Betting guides > Bet the Belmont Stakes
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How to bet the Belmont Stakes
As post time approaches for the 2017 Belmont Stakes, the facts on the ground are these:
That leaves the Belmont Stakes, at least recently, as the most challenging handicapping puzzle among the triumvirate. As noted earlier, only five favorites have won the Belmont in the last 25 years, while 12 of the past 25 winners (including seven of the previous nine prior to 2017) started at double-digit odds.
In an era when horsemen appreciate greater spacing between starts, it’s not surprising that the Belmont is not won as often by horses that competed in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Since 2000, only the exceptional champions Point Given, Afleet Alex, and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah have done so.
Barring the presence of a horse of that talent and fortitude, it’s been more profitable to focus on fresher horses, in particular those that may or may not have run so well in the Kentucky Derby and subsequently skipped the Preakness.
Since the turn of the century, Belmont winners with that profile include Commendable (2000, $39.60), Empire Maker (2002, $6), Birdstone (2004, $74), Jazil (2006, $14.40), Summer Bird (2009, $25.80), Union Rags (2012, $7.50), Palace Malice (2013, $29.60), and Creator (2016, $34.80). The filly Rags to Riches (2007, $10.60) is another than won off a five-week rest, in her case following a win in the Kentucky Oaks.
The bigger bombs of the era were horses making their first appearance in the Triple Crown with no graded stakes success to their credit. Among these were Sarava (2002, $142.50), Da’ Tara (2008, $79), and Ruler On Ice (2011, $51.50). The final group of Belmont winners were those making their Triple Crown debuts that competed in the primary local prep four weeks out (either the Peter Pan or Dwyer). Both Drosselmeyer (2010, $28) and Tonalist (2014, $20.40) paid nicely.
With all these longshot winners obviously comes the potential for healthy exotic payoffs, in particular vertical wagers like the Exacta, Trifecta, and Superfecta. But even if the rare favorite happens to dominate the Belmont, value in the exotics are the re due to the massive pools.
Since 2000, only the favorite-dominated 2001 renewal and the six-horse 2003 edition produced a Trifecta that paid less than $100 for a $2 ticket.
Exactas that included the top betting choices have also paid decently. In 2001, for example, the Point Given/A.P. Valentine Exacta (first and third choices) paid off at 9-1. In 2007, the Rags to Riches/Curlin Exacta (second and first choice) was an 11-1 payoff. Even the American Pharoah/Frosted Exacta (odds-on favorite and second choice) in 2015 was a respectable 5.8-1 proposition.
The 2017 Belmont is scheduled to be the historically rare but increasingly more common edition of the race that does not include either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner. This will be the fifth time this has happened since 2000, with the only notable trend being the post-time favorite has placed only once in the four previous attempts during that span.
It may seem counterintuitive for such a long race, but horses with tactical speed generally fare best in the Belmont rather than deep closers who are sure to get the distance but aren’t necessarily quick enough to beat them all. Gallopers rather than closers with no early foot are the ones to focus on. With the exceptions of even-money favorite Afleet Alex, Jazil, and Creator, no Belmont winner since 2000 was worse than seventh after the first call (midway through the first turn).
Whether you think the Belmont is ripe for an upset or will be the domain of the top betting choices, the best way to express that opinion will be through TwinSpires.com.