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How to bet the 2021 Belmont

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The 153rd running of the Belmont States takes place Saturday. Under last year’s race, which was the first leg of the Triple Crown due to the coronavirus-adjusted schedule, we’re back to the Belmont as the final leg. There will be no Triple Crown winner this year, and as of this writing the Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit remains mired in controversy after two failed drug tests.

Medina Spirit’s trainer, Bob Baffert, was slapped with an indefinite ban by the New York Racing Association and thus will not be fielding any horses in the field. However, we do have the Preakness Stakes winner, Rombauer, along with the pre-race betting favorite for the Derby in Essential Quality. We also have three horses from trainer Todd Pletcher, who is based out of Belmont. 

This field isn’t the most impressive we’ve seen, but with just eight horses in the race, there’s lots of opportunity for betting purposes. This is a race to go after exotics with exactas, trifectas and even superfectas in play. Before we get to the betting picks, let’s break down the field.

The field

1. Bourbonic – This horse is one of the three Pletcher horses, but he looked overmatched in the Derby. While he isn’t in play for the win, we can’t rule any of this field out of the exotics.

2. Essential Quality – The morning-line favorite in this race, just like he was in the Kentucky Derby. This horse ran well in the Derby, posting a 100 Beyer speed figure. Of course, that was only good enough to finish fourth. Essential Quality is a threat to win this race but is better used in the exotics.

3. Rombauer – A surprise winner at the Preakness, this horse will likely draw a good number of wagers. Of course, a win here would be historic as no horse has ever skipped the Derby and then won the Preakness and Belmont. It’s also worth noting that Flavian Prat, who was on the mount for the Preakness, has jumped to the No. 4 horse, Hot Rod Charlie.

4. Hot Rod Charlie – Prat will attempt to be just the second jockey ever to win two triple crown races in the same year on different horses. This horse has fired in each of its last two races, posting a 99 Beyer in the Louisiana Derby and a 100 at the Kentucky Derby where it finished second. He has the stalking style to be in the mix at the end. A definite win candidate. 

5. France Go de Ina – This horse has no chance. We’re using it in exotics only.

6. Known Agenda – Pletcher’s top horse in this race, Known Agenda had the deck stacked against it in the Derby after drawing the rail and did well enough to rally up for ninth. Pletcher has done well at the Belmont with three career wins, but I’m saving this horse for exotics.

7. Rock Your World – Don’t look to this horse’s performance in the Derby, as the horse broke awkwardly and jockey Joel Rosario came out of the irons early. They had no shot from there. But this horse did post a 100 Beyer at the Santa Anita Derby in April and Rosario does have two wins in the Belmont. We’ve seen front runners win this race in the past, and Rock Your World has the speed to get out to the lead. 

8. Overtook – The third Pletcher horse. Could be out front early but isn’t likely to be in the mix at the end. This horse has only managed a top Beyer figure of 84. 

If you don’t want to bet exotics and prefer to stick to win bets, here’s how we could approach this race on a small budget and a larger budget:

$25 Budget

$15 win on 7
$10 win on 4

$100 Budget

$25 win, place and show bets on 7
$12 win and place bet on 4

In terms of the exotics, we have a lot of angles at our disposal, but everything starts with the 4 and 7 horses as our keys. Here are some sample wagers based on my handicapping:

$5 exacta box: 4, 7 ($10 total bet) – Adding in the 2 would make this a $30 total bet
$5 exacta: 4-7 with 2-3 ($20 total bet)
$5 exacta: 4-7 with 1-6 ($20 total bet)
$1 trifecta: 4-7 with 2-3-4-7 with all ($36 total bet)
$1 trifecta: 4-7 with all with 2-3-4-7 ($36 total bet)
$3 trifecta: 7 with 2-3-4 with 2-3-4 ($18 total bet)
$0.10 superfecta: 4-7 with 3-4-6-7 with 2 with all ($3 total bet)

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