Belmont Stakes 144

Belmont Stakes Betting

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.


  • 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