The Belmont Stakes takes place at Belmont Park in New York. It is the final leg of the famed Triple Crown series which also features the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
The 1.5-mile “Test of the Champion” promises to be a wide-open affair in the betting markets. This is because Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing will not be running in the race.
Where to Bet on the Belmont Stakes
At the time of writing, Classic Empire is the clear 7/4 favorite on Belmont Stakes online betting sites with Epicharis and Lookin at Lee at 9/2 apiece. Tapwrit (6/1), Senior Investment (7/1), and Irish War Cry (9/1) make up the rest of the top 6 horses in the betting.
We will begin today’s post with a look at the latest betting odds for each horse and then continue below with a look at the best runners and wrap things up with a look at some of our favorite Belmont Stakes betting tips and statistics.
Belmont Stakes Betting Odds
The table below shows the latest Belmont Stakes betting odds as published by bookmakers ahead of this years race.
One of the main things to keep in mind when betting on the Belmont Stakes is the distance. Almost all horses that compete in the third jewel of the Triple Crown come here with no previous experience running at such a distance. By way of comparison, the Kentucky Derby checks in at 1 ¼ miles, and the Preakness Stakes runs 1 3/16 miles. An extra quarter mile may not sound like much, but it has a huge impact on the race.
Experienced jockeys play an even larger role here than any other major race on the calendar. Old hands frequently emphasize the importance of patience in running this race. Running the horse flat out from the beginning is a recipe for disaster, especially with horses trained their entire lives for shorter races.
As Kent Desormeaux notes:
“It’s such an enormous track that even the horses get lost.”
So, take careful note of the jockeys as you plan your Belmont Stakes wagers. The horses are of utmost importance too of course but do not discount a winning jockey. This is one of the most strategic tracks in the world.
Horse racing sites are now taking antepost (early) wagers on the winner of the Belmont Stakes. If you want to lock in your price now, you’re welcome to visit these bookmakers and take the prices you see below.
Note that these odds are from non-USA betting sites only. If you live in the United States, you can still bet on the Belmont Stakes online, but you will have to wait until a few days before the race. Legal US horse racing sites do not accept antepost wagers.
The Likely Suspects
The Belmont Stakes is a greater test of stamina than the other two Triple Crown events as it is the longest race at 1 mile 4 furlongs. As I’ll reveal later on, favorites have a pretty poor record in the race in recent years.
Nonetheless, let’s take a closer look at the leading horses according to current Belmont Stakes odds.
Belmont Stakes Betting Tips
And now we present some general tips, advice and statistics that will be useful for betting on the Belmont Stakes successfully. These tips are gleaned from past experience and are not necessarily guarantees of future outcomes, but overall they should prove useful in forming an overall betting strategy.
Long Odds Horses Fare Well in the Belmont Stakes
The Belmont Stakes is historically a race where long shots perform surprisingly well. In a sense, this is not a surprise since it is rare for a race run on dirt in the United States to exceed nine furlongs, so there is an element of unpredictability at play.
Consider this: many winners of the race have done so at odds of 11/1 or greater. On the reverse, note that pre-race betting favorites do not have a great record at Belmont.
We should note that this is more of a recent trend than anything too long-term. The further back in time we look, the more often we see pre-race favorites taking 1st place.
It’s possible the current “trend” we see today with pre-race favorites failing to live up to expectations is just a blip rather than an actual trend. On the other hand, it’s possible something has changed with the way the betting public is exposed to likely runners which results in the inflated odds on horses that become overvalued. In either case, the main takeaway is that betting favorites are far from guaranteed.
Don’t Focus Too Much on Deep Closers
While you would expect the nature of the race to favor horses that finish strong from way back in the pack, history suggests otherwise. In recent years, it has been rare for any horse to win the race when more than five lengths behind at any stage. As such, it is a wise endeavor for bettors to look at frontrunners.
That’s not to say we should rule out “closers” in general. It is the deep closers that have issues winning at Belmont. This DRF article explains the distinction well. It’s true that this is a long race and pacing is important, but runners cannot afford to fall too far behind early because it is also a grueling race. There’s only so much distance a horse can make up once he starts falling behind.
Horses That Have Never Won a Stakes Race Can Win
Several recent winners had never won a Stakes race before they won the Belmont Stakes.
Derby and Preakness Winners Do Not Fare Well at Belmont
The likes of Jazil, Summer Bird, and Union Rags have all won the Belmont Stakes after failing to win the Kentucky Derby and skipping the Preakness Stakes. The Triple Crown races are contested in relatively quick succession, so trainers often pull a horse out of the Preakness Stakes after the chance of a Triple Crown is gone at the first hurdle.
Likewise, Preakness winners do not have much of a winning record at the Belmont Stakes. Looking back at past performances of Preakness winners shows that American Pharoah was the only recent Preakness winner to follow that victory with a win at the Belmont Stakes.
We have to go back all the way to 1994 before we find three other horses who won both at Preakness and at Belmont. Those were Afleet Alex in 2005, Point Given in 2001 and Tabasco Cat in 1994.
The record gets even worse for Kentucky Derby winners. With the exception of American Pharoah in 2015, we have to go all the way back to 1995 to find a Derby winner who went on to win at Belmont. That was the year when Thunder Gulch won the Kentucky Derby, finished third in the Preakness Stakes and then won the Belmont Stakes.
Consider Active Horses
Practically every recent winner of the Belmont Stakes had run at least twice that season and within the last 40 days. Also, look for horses that have previously won a race over a distance of at least 1 mile.
This almost seems contradictory to the previous Belmont Stakes betting tip, but we do not want horses who have gone rusty. There’s a world of difference between a horse who has been sitting idly for 6+ weeks and one who just threw everything he had into a Triple Crown race. Derby and Preakness winners may be overworked, but horses that have at least been active over the past 40 days tend to stay in form.
Wes Burns has more than a decade’s worth of experience as a writer, researcher, and analyst in the legal online betting industry and is co-founder of OnlineBettingSites.com. Wes approaches his work from the viewpoint of players.