The Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park wraps of the Triple Crown, three races over a short span of just five weeks that bring together the best three-year-olds in racing.
There is nothing quite like a Belmont Stakes with a Triple Crown bid hanging in the balance. We have been lucky enough to see history twice in just three years. American Pharoah become the first Triple Crown winner in more than three decades in 2015 and then Justify made it two in the same decade in 2018.
From Affirmed in 1978 to American Pharoah in 2015, fans of the Belmont Stakes saw quite a few near misses. 13 came to Belmont Park looking to make history and they all came up short, including three years in a row from 1997 to 1999 when Silver Charm, Real Quiet and Charismatic failed to make history.
Since American Pharoah became the 13th Triple Crown winner, we have come to Belmont Park without a Triple Crown on the line in each of the last six years. Well, the hopes were still alive in the pandemic year of 2020 as the Belmont Stakes was run first, but Tiz the Law came up short in the Kentucky Derby.
Even with no Triple Crown bid, the Belmont Stakes is still a very exciting race, and the New York Racing Association has made Belmont Stakes Day one of the best wagering days of the year with a total of eight Grade 1 races which bring out the best of the best in every division.
Types of Belmont Stakes Bets
The Triple Crown wraps up with Belmont Stakes online betting, a challenging race to handicap with none of the runners having gone 1 ½ miles in their careers. You can go with a basic Win wager on your favorite horse or try to hit one out of the park by nailing the Trifecta or Superfecta.
Here is a quick explanation of the basic wagers for Belmont Stakes betting:
If you wager $2 to Win on your horse, you collect only if your horse finished first. We have seen chalky results in the last few years. Essential Quality paid $4.60 to win in 2021 and Tiz the Law returned just $3.60.
If you wager $2 to Place, your horse must finish first or second for you to collect. But remember, you don’t get the Win payoff, just the Place payoff, which is generally smaller than the win payoff. The favorites ran one-two in 2021, which depressed the place payoffs. Essential Quality paid $3.00 to place while Hot Rod Charlie paid $4.10.
If you wager $2 to Show, your horse must finish first, second, or third and you only collect the Show payoff, because three different horses get paid off. In 2021 the three show payoffs were small—$2.60, $2.90 and $3.50.
The Exacta involves selecting the top two finishers in the race in exact order. A common way to play an Exacta would be a $2 Exacta box. If you liked the #1 and #2 horse, a $2 Exacta box would cost $4. If those two horses run first and second in either order, you win. With the favorite and second choice in Belmont Stakes betting running one-two, the $2 exacta in 2021 paid a paltry $15.00. It was not much better in 2020 where the favorite Tiz the Law topped the runner up Dr Post, who was 7-1, the $2 exacta returning $19.60.
Hitting a Trifecta gets a bit harder as it involves correctly selecting to top three finishers in exact order.
It is generally better to key one or two horses (the contenders you have the strongest opinions on) in the top spot and spread in the second and third spots. For example here are a few ways to get good coverage with modest investments on a $.50 increment:
1,2 with 1,2,3 with 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $8
1,2 with 1,2,3,4 with 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $12
1,2,3 with 1,2,3,4 with 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $18
The favorites ran one-two-three in the 2021 Belmont Stakes and the trifecta reflected that, the $1 return coming in at just $21.70. In 2019 when Sir Winston pulled off the upset at 10-1 over the 9-5 favorite Tacitus and third place finisher Joevia (21-1), the $1 trifecta paid $1,244.00.
The Superfecta gets even trickier as you must correctly select the top four finishers in the race. Most tracks have lowered the Superfecta bet increment to .10 cents including Belmont Park. The .10 cent superfecta paid just $6.07 in 2021, but in 2019 the wager came back at $1,042.80.
Other Exotic Wagers
There are plenty of other wagers on Belmont Stakes Day including horizontal wagers like the Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6 that include the Belmont Stakes and other races on the card. There is a wide variety of wagers that combine the Friday and Saturday cards including a Pick 4, a Pick 6, and two-day daily doubles that combine the New York Stakes and Met Mile, the True North and Woody Stephens, and the Belmont Gold Cup and Belmont Stakes.
How to Bet the Belmont Stakes Online
The best way to wager on horse racing is online and there are plenty of incentives to help you get started with your Belmont Stakes betting.
New players can get a generous sign-up bonus, player rewards, free past performances and more at the top rated legal racebooks in the U.S. It is easy to sign up, there are plenty of options to make a quick and safe deposit and you can be wagering literally in minutes after signing up.
Here are the top rated racebooks for Belmont Stakes betting:
TVG is offering a $300 Risk Free wager for new players and has a wide variety of players rewards including money back specials. You can get cash back If your horse comes in second or third with the TVG Money Back Special on select races. Their betting platform is one of the best in the business and their television network is available on Direct TV and Dish Network and can be streamed for free using the Roku or Firestick app.
Twinspires is one of the most popular racebooks in the U.S. and you can sign up and start betting quickly. In addition to a generous sign-up bonus, Twinspires offers free past performances and live streaming of the races on their platform. Twinspires offers a VIP Elite program with great players rewards and flexibility to wager from any of your portable devices. There are plenty of options to make deposits and withdrawals from your account quick and easily.
AmWager offers free streaming of the races online and up to a $500 sign up bonus. After you sign up you earn 10% bonus cash back for every eligible dollar wagered for the first 30 days. If you wager $5,000 over the 30-day period, you will receive the maximum $500 bonus cash back. In addition, there are no minimum play requirements to earn cash rewards and they are deposited directly into your account daily. AmWager offers a wide variety of tracks including racing from the UK, Hong Kong and Australia as well as the top harness racetracks.
