There are two main approaches to wagering strategies: Sometimes it’s about the pick and sometimes it’s about the wagering structure, and when it comes to the Belmont Stakes on June 11 at Belmont Park it’s about the wagering structure.

It’s a big race and thus a top pick is mandatory, and for that purpose Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator is the tab, but unlike that Preakness win where I pretty much needed him to run well to cash a ticket, that won’t be the case after 1 ½ miles around Big Sandy.

The other two I’m most interested in working into my plays are Tampa Bay Derby winner Destin and U.A.E. Derby winner Lani. Followers of this space along the Triple Crown trail might remember that Destin and Lani were the two horses I liked least in the Derby, but that had nothing to do with their talents and everything to do with variables that are no longer in play.

Yes, there are still some concerns: Destin has had only 1 race in the past 13 weeks, and Lani has some issues before and in the early parts of the race, but we’re getting the right prices on both these horses considering Destin is among the fastest of this group at 1 1/16 miles, and Lani appears most fit based on his training regimen.

What other opinions will factor into my wagering strategy?

  • The Oaklawn form doesn’t feel as good as other people think it is. This mostly applies to Arkansas Derby winner Creator and Southwest Stakes winner Suddenbreakingnews. They’re “in form” enough not to dismiss them as exotics contenders but think they will be underlays for the win;
  • Maiden winners Seeking the Soul and Forever d’Oro and maiden Trojan Nation can’t win. I mean, they can win, but at 50-to-1 there’s no point in betting any of them to do so, as they should be 100-to-1 minimum.

THE PLAYS:

$10 Across the board on Lani at 15-to-1 or better ($30)

$5 exacta box 2, 10, 11 ($30)

$0.50 trifecta 2, 10, 11 with 2, 10, 11 with all ($33)

$0.50 triecta 2, 10, 11 with all with 2, 10, 11 ($33)

$0.50 trifecta 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13 with 2, 10, 11 with 2, 10, 11 ($21)

$0.10 superfecta 2, 10 with 2, 10 with all with all ($22)

$0.10 superfecta 2, 10 with all with 2, 10 with all ($22)

$0.10 superfecta 2, 10 with all with all with 2, 10 ($22)

$0.10 superfecta 1, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13 with 2, 10 with 2, 10 with all ($14)

$0.10 superfecta 1, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13 with 2, 10 with all with 2, 10 ($14)

$1 exacta box 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 12, 13 ($56)

$1 tri key 11 with 2, 10 with ALL ($22)

$1 tri key 11 with ALL with 2, 10 ($22)

$0.50 tri key 11 over 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 12, 13 ($28)

$369 total