of the Triple Crown following his victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, a big crowd is expected for the 144th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 9.
Belmont Park has plenty of non-reserved seating available for grandstand general admission patrons, with benches and picnic tables located throughout the beautiful backyard area, inside the grandstand, and trackside. General admission tickets also provide ready access to areas populated with flat screen televisions, betting windows, and food options.
To buy tickets through Ticketmaster, racing fans can visit www.ticketmaster.com (tickets listed as “Belmont Stakes Admission“) or call 800-745-3000. They may also be purchased at select Ticketmaster locations.
On Belmont Stakes Day, patrons will also be able to purchase $20 clubhouse and $10 grandstand general admission tickets at the Belmont Park admission gates, which will open at 8:30am ET. First post on Belmont Stakes Day is 11:35am ET.
If you’re not able to make it to Belmont Park on race day, you can watch and wager on the Belmont Stakes right here at TwinSpires.com.
For the most updated information on the Belmont Stakes, fans can visit www.BelmontStakes.com.
The Belmont Stakes is the final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown and is held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It comes five weeks after the first race of the Triple Crown – the Kentucky Derby – and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. The Belmont Stakes history shows that it is considered the most challenging of the Triple Crown races due to its distance, as most three year olds are unaccustomed to the mile and a half length. Furthermore, the scheduling of the Triple Crown races with three highly competitive events in such close succession makes it an even more daunting challenge.
First held in 1866, the Belmont is the oldest of the Triple Crown races besting the venerable Kentucky Derby (first held in 1875) by nearly a decade. The race is named for 19th century stock market magnate August Belmont, Sr. and was originally run at the Jerome Park Racetrack in the Bronx. The Jerome Park track was built by a Wall Street colleague of Belmont’s, Leonard Jerome. August Belmont died in 1890 and Jerome in 1891 and following their passing the event was moved to the nearby Morris Park Race Course until the opening of Belmont Park. The race has been held annually since then with the exception of 1911 and 1912 when the park was ‘dark’ due to hysterical anti-gambling legislation that had been passed in New York State. Between 1963 and 1967 the race was held at nearby Aqueduct Racetrack due to a major renovation project at Belmont Park.
While the Kentucky Derby is known as ‘the run for the roses’, the Belmont winner traditionally receives a blanket of carnations though the moniker “the run for the carnations” hasn’t exactly become part of the American lexicon. Ironically, while the Kentucky Derby is known for its many time honored traditions the Belmont doesn’t have the same iconography and has changed things up on a number of occasions throughout the Belmont Stakes history. The Kentucky Derby’s ‘traditional cocktail’ is known by even non-horse racing fans as the Mint Julep. In contrast, the Belmont has had two ‘traditional cocktails’. The original was the ‘White Carnation’, a dubious mixture of vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice and cream that somehow tastes worse than it sounds. The current ‘traditional cocktail’ is the ‘Belmont Breeze’, a bourbon based mishmash of ingredients that includes several different fruit juices and has been described as a ‘refined trashcan punch’ by the New York Times.
The Belmont’s signature cocktail may be lacking, but it does boast what many consider the greatest performance in the history of thoroughbred racing. In 1973, Secretariat clinched the Triple Crown in the Belmont with a downright dominant performance – “Big Red” set a course record of 2:24 in winning the race by an astounding 31 lengths. One of the most enduring images of Secretariat’s victory is the shot of jockey Ron Turcotte easing up his mount near the finish line as he looks back over his shoulder in amazement that the rest of the field is nearly out of sight.