10-year Belmont Stakes trends favor Forte, Tapit Trice in 2023 field

June 10th, 2023

Champion two-year-old Forte will make his Triple Crown debut in the 155th running of the Belmont S. (G1) on Saturday, June 10, at Belmont Park.

The morning line favorite for the 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1) scratched the day of the Run for the Roses on May 6 at Churchill Downs and subsequently missed the Preakness S. (G1) after he was placed on the vet’s list for 14 days.

The Todd Pletcher pupil is part of a contentious field of nine in the third jewel of the Triple Crown and will face Preakness hero National Treasure, Derby third-place finisher Angel of Empire, along with stablemate Tapit Trice.

Below we examine some of the 10-year trends of the Belmont S., from trainers and jockeys to leading sires and more, to narrow down the most likely winner of the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion.”

Past Belmont S. winners

YearHorseTrainerJockeySireKentucky Derby startPrevious Belmont start
2022
Mo Donegal
Todd Pletcher
Irad Ortiz
Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie)
Finished 5th
Won maiden special weight in second Belmont start
2021
Essential Quality
Brad Cox
Luis Saez
Tapit (Pulpit)
Finished 4th
N/A
2020* (run at 1 1/8 miles)
Tiz the Law
Barclay Tagg
Manny Franco
Constitution (Tapit)
Finished 2nd (run after Belmont in 2020)
Won Champagne S. in lone previous Belmont start
2019
Sir Winston
Mark Casse
Joel Rosario
Awesome Again (Deputy Minister)
N/A
2nd in Peter Pan S. in lone previous Belmont start
2018
Justify
Bob Baffert
Mike Smith
Scat Daddy (Johannesburg)
Won Kentucky Derby and Preakness
N/A
2017
Tapwrit
Todd Pletcher
Jose Ortiz
Tapit (Pulpit)
Finished 6th
N/A
2016
Creator
Steve Asmussen
Irad Ortiz
Tapit (Pulpit)
Finished 13th
N/A
2015
American Pharoah
Bob Baffert
Victor Espinoza
Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker)
Won Kentucky Derby and Preakness
N/A
2014
Tonalist
Christophe Clement
Joel Rosario
Tapit (Pulpit)
N/A
Won Peter Pan S. in lone previous Belmont start
2013
Palace Malice
Todd Pletcher
Mike Smith
Curlin (Smart Strike)
Finished 12th
2nd in maiden special weight in lone previous Belmont start

Winningest Belmont trainers since 2013

In 2022, Pletcher claimed his fourth career Belmont victory with Mo Donegal, breaking a tie with trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled two Triple Crown champions in American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018). Baffert also won the Belmont with Point Given in 2001.

Pletcher, who has two starters in the 2023 Belmont field, also won the third leg of the Triple Crown with Tapwrit in 2017, Palace Malice in 2013, and filly Rags to Riches in 2007. He's currently tied with D. Wayne Lukas for most Belmont victories among active trainers; James G. Rowe is first on the all-time win list as a trainer, with eight Belmont trophies.

Winningest Belmont jockeys since 2013

Irad Ortiz Jr. (Mo Donegal, Creator), Joel Rosario (Sir Winston, Tonalist), and Mike Smith (Justify, Palace Malice) have each won two Belmont S. races over the last decade. Ortiz will ride Forte, while Rosario will guide Red Route One. Smith will not compete in the 2023 Belmont.

Of the other jockeys named to ride in the 2023 race, Manny Franco (Hit Show) won in 2020 with Tiz the Law, when the Belmont was run at 1 1/8 miles due to a shake-up of the Triple Crown schedule because of COVID-19. Tapit Trice rider Luis Saez is also a recent Belmont winner with Essential Quality in 2021, and John Velazquez (National Treasure) is a two-time Belmont winner with Rags to Riches and Union Rags (2012). Jose Ortiz (Tapwrit) has picked up the mount on Tapit Shoes.

First-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Javier Castellano, who led Mage to a 15-1 upset victory in 2023, will mount Arcangelo, as Mage will pass on the Belmont after finishing third in the Preakness. 

Winningest Belmont sires since 2013

Three-time North American leading sire Tapit has produced four of the last 10 winners and is the grandsire of 2020 champ Tiz the Law, by Constitution.

