Bob Baffert will not be a part of the Belmont Stakes this year. It’s not all that surprising, since it was doubtful anyway that he would have an entry after Medina Spirit came a disappointing third in the Preakness, thus nullifying a chance to win the Triple Crown (and oh, that Concert Tour was ninth in that race).
Baffert has been suspended from New York racetracks, but the Belmont Stakes will be fine proceeding without him, and some of the horses who were turned away in the first two jewels of the Triple Crown will be back.
BetOnline has set futures odds for the Belmont Stakes, which takes place over a mile and a half on June 5. Let’s do a rundown of those who are listed (naturally, this is subject to change).
ESSENTIAL QUALITY (+350) — This Kentucky Derby favorite finished a disappointing fourth. That was his first defeat after five wins, which included the Blue Grass and Breeders Cup Juvenile. Remember, he still has nearly $2.3 million in earnings.
HOT ROD CHARLIE (+450) — The Louisiana Derby winner was the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, and did not run in the Preakness.
ROMBAUER (+450) — This late runner was the come-from-behind winner of the Preakness. That may bode well for him at the longer distance. Has now won on turf, synthetic and dirt.
KNOWN AGENDA (+800) — Was one of the favorites in the Derby, but was a non-factor with a ninth-place finish.
ROCK YOUR WORLD (+800) — This Santa Anita Derby champion (beating Medina Spirit in that one) brought nothing to Churchill Downs, coming 17th, a full 24 lengths back. That was only his fourth start.
MIDNIGHT BOURBON (+1000) — Finished sixth in the Derby – his first time out of the money – but improved upon that in the Preakness, looking strong almost the whole way and finishing as the runner-up.
REBEL’S ROMANCE (+1000 at BetOnline) — Very impressive in the UAE Derby, winning by five and a half lengths. They’re hopeful about the Belmont, and his connections with Godolphin believe he will adapt very well to the longer distance.
PROMISE KEEPER (+1400) — He’s one of Todd Pletcher’s horses. Won the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes against a very short field.
KEEPMEINMIND (+2000) — Like Midnight Bourbon, he’ll be running in all three Triple Crown events. Had a tremendous two-year-old season, but not so much as a three-year-old. There were some awful results too, like a 16-length defeat to Essential Quality in the Blue Grass. And then there was a seventh-place in the Derby in his first 2021 start. However, he did fill out the superfecta at the Preakness. So, who knows?
WEYBURN (+2500) — Won the Gotham Stakes as a 46-1 shot. Fought off Chad Brown’s Crowded Trade to get there.
BROOKLYN STRONG (+3300) — Finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby, but showed a lot of promise as a two-year-old.
FRANCE GO DE INA (+3300) — Shipped in from Japan to run for the first time in the U.S. at the Preakness. Was not much of a factor, and it’s altogether possible that his connections were pointing toward the Belmont all along. Ran against Rebel’s Romance in the UAE Derby and came sixth.
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