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How to Bet the Belmont Stakes

Unlike the Kentucky Derby, which can be bet on at various times during the winter and spring leading up to the race in the form of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), pari-mutuel betting on the Belmont Stakes, like the Preakness, is restricted to just two days.

After the Belmont field is drawn on the Wednesday before the race, fans will have less than 48 hours to wait before wagering on the race is available at racetracks, simulcast centers, and on Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) platforms, including TwinSpires.com. The first opportunity to wager on the Belmont is on the day before the race.

Belmont Park has joined Churchill Downs and Pimlico by carding a stakes-laden, marathon program on its biggest day. In recent years, the Belmont Stakes Day program has commenced at 11 a.m. (ET).

The Kentucky Derby is far and away the most wagered-on horse race in the country, but the Belmont often attracts enough handle to make it the second, or third, most wagered-on race in the country each year. It is usually the second-most watched and wagered on race if the field includes a Kentucky Derby-Preakness winner attempting a Triple Crown sweep.

The Belmont field is limited to a maximum of 16 horses, and longshot winners have been prominent in recent years. In addition to the traditional “straight” wagers (Win, Place, Show), fans can also attempt to cash big in the various “exotic” pools. Exacta (first two), Trifecta (first three), and Superfecta (first four) wagering are all offered.

Belmont Stakes Betting Strategies

Betting the Belmont Stakes has Fewer Horses Capable of Winning the ‘Test of the Champion’

Can the Belmont pay out for bettors?

In 2014 and 2015, when race fans and bettors watched and placed bets in record numbers as California Chrome made a bid for the 2014 Triple Crown, but came up short at the Belmont. A total handle of $90.8 million was bet on the Belmont Stakes in 2014.

Then in 2015, American Pharoah became the first horse in 37 years to complete the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes. A total handle of $82.4 million was bet on the 2015 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park and by fans watching and wagering at other tracks simulcasting the race.

In 2016 when Creator won the Belmont Stakes, but there was no Triple Crown possibility, the betting handle for the Belmont Stakes was $52,188,416.

Betting the Belmont

When you gamble on a horse race, you’re playing against everyone else at the track. The more people who bet on a certain outcome, the more people the pool of money has to be divided among if that outcome arrives to fruition. Thus betting on the race favorite offers much less return, and especially in smaller fields (like the 8 horses that went to post for the 2015 Belmont Stakes).

Both California Chrome (2014) and American Pharoah (2015) were less than even money favorites at the Belmont Stakes. American Pharoah won, so there was far less return on win wagers and exotics (exacta, trifecta, superfecta). California Chrome finished 4th, and Tontalist (9-1 odds) won at a solid price with a pair of long shots finishing 2nd (Commissioner, 28-1) and 3rd (Medal Count, 24-1). This set up a win payout of $20.40 on a $2 win wager on Tonalist, and a $2 exacta payoff of $348. The $2 trifecta returned $6,781. 

Belmont Betting Strategies

The race distance of 1.5 miles makes the Belmont more difficult for many horses to win. Fewer horses are bred and trained to run 1.5 miles. As described in a pervious example, it's best to avoid betting the favorite to win or when including in exotic bets. When a less than elite favorite, such as Orb, is bet to 2-1 post-time odds in the 2013 Belmont Stakes, you are better off trying to beat him to hit a bigger score, than by betting other horses to win and place. For example, Palace Malice won the 2013 Belmont Stakes at 13-1 odds for a win payout of $29.60 on a $2 wager. The $2 exacta with Oxbow (10-1) finishing second returned $323.60, and when Orb finished 3rd the $2 trifecta returned $931.

In 2016, the three race favorites all finished out of the money in a field of 13 at the Belmont Stakes. While a bet was perhaps tougher to hit in the $2 exacta ($269) or trifecta ($2,751) when Creator (16-1), Destin (8-1) and Lani (12-1) finished in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, the strategy of fading some of the favorites in a more wide open race without an elite horse would have at least directed you towards the next wave of contenders that included the next five horses with odds from 8-1 to 18-1.  

You can employ a betting strategy at less cost than boxing four or five horses by keying on two or three horses and including them in your top two places (win, show) and including another horse or two to place along with 4-6 horses to show.

A $1 trifecta wager would cost $54 and look like this:

1,2,3 / 1,2,3,4,5 / 4,5,6,7,8   

Adding another horse in the place or show position would increase the wager to a total of $66.

However you bet the Belmont, know the race if filled with rich history and meant to be enjoyed and within your wagering budget. Consider pooling your money with friends if you want to bet more, as that’s another way to minimize risk while adding to your potential for a greater return when some of the longer shots come in.

 

Final Thoughts for the Belmont Stakes

Impressive – Inspiring – Imposing

That’s what was witnessed in 1973 and viewed by so many today on YouTube when Secretariat won the 1973 Belmont Stakes by an astounding 31 lengths and set the still-standing world record of 2:24 for a mile and a half.

Twinspires.com is your online betting resource for wagering on the races. Visit TwinSpires for the biggest betting events, such as the Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown, which includes the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. 

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