We have our finger on the pulse of all of the horse racing betting action this year, and we know that this year's Belmont Stakes odds are going to be amongst the toughest to beat. Today, we look at the post positions and morning line odds for all 14 horses in the field, and we make our Belmont Stakes picks for the horses that we think will and will not be able to challenge in the third leg of the Triple Crown.
Belmont Stakes Post Draws and Morning Line Odds
1: Frac Daddy (30 to 1)
2: Freedom Child (8 to 1)
3: Overanalyze (12 to 1)
4: Giant Finish (30 to 1)
5: Orb (3 to 1)
6: Incognito (20 to 1)
7: Oxbow (5 to 1)
8: Midnight Taboo (30 to 1)
9: Revolutionary (9 to 2)
10: Will Take Charge (20 to 1)
11: Vyjack (20 to 1)
12: Palace Malice (15 to 1)
13: Unlimited Budget (8 to 1)
14: Golden Soul (10 to 1)
After a three-week layoff, it's time for "The Test of Champions," the Belmont Stakes! A whopping 14 horses are going to run up against both the Preakness Stakes winner and the Kentucky Derby winner. The race runs 1 ½ miles, the longest distance in American horse racing, and any colt (or filly) that can win this race has his (or her) name put in lore. We have seen some tremendous surprises on the Belmont Stakes betting lines through the years. We have a lot of data on all of these horses in the field, but what we don't know for sure is how any of these horses are going to react to running 1 ½ miles.
Egg was all over our faces at the Preakness Stakes when Orb was basically shut out and was put on the rail with no chance of winning the race. Part of the problem, of course, was the ride that Jockey Joel Rosario gave him a terrible run, pinning him on the rail with no way out until it was just too late to change the outcome of the raise. However, when you look back at the race itself, you have to think if Titletown Five wasn't stuck in front of Orb for such a big portion of the race, Rosario might have guided him to victory. If Orb were to have won the Preakness, he would be 1 to 5 right now and not 3 to 1. These are clearly the best odds in the field for any of the 14 horses as we see it.
The 30 to 1 underdogs are all farces in their own way. Frac Daddy hasn't run better than an 81 Beyer Speed Rating since breaking his maiden last November. Giant Finish was a 23 to 1 underdog in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes and a 39 to 1 underdog at the Kentucky Derby for a reason. Midnight Taboo has only run three races in his career, and none of the three were all that remarkable. His breeding is good, but he isn't likely to finish in the Top 3 at the Belmont.
Some of the favorites too, seem to be a bit of fool's gold as we see it. The third favorite on the board, Oxbow is a horse that we didn't think much of at the Preakness Stakes. He got the perfect run and went wire to wire without much of a challenge. Jockey Gary Stevens knows what he is doing at Belmont Park, but we just don't see how this is happening once again. Oxbow's workouts haven't been nearly as good here at Belmont as they were at Pimlico the week leading up to the Preakness.
Freedom Child and Golden Soul are two more horses that we are taking out of the equation, especially if the track happens to be clean and fast. Both of these horses had great runs in the mud in their respective races leading up to this one. Golden Soul finished second at the Kentucky Derby in surprising fashion as a huge underdog, while Freedom Child romped to a 13+ length victory at the Peter Pan Stakes. Generally, the winner of the Peter Pan is a horse that we want to look out for at the Belmont Stakes, knowing that the two races are run at the same track, but we aren't feeling it with Freedom Child.
There is one filly coming this year into this race, Unlimited Budget. She has a great name for a bettor, and she has won all but one of her career races, but there have only been three fillies win this race in its history, and only one in the last 111 years. Perhaps at 15 to 1, we would consider Unlimited Budget, but at 8 to 1, she just isn't worth it.
Palace Malice has been the best workout horse here in this race, and if we learned nothing else from Oxbow at the Preakness, it's that the horses that have the best workouts are often the ones that have good races. We definitely like this horse in our exotics, as just as do like the idea of putting Revolutionary in there as well. Revolutionary has had five weeks off now since finishing third at the Kentucky Derby, and we don't think that the oddsmakers got it wrong when they made him one of the favorites in the race. Revolutionary is a big horse with a lot of heart, and he has had some amazing runs of late. The time off should set him up for a huge run at the Belmont Stakes, and if he can get the distance right at 1 ½ miles, Revolutionary is one of the only horses that we think can really pull off the upset.
The other horses that we are going to consider are Vyjack and Overanalyze. Overanalyze finished 11th at the Kentucky Derby, and he doesn't have the best breeding in the world, but what he does have is a lot of great races against some big time horses. He won here at Belmont Park last September in the Futurity Race, besting the field even after getting bumped at the gate. He has also run tremendously well in New York, and not all that well much of anywhere else, though Overanalyze did win the Arkansas Derby as well.
Vyjack feels like he is still running in the Kentucky Derby. He posted just a 27 Beyer Speed Rating, and he had a horrid run in the slop. However, this is a colt that won the first four races in his career, and he was only beaten at Aqueduct in the Wood Memorial by a length against Verrazano, another great three-year old colt. If you believe that the Derby was a fluke, Vyjack at 20 to 1 presents a great price.
However, in the end, this is Orb's race to lose. He is the best three-year old horse in racing today, and we would be particularly surprised if he didn't ultimately turn out triumphant. It's a tough call between Vyjack and Overanalyze for fourth best, but we think that Palace Malice and Revolutionary will finish out a relatively low priced trifecta.
Belmont Stakes Superfecta Pick
2: Palace Malice