Who to Bet on for Belmont Stakes
We usually get a field of about 10 for the third jewel of the Triple Crown, a mixture of Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes alum as well as a couple of new shooters.
Horses running in the Kentucky Derby and then skipping the Preakness and the quick two week turnaround tend to come back and show improvement when they run in the Belmont Stakes off a five-week break.
Five of the last 10 winners of the Belmont Stakes used that path, and none of the five landed in the money in the Kentucky Derby. Essential Quality was the latest, the beaten favorite on Derby Day in a fourth-place finish.
After skipping the Preakness Stakes, he came back with the best effort of his career winning the Belmont Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths over Hot Rod Charlie, who had run third in the Derby and also skipped the Preakness.
The Kentucky Derby then skip the Preakness angle has led to some nice payoffs in recent years. Creator was a well beaten 13th in the Kentucky Derby and came back to win the Belmont Stakes paying $34.80 in 2016. In 2013 Palace Malice was a disappointing 12th in the Kentucky Derby and rebounded in the Belmont Stakes to the tune of $29.60.
Belmont Stakes Favorites
Over the last 36 years we have seen nine betting favorites win in the Belmont Stakes, and that is actually less than the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Three of those chalks came in just the last four years, the winners paying $3.60, $3.60 and $4.60. Despite the recent chalks, dating back 10 years the average win payoff for $2 has been $14.26.
Last 10 Belmont Stakes Winners
Kentucky Derby (4th)
Tiz the Law
Florida Derby (Won)
Peter Pan (2nd)
Preakness Stakes (Won)
Kentucky Derby (6th)
Irad Ortiz Jr.
Kentucky Derby (13th)
Preakness Stakes (Won)
Peter Pan (Won)
Kentucky Derby (12th)
Kentucky Derby (7th)
Last 10 Belmont Stakes Winners
Long Shots in the Belmont Stakes
As I noted earlier, Kentucky Derby also rans who skip the Preakness have come back and pulled off a few nice upsets in recent years.
In addition, we have seen some monster payoffs. Sarava was the biggest at $142.60 in 2002. He was a new shooter to the Triple Crown. In 2004 Birdstone ended the Triple Crown bid of Smarty Jones and paid $74.00. The colt has run eighth in the Kentucky Derby in his previous outing.
In 2008 Da’Tara pulled off the upset, returning his backers $79.00. It was his first start in a Triple Crown race. In 2011 Ruler On Ice was another new shooter to the Triple Crown and paid $51.50.
Top Belmont Stakes Trainers
D. Wayne Lukas leads active trainers with four Belmont Stakes wins, his last coming in 2000 with Commendable who paid a hefty $39.60.
Bob Baffert has won the Belmont Stakes three times, twice to win the Triple Crown. His other winner was with Point Given in 2001.
Todd Pletcher has three wins, the most recent with Tapwrit in 2017. Both Tapwrit and Palace Malice ran in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness. His other winner was with the filly Rags to Riches, who won the Kentucky Oaks.
Top Belmont Stakes Jockeys
We have seen different jockeys win the Belmont Stakes over the past eight years. Of active jockeys Mike Smith is the leader with three—Drosselmeyer in 2010, Palace Malice in 2013 and Justify in 2018.
The Ortiz brothers are the two dominant riders in New York, and they each have won the Belmont Stakes just once. Irad won in 2016 aboard Creator and the following year Jose picked up his first Triple Crown race victory on Tapwrit.
The 1 ½ mile distance is unique and having a jockey that has experience over the main track at Belmont Park is an advantage.
In the last two years a pair regulars on the New York circuit that fly under the national radar picked up their first Belmont Stakes wins. Luis Saez booted home Essential Quality in 2021 and Manny Franco was aboard Tiz the Law in 2020.
Post Positions in the Belmont Stakes
The post position draw at the Belmont Stakes is pretty uneventful each year. At 1 1/2 miles over the sweeping turns at Belmont Park the post positions don’t have much of an impact on the race.
While trainers want to avoid the “dreaded one post” in the Kentucky Derby, there is no such talk for the Belmont Stakes. Over the last 46 years the one post has produced four winners, which is just about average.
The three, five and seven posts have produced the most winners. The seven post has produced the most at seven, while six Belmont Stakes winners came out of the six post.
Even if we see a full field of 14, you don’t need to worry much about the post draw before betting the Belmont Stakes.
Winning Running Style
Taking the field gate to wire going 1 ½ miles is no easy task and it has only been done four times over the past three decades over a fast track.
It should not be surprising the last two to accomplish that feat were Triple Crown winners—American Pharoah and Justify.
It is also difficult to win the Belmont Stakes coming from far off the pace. That generally is because the early fractions are moderate.
The ideal running style is a horse with tactical speed that can sit relatively close to the pace or in mid pack.
Horses on the lead can hold on to run second and deep closers tend to do no better than third in most years.
The Belmont Stakes Winning Profile
When we put all this information together, we can get a general winning profile for our Belmont Stakes betting strategy.
You should prefer a horse exiting the Kentucky Derby as opposed to one coming back off a three-week break having run in the Preakness Stakes. If you are looking for a new shooter, the race to look at is the local prep, the Peter Pan Stakes.
You want a horse with tactical speed, and one that has competed at the top level. Not necessarily a Grade 1 or Grade 2 winner, but one that at least has run in the money in a top class race.
If there is a Triple Crown bid, expect the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to be over bet and a short price. That could lead to a nice overlay and perhaps you can catch a Tonalist ($20.40) who beat California Chrome or even a Birdstone ($74.00) who ran down and extinguished the Smarty Jones Triple Crown bid.
However, you can feel free to put down at least a $2 win wager on the Triple Crown hopeful, so if your longshot fails to deliver, at least you have a historic keepsake in your pocket.