Belmont Stakes Contenders

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Last updated: May 18, 2022

The 2021 Belmont Stakes Contenders

The Belmont Stakes is the third and final jewel of U.S. Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. Also the oldest of the three, dating back to 1867, and the longest at 1 1/2 miles, the “Test of the Champion” has tremendous buzz when the Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner seeks an historic Triple Crown sweep. Below is a sneak preview of the betting guide and tip sheet for the 2021 Belmont Stakes from TwinSpires. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL GUIDE

PRO: Derby didn’t set up well for Wood Memorial hero; both wins have come in New York
CON: Late runner faces tactical disadvantage in Belmont; owns lower Brisnet Speed ratings

PRO: Rough break, wide trip cost him in Derby; once-beaten colt can make amends Saturday
CON: Grinder must establish trip from inside post; Brisnet numbers on-par with other rivals

PRO: Became more effective racing closer to pace in last two; stylishly rallied to win Preakness
CON: His races have been well-spaced, must avoid regression on three-week turnaround

PRO: Missed by only a length in Derby; Louisiana Derby winner may have more to offer for O’Neill
CON: Lone stakes win came wire-to-wire; thrice stakes-placed colt often grabs a minor award

PRO: Japanese-based colt showed tactical speed in Preakness, needed race from fitness perspective
CON: Weakening seventh at Pimlico does not inspir e confidence; unplaced in both stakes attempts

PRO: Compromised by innermost post in Derby; 1 1/2-mile distance appears optimal for promising colt
CON: Beat suspect field in Florida Derby; is he fast enough yet to de feat this level of competition?

PRO: Missed break, draw a line through Derby; serious wire-to-wire threat as possible lone speed
CON: Had everything own way in Santa Anita Derby; questions surround him at 1 1/2-mile trip

PRO: $1 million Curlin colt needed last race after layoff; sneaky vertical exotics contender for Pletcher
CON: Late-running style doesn’t appear favorable; his Brisnet Speed ratings must improve to challenge

Below are the official Belmont Stakes contenders for 2021, along with their last race and finish:

(1) Bourbonic Todd Pletcher / Kendrick CarmoucheKentucky Derby (13th)15-1
(2) Essential Quality Brad Cox / Luis SaezKentucky Derby (4th)2-1
(3) Rombauer Michael W. McCarthy / John VelazquezPreakness (1st)3-1
(4) Hot Rod Charlie Doug O'Neill / Flavien PratKentucky Derby (3rd)7-2
(5) France Go de Ina Hideyuki Mori / Ricardo Santana, Jr.Preakness (7th)30-1
(6) Known Agenda Todd Pletcher / Irad Ortiz Jr.Kentucky Derby (9th)6-1
(7) Rock Your World John Sadler / Joel RosarioKentucky Derby (17th)9-2
(8) Overtook Todd A. Pletcher / Manny FrancoPeter Pan Stakes (3rd)20-1

Most of the Belmont contenders have competed in at least one, or sometimes both, of the prior Triple Crown races. Fans who have been watching the three-year-olds progress throughout the early-season preps — such as the Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby, Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass, and Arkansas Derby — will know the major players very well.

But even fans who just tuned in for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness will recognize familiar names. If the Derby winner has gone on to glory in the Preakness, that two-time classic winner heads to Belmont Park on the cusp of immortality, with a Triple Crown on the line. If he was beaten in the Preakness, the Belmont Stakes could serve as a decisive showdown between the Derby and Preakness winners.

With trainers preferring to give their horses more time between races, some who ran in the Derby opt to skip the Preakness and go straight to the Belmont. Such a five-week break can give them a freshness advantage over those enduring the entire Triple Crown grind.

Also coming in fresh are the “new shooters” to the Triple Crown scene. Not ready for prime time in the Derby or Preakness, these late developers often use the Peter Pan, also at Belmont Park, as their stepping stone to the Belmont. 

(Photo by Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher)
Hot Rod Charlie
(Jamie Newell/
Rock Your World
(Benoit Photography)
Essential Quality
(Coady Photography)
France Go De Ina
(Cogliaense Photos)
(Coglianese Photos)
(Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher)
Known Agenda
(Coglianese Photos)

The 2019 Belmont Stakes Morning Line Odds and Post Positions

1 Joevia Greg Sacco Jose Lezcano 30-1
2 Everfast Dale Romans Luis Saez 12-1
3 Master Fencer (JPN) Koichi Tsunoda Julien Leparoux 8-1
4 Tax Danny Gargan Irad Ortiz Jr. 15-1
5 Bourbon War Mark Hennig Mike Smith 12-1
6 Spinoff Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano 15-1
7 Sir Winston Mark Casse Joel Rosario 12-1
8 Intrepid Heart Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 10-1
9 War of Will Mark Casse Tyler Gaffalione 2-1
10 Tacitus Bill Mott Jose Ortiz 9-5

The 2018 Belmont Stakes Morning Line Odds and Post Positions

Return to this page following the Post Position draw on Tuesday evening at 5pm ET.