Two of the starters in the 2023 Belmont field were sired by Tapit, including Tapit Trice and Tapit Shoes, while Hit Show, Arcangelo, and Il Miracolo are all out of Tapit mares.

Winningest Belmont post position since 2013

Only post position 2 has produced multiple winners (two) over the past decade. In the history of the race, post 1 is the winningest post position, with 24 victories, followed by posts 3 and 5, with 15 apiece.

Belmont winners who ran in the Kentucky Derby

Eight of the last 10 Belmont winners raced in the Kentucky Derby, but only American Pharoah and Justify visited the winner's circle at Churchill Downs as well.

Since 2013, Sir Winston (2019) and Tonalist (2014) have been the only two Belmont winners to skip the Derby. Of the last eight Belmont winners who raced on the first Saturday in May, their average finishing position in the Kentucky Derby was 5.5.

Among the 2023 field, Angel of Empire came home third in the Run for the Roses, while Hit Show finished fifth and Tapit Trice was seventh.

Belmont winners who had a previous start at Belmont Park

Five of last 10 Belmont winners had prior experience at Belmont Park, including the most recent victor, Mo Donegal, who broke his maiden in his second start at the track.

Among the 2023 field, only two have raced at Belmont prior to Saturday. Forte graduated at first asking when facing four rivals in a maiden special weight on May 27, 2022, and Arcangelo won his lone start at Belmont when triumphing by a head in the Peter Pan (G3) on May 13 of this year.

Past Belmont S. winners

YearHorseTrainerJockeySireKentucky Derby startPrevious Belmont start
2022
Mo Donegal
Todd Pletcher
Irad Ortiz
Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie)
Finished 5th
Won maiden special weight in second Belmont start
2021
Essential Quality
Brad Cox
Luis Saez
Tapit (Pulpit)
Finished 4th
N/A
2020* (run at 1 1/8 miles)
Tiz the Law
Barclay Tagg
Manny Franco
Constitution (Tapit)
Finished 2nd (run after Belmont in 2020)
Won Champagne S. in lone previous Belmont start
2019
Sir Winston
Mark Casse
Joel Rosario
Awesome Again (Deputy Minister)
N/A
2nd in Peter Pan S. in lone previous Belmont start
2018
Justify
Bob Baffert
Mike Smith
Scat Daddy (Johannesburg)
Won Kentucky Derby and Preakness
N/A
2017
Tapwrit
Todd Pletcher
Jose Ortiz
Tapit (Pulpit)
Finished 6th
N/A
2016
Creator
Steve Asmussen
Irad Ortiz
Tapit (Pulpit)
Finished 13th
N/A
2015
American Pharoah
Bob Baffert
Victor Espinoza
Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker)
Won Kentucky Derby and Preakness
N/A
2014
Tonalist
Christophe Clement
Joel Rosario
Tapit (Pulpit)
N/A
Won Peter Pan S. in lone previous Belmont start
2013
Palace Malice
Todd Pletcher
Mike Smith
Curlin (Smart Strike)
Finished 12th
2nd in maiden special weight in lone previous Belmont start

Most likely Belmont S. winner based on 10-year trends

Four-time Belmont-winning trainer Pletcher has an excellent shot to add a fifth Belmont tally, with Forte and Tapit Trice. While Forte was unable to compete in the 2023 Derby, the 2022 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner has a number of factors in his favor regarding a potential Belmont victory. He'll have a two-time Belmont winner aboard in Irad Ortiz, and the son of Violence showed an affinity for the Belmont track when he romped to a 7 3/4-length victory on debut. However, the champion colt is returning off a 10-week layoff, which creates some uncertainty with his form. Each of the last 10 Belmont winners either raced in the Kentucky Derby or Peter Pan the month prior.

Tapit Trice is another intriguing Pletcher runner, and his resume is all the more appealing as a son of Tapit who finished seventh in the Derby. He'll also have a recent Belmont winner in the saddle, and he drew post 2, which has produced 13 Belmont winners.

Outside of the Pletcher contingent, Hit Show could play spoiler out of Brad Cox's barn. The Candy Ride colt can trace his lineage back to Tapit via his dam's side, and he'll be guided by one-time Belmont winner Luis Saez. Hit Show also finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby, the same finishing position as Mo Donegal, and drew post 7, which has accounted for 14 previous Belmont victories.