The final Triple Crown race of 2023 is creeping into sight, as the Belmont Stakes will be staged on Saturday, June 10. A Triple Crown winner won’t be crowned this year, as Mage won the Kentucky Derby, before the same runner could only finish third behind National Treasure in the Preakness Stakes three weeks ago. However, a thrilling renewal of the Belmont Stakes looks set to be staged this year, with no shortage of realistic win contenders involved.
Belmont Stakes 2023 Odds
|Angel of Empire||+350|
|Red Route One||+1600|
Previous Belmont Stakes Winners
The final Triple Crown race often attracts the smallest field, with horses aged three competing over 1 ½ miles for the first time. There have been some standout winners of the race in recent years, including American Pharoah and Justify in 2015 and 2018, respectively.
Todd Pletcher registered a victory in the race last year, with Mo Donegal landing a stunning victory under Irad Ortiz Jr. Essential Quality also landed a first success in the race for Brad Cox and Godolphin back in 2021.
Forte The Horse To Beat
Todd Pletcher has an incredibly strong hand in his bid to win the Belmont Stakes for the fourth time. Forte had been the main hope to win the Triple Crown since the start of the year, but those plans were dashed on Derby day morning, as he was scratched late through injury.
However, the three-year-old remains the standout star based on the form in the book, with his victory in the G1 Florida Derby over Mage being the best run of any horses aged three in Grade 1 company in 2023. The main doubts surrounding his chances this weekend will come from the fact that this is his first start since injury, but there is certainly value in siding with last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile hero.
Angel of Empire Could Be The Progressive Contender
Brad Cox landed a first win in the Belmont Stakes with Essential Quality two years ago, and there are certainly similarities with his leading chance this year. Angel of Empire ran a storming race in the Kentucky Derby to finish third, and there is every chance that he will be even more progressive over this new trip.
Angel of Empire could be the standout runner this weekend after previously landing the G1 Arkansas Derby and G2 Risen Star. A solid run this weekend on his first effort over this new distance could see him emerge as the top choice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic betting for later in the season.
National Treasure Represents Preakness Form
The Preakness Stakes form is represented by the winner of the middle Crown race, as National Treasure battled well to get the better of Blazing Sevens at Pimlico in the middle of May. However, it isn’t a given that he will enjoy this step up in distance, as he appeared to be full out when waiting for the line in the Preakness Stakes.
He also has form to merit taking him on this weekend, including being well beaten by Forte in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, and his comeback efforts in the G3 Sham and G1 Santa Anita Derby could also highlight limitations in this company.
Belmont Stakes 2023 Prediction
Forte is certainly the correct favorite this weekend, but Angel of Empire could be the best win play. The Cox-trained runner was excellent in the Kentucky Derby, and there is every indication that the three-year-old will continue to thrive over the Classic distance. Forte looks a solid underneath play, while Red Route One is a contender that connections have been bullish about when talking about this Belmont Stakes distance.