Post PositionHorseML OddsTrainerJockey
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4-5Bob BaffertMike Smith
2Free Drop Billy
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30-1Dale RomansRobby Albarado
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8-1D. Wayne LukasLuis Saez
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9-2Bill MottIrad Ortiz, Jr.
5Restoring Hope
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30-1Bob BaffertFlavien Prat
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12-1Chad BrownJose Ortiz
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12-1Steve AsmussenRicardo Santana, Jr.
8Vino Rosso
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8-1Todd PletcherJohn Velazquez
9Noble Indy
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30-1Todd PletcherJavier Castellano
10Blended Citizen
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15-1Doug O’NeillKyle Frey

Belmont Stakes Contender Notes:

2018 Belmont Stakes Probables

A probable field of 11 horses is expected for the 2018 Belmont Stakes with Justify leading the way as a Triple Crown hopeful looking to chase down history. Two of his foes will be rematches from the Preakness, while six other horses will re-enter the series as previous Kentucky Derby runners. An additional two horses are considered new shooters.

Justify (1st Kentucky Derby & Preakness Stakes)
Two down, one to go. Justify is the expected heavy favorite in the Belmont Stakes and will need the best that Bob Baffert can provide in order to bounce back from a challenging Preakness performance where he found runners coming on late while approaching the finish line. Though Justify will be only one of two horses to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown by Belmont time, questions remain with his racing career starting in February of 2018. The talent is there. The opportunity is waiting. Justify could very well be a Triple Crown champion come Belmont.

Bravazo (2nd Preakness Stakes)
Some would argue Bravazo was overlooked in his previous Classic starts, but the well-coached Thoroughbred routinely delivers positive results. Bravazo not only finished as the runner-up to Justify in the Preakness where he was a 20/1 longshot, but was a deceptively good 6th in the Kentucky Derby, despite 50/1 odds. It seems more and more that the 8th place finish in the Louisiana Derby was an outlying performance. The oddsmakers are done taking him lightly, as is the betting public. The fact that he will compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown considering how he was rated heading into the Triple Crown series is noteworthy.

Tenfold (3rd Preakness Stakes)
Few horses had a stock increase as rapid as Tenfold in the Preakness Stakes, and he showed flashes of brilliance during a stellar homestretch burst where he caught Good Magic at the wire for third overall. Whether he can tackle the longer distance remains to be seen, but he’s shown the ability to pursue Justify.

Vino Rosso (9th Kentucky Derby)
The Wood Memorial winner was given fair consideration at the Kentucky Derby but didn’t perform at his best, which could be a result of the track and weather conditions. However, Vino Rosso was trending in the right direction with his prep-races and works prior the First Saturday in May. An additional five weeks of training could very well put him back near the winner’s circle.

Hofburg (7th Kentucky Derby)
Considering the conditions on Kentucky Derby day, Hofburg performed really well in the slop with his seventh-place finish which was well behind Justify. As a son of Tapit, Hofburg will receive consideration as he skips the Preakness to possibly start in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.

Free Drop Billy (16th Kentucky Derby)
While Free Drop Billy has many fans, he had a lackluster performance in the Kentucky Derby. It’s fair to chalk up his worrying sixteenth place finish to the weather at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day, but questions arise about his ability to hit the Belmont distance. A lot will need to go right for him in the weeks leading up to the 2018 Belmont Stakes. His last stakes victory was the 2017 Breeders’ Futurity last October.

Gronkowski (1st Burrdaon)
The name-sake and fan favorite will finally make his Triple Crown debut after missing the Kentucky Derby due to an unfortunately timed illness. He was a borderline 23/1 odds longshot for the Kentucky Derby, an odds line that was bet down because of fervent support given news NFL star Rob Gronkowski was buying a stake in the talented runner.

Blended Citizen (1st Peter Pan)
The Doug O’Neill trainee also finished fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes after winning the rebranded Jeff Ruby Steaks (pun intended), formerly the Spiral Stakes. Blended Citizen skipped the Kentucky Derby on May 5th and the Preakness Stakes on May 19th to race in the Peter Pan Stakes held on the weekend between the Classics. He posted his fastest speed rating with his Peter Pan effort, but questions still exist if he will have enough speed to contend at Belmont Park.

Noble Indy

Restoring Hope