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Thu 03/06/2021 - 06:15 EDT

Belmont Stakes Picks

The 2021 Belmont Stakes, the 153rd edition of New York’s greatest race, will be held Saturday, June 5 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. After being run at only 1 1/8 miles last year due to the rest of the Triple Crown being rescheduled during the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Belmont is once again 1 1/2 miles: the Test of the Champion.

Read on to find out all about the Belmont Stakes, including the best horses to bet and the best places to bet them.

Belmont Stakes Information

After being run later in June last year, the 2021 Belmont Stakes returns to its original place on the calendar: five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes.

There have been 13 Triple Crown winners to date, all of whom completed their sweep in the Belmont Stakes: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018).

There is no Triple Crown at stake in 2021, though Preakness winner Rombauer aims to become the first horse since Afleet Alex in 2005 to win the Preakness and the Belmont without winning the Kentucky Derby

The Belmont Stakes began in 1868, making it the oldest of the three Triple Crown races. It has been run at four different New York tracks throughout its history: Jerome Park, Morris Park, Aqueduct, and of course Belmont Park.

The most successful Belmont trainer to enter a horse in this year’s race is Todd Pletcher. Pletcher has trained three Belmont Stakes winners: Rags to Riches (2007), Palace Malice (2013), and Tapwrit (2017). Pletcher has three chances to win it again this year with Known Agenda, Bourbonic, and Overtook.

Belmont Stakes Favorites

Favorites have won the Belmont Stakes 42% of the time. However, in the last 15 years, only three favorites have won the Belmont:

  • 2020: Tiz the Law – $3.60 (Favored)
  • 2019: Sir Winston – $22.40 (Tacitus second)
  • 2018: Justify – $3.60 (Favored)
  • 2017: Tapwrit – $12.60 (Irish War Cry second)
  • 2016: Creator – $34.80 (Exaggerator eleventh)
  • 2015: American Pharoah – $3.50 (Favored)
  • 2014: Tonalist – $20.40 (California Chrome fourth)
  • 2013: Palace Malice – $29.60 (Orb third)
  • 2012: Union Rags – $7.50 (Dullahan seventh)
  • 2011: Ruler On Ice – $51.50 (Animal Kingdom sixth)
  • 2010: Drosselmeyer – $28.00 (Ice Box ninth) 
  • 2009: Summer Bird – $25.80 (Mine that Bird third)
  • 2008: Da’ Tara – $79.00 (Big Brown distanced)
  • 2007: Rags to Riches – $10.60 (Curlin second)
  • 2006: Jazil – $14.40 (Bob and John eighth)

The average winning payout over the last fifteen years is $23.15.

Essential Quality is the likely Belmont favorite in 2021. The classy Godolphin homebred has only lost once, after a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby. However, a field of quality horses has entered to challenge him.

Belmont Stakes Horses

These are the official entrants for the 2021 Belmont Stakes, along with their post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning line odds:

  1. Bourbonic - Todd Pletcher/Kendrick Carmouche (15/1)
  2. Essential Quality - Brad Cox/Luis Saez (2/1)
  3. Rombauer - Michael McCarthy/John Velazquez (3/1)
  4. Hot Rod Charlie - Doug O’Neill/Flavien Prat (7/2)
  5. France Go de Ina - Hideyuki Mori/Ricardo Santana, Jr. (30/1)
  6. Known Agenda - Todd Pletcher/Irad Ortiz, Jr. (6/1)
  7. Rock Your World - John Sadler/Joel Rosario (9/2)
  8. Overtook - Todd Pletcher/Manuel Franco (20/1)

Though these are the morning lines, the best way to make sure you get the best price on your Belmont horse is to check the odds offered by top sportsbooks and bet the Belmont Stakes online once you see odds you really like. These are the current odds on top contenders in the Belmont Stakes at several of the best online sportsbooks:

Horses bovada betonline gt-bets

Essential Quality

+225 +200 +200


+375 +300 +300

Hot Rod Charlie

+400 +350 +350

Rock Your World

+425 +450  +450

Known Agenda

+600 +600 +600

Belmont Stakes Handicapping

Essential Quality will be the favorite in Belmont. Though he comes off of a fourth-place finish in the Derby, his first-ever loss, he still ran a good race, rallying from a tough start to get close in a race where speed held. He is consistent, versatile, and tactical. He is also by Tapit, a stallion who has already produced three Belmont winners at a mile and a half.

The best bet to beat Essential Quality is Known Agenda. A tough start from the rail got him too far back early in the Kentucky Derby. But, he drew a cleaner gate in a smaller field this time and should be able to stay in range. His trainer Todd Pletcher knows how to train Belmont winners, he gets leading Belmont rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the saddle, and Known Agenda has a stellar pedigree to stretch out to a mile and a half.

Rock Your World is the horse everyone will probably have to catch in the lane. Although a rough start in the Kentucky Derby knocked him off of his front-running style, he should come away better in this smaller field, especially with a near-outside gate and no speed outside him. Since speed can play well at Belmont on big days, he should get a good trip.

Some of the shorter-priced horses have serious questions. Rombauer is in excellent form after a Preakness win and the Blue Grass showed he could be tactical, but he has to turn the tables on Essential Quality and his pedigree raises questions about the mile and a half. Hot Rod Charlie is also questionable at a mile and a half from a pedigree perspective, especially underneath, and trainer Doug O’Neill has a poor record in the Belmont Stakes.

Belmont Stakes Picks

Here are the best bets for the 2021 Belmont Stakes:

  • $20 win - Known Agenda
  • $2 exacta key - Known Agenda with Essential Quality and Rock Your World
  • $1 trifecta key - Known Agenda with Essential Quality, Rock Your World, and Overtook
  • $0.20 superfecta key - Known Agenda with Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Overtook, Rombauer

Belmont Stakes Card

The undercard for the Belmont Stakes features some of the best races of the year in all divisions. Saturday’s card features eight other graded stakes, including seven other Grade 1 races. Consider these horses in win and exotic wagers throughout the day:

  • Race 3 - $400,000 Woody Stephens S. (G1) - #3 Jackie’s Warrior
  • Race 4 - $400,000 Brooklyn S. (G2) - #7 Ajaaweed
  • Race 5 - $500,000 Acorn S. (G1) - #2 Obligatory
  • Race 6 - $400,000 Jaipur S. (G1) - #11 Got Stormy, #6 Bound for Nowhere
  • Race 7 - $500,000 Ogden Phipps S. (G1) - #3 Letruska
  • Race 8 - $500,000 Just a Game S. (G1) - #11 Blowout
  • Race 9 - $1 million Metropolitan H. (G1) - #6 Knicks Go
  • Race 10 - $750,000 Manhattan S. - #9 Gufo, #2 Bye Bye Melvin

Where to Bet the Belmont

Now that you know all about the Belmont Stakes, it’s time to place your bets! Make sure to make an account on one or more of the top online racebooks. Then, you can claim your sign-up bonuses, and get the best odds on your pick in the Belmont Stakes!