The longest leg of the Triple Crown is back in its rightful place on the first (or second) Saturday of June. It is also back to being the last leg of the Triple Crown after being moved to June 20 during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Continuing that theme, the race is back to being 1 1/2 miles yet again at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
The 2021 Belmont Stakes will not feature a Triple Crown possibility, as Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby and then was disqualified and wiped from the record after a positive test for a banned performance enhancer, and then Rombauer won the Preakness Stakes.
We have a small field of eight for this year’s Grade I Stakes race in the Empire State. Fans have been approved to return as of June 1, so we should see a good crowd on hand as the three-year-olds look to take down a huge first-place prize.
We’ll take a look at the current BetOnline Racebook odds at time of writing for the 11th Race on Saturday June 5, the Belmont Stakes.
|1||Bourbonic||K. Carmouche||T. Pletcher||15/1|
|2||Essential Quality||L. Saez||B. Cox||2/1|
|3||Rombauer||J. Velazquez||M. McCarthy||3/1|
|4||Hot Rod Charlie||F. Prat||D. O’Neill||7/2|
|5||France Go de Ina||R. Santana Jr.||H. Mori||30/1|
|6||Known Agenda||I. Ortiz Jr.||T. Pletcher||6/1|
|7||Rock Your World||J. Rosario||J. Sadler||9/2|
|8||Overtook||M. Franco||T. Pletcher||20/1|
The odds are rather compressed here with no true favorite. We’ve got two long shots and then another 15/1 shot to go with a bunch of single-digit prices. Essential Quality is the 2/1 favorite, even though Rombauer won the Preakness Stakes. Essential Quality was the Kentucky Derby favorite, but finished fourth.
We also see Hot Rod Charlie, the show finisher in the Derby with a short price at 7/2 and then Rock Your World, who won the Santa Anita Derby, priced at 9/2.
Let’s break down all eight horses and put together a $20 Bet Slip for the race:
1. Bourbonic (15/1)
Kendrick Carmouche is back in the mount for this three-time winner from Bernardini and Dancing Afleet. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt won the Wood Memorial back in April and now returns to New York in search of a fourth win in the state. Bourbonic finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby at 30/1 odds, some 16 lengths back of the winner. Carmouche was passing tiring horses, but then the trip down the rail was impeded and he backed off.
The Wood Memorial win came via a big closing effort for Bourbonic, who was fifth coming to the final turn. This looks like a closer through and through and this is a good race to be a closer.
2. Essential Quality (2/1)
Essential Quality was unbeaten in five races, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, before finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Wins in the Breeders’ Cup Futurity and the Juvenile gave this horse a ton of helium coming into his three-year-old year. The Godolphin colt by way of Tapit and Delightful Quality, had a good final workout before being shipped up to Belmont Park.
A win in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn proved that the horse could travel and still run well. Tapit was certainly known for distance and Tapit offspring have done well in long races. The smaller field and fewer bumps at the start of the race should really help.
3. Rombauer (3/1)
How good is Rombauer? We wound up with a fairly weak field for the Preakness, even though Medina Spirit was in it and finished third. There were 10 horses and Rombauer’s first career triple-digit speed figure was good enough for the win at 12/1 odds. After Flavien Prat secured the win on the son of Twirling Candy and Cashmere, it will be John Velazquez in the mount now.
It made sense for Rombauer to win the “sprint” of the Triple Crown races, but winning the 1 1/2 mile race? That seems like a much bigger ask for a horse that has shown good closing speed, but hadn’t shown much else prior to the Preakness.
4. Hot Rod Charlie (7/2)
This is the horse that Flavien Prat will ride after running to third in the Kentucky Derby for Doug O’Neill. This horse has hit the board in five straight races, including a second in the BC Juvenile at 94/1. This was a horse that had a turf race, but everything changed going back to dirt with a maiden win and then that huge Juvenile effort. He gets better as the race goes on, but you wonder about the pedigree here and the penchant for distance.
This looks like a horse that could win a lot of money in premier events the rest of the way, but this one may be too much.
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5. France Go de Ina (30/1)
The seventh-place finisher in the Preakness Stakes will try stateside for a second time as France Go de Ina draws the fifth post for the Belmont. Trainer Hideyuki Mori also entered this horse into the Meydan back in March and wound up with a disappointing sixth-place finish. I don’t think this horse has any chance.
6. Known Agenda (6/1)
Known Agenda is maybe the hardest horse in this field to handicap. The son of Curlin has a good pedigree on that side. A ninth in the Kentucky Derby isn’t a great look, especially at around 10/1, but that was also a surprising ride after a huge speed performance in the Florida Derby. Irad Ortiz Jr. has been in the mount for three races and two of them have been wins.
Todd Pletcher took a shot in the Derby and missed. Rather than come back for the Preakness, he shipped the horse up to Belmont Park for some workouts, which have all been pretty good. This might be the spot for Known Agenda to make a big move.
7. Rock Your World (9/2)
Rock Your World was 3-for-3, including a win in the Santa Anita Derby over Media Spirit by 4 1/2 lengths, but it was not meant to be at Churchill Downs. Rock Your World finished 24 lengths back after getting off to a terrible start from the 15 post. The son of Candy Ride and Charm the Maker is getting shipped cross-country from Santa Anita for this race, which could be pretty tough. That was the same plan for the Kentucky Derby and it flopped.
John Sadler has been around long enough to know what he’s doing. That first dirt performance in the SA Derby was a huge one, but was it just a random outlier? I guess that’s the question we have to ask here.
8. Overtook (20/1)
This is the first Triple Crown race for Overtook, the son of Curlin and Got Lucky. This is another Pletcher colt and one that will be ridden by Manny Franco for just the second time. Franco was in the mount at Aqueduct for the Withers Stakes and rode to a second-place finish at 9/1 odds. A follow-up in the Peter Pan on May 8 led to another appearance on the board, but only in third.
Maybe this horse can be a closer on the long distances and that’s the hope here for Pletcher. To this point, the speed figures have been lacking. Maybe a longer race is what this horse needs.
Known Agenda has been training at Belmont in advance of this race and has a strong rider in Irad Ortiz Jr. that has been in the mount for the two best performances of this three-year-old’s career. He was in the mount for the Derby, too, but there is a lot more traffic in that race.
This feels a lot like Tapwrit, the Pletcher colt that ran sixth in the Kentucky Derby and then won the Belmont Stakes with Jose Ortiz in the mount. Here, Known Agenda has Jose’s older brother, Irad Jr. While that was Tapit and not Curlin, we’re still talking about pedigree for distance.
Essential Quality is hard to ignore here, too. The bloodline with Tapit seems like a big leg up on the field with the additional distance. Luis Saez is an excellent rider and managed to hold on to a bumpy start to finish fourth in the Kentucky Derby. This horse gets better as the race goes along, too.
These are the two that will make up an Exacta Box.
$4 Exacta Box 2/6 ($8)
Bourbonic seems like an interesting “long shot” here, as 15/1 classifies as a long shot in this race. Bourbonic has had some fine workouts in preparation for the race and Kendrick Carmouche had a huge closing run in the Wood Memorial for the win. A win bet might be a little bit presumptuous, but putting Bourbonic into exotics isn’t a bad idea.
$2 Trifecta Box 1/2/6 ($12)