Horse Racing

2024 Belmont Stakes Exacta and Trifecta Picks and Predictions

FanDuel Staff
FanDuel Staff
2024 Belmont Stakes Exacta and Trifecta Picks and Predictions

The 2024 Belmont Stakes happens on Saturday, June 8. As usual, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown is happening at its regular place on the calendar: five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. However, with Belmont Park under construction, there are a few changes at hand.

Instead of the race covering one full lap around the 1 ½-mile dirt track at Belmont Park, the race will cover 1 ¼ miles on the dirt at Saratoga. The change in race distance is due to the track configuration at the Spa: trying to go 1 ½ miles would require the starting gate to be placed on the far turn instead of giving all of the horses a clean, straight-line start.

The race drew an exciting and competitive field of 10, including Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan, Preakness Stakes winner Seize the Grey, and Blue Grass Stakes winner Sierra Leone. The entire horse racing world will be watching and wagering, and this is where to find out how to make smart exotic bets on the race.

Naturally, you can bet on which horse will win the Belmont Stakes with FanDuel Racing. Discover the exciting 2024 Belmont Stakes odds to wager on FDR and FanDuel Sportsbook and get up to $20 back on your Bet!

New FanDuel Racing users are included in the excitement with a chance to get your first win wager on a single horse in any race at any track up to $500 back if you lose. Bet the Belmont Stakes!

How to Bet Exactas and Trifectas

Before you commit to a Belmont Stakes betting strategy, it is a good idea to learn what exactas and trifectas are, what structures exist for betting them, and the costs and benefits of those strategies.

What are Exactas and Trifectas?

The classic win bet is just that: the bet cashes if your horse wins. Exactas and trifectas are just an extension of that: instead of betting on just the first horse to cross the wire, you are betting on the first few horses across the wire.

To cash an exacta, you need to have the first two finishers in the correct order. In a trifecta, you are betting on the first three horses to finish, in order. These are harder to get correct than just picking a winner. However, especially in races like the Belmont Stakes with huge fields, getting them correct can lead to a huge payout.

Horse Racing Exacta and Trifecta Betting Strategies

These are the basic strategies for betting exactas and trifectas.

Straight Exacta or Trifecta: One Combination

You can bet the exacta or trifecta straight, just one sequence or two or three horses. However, this is uncommon, especially in races with fields as big as the Belmont Stakes. If you have a very strong opinion that one horse is likely to finish first and another horse is likely to finish second, a straight exacta can be the right move in a race. However, it is more common to bet multiple possible combinations, and the large payouts when a live long shot runs into the top two or three can make this a profitable strategy.

Boxed Exacta or Trifecta

The opposite of betting a single combination is by betting an exacta box or a trifecta box. In a box, you are taking a group of horses you think can finish in the top two or three and betting all possible combinations of groups of those horses finishing first or second for an exacta, or first, second, and third for a trifecta.

A box can make sense if you have a short list of horses you want to play, especially if most or all of them are long shots. But, the price escalates rapidly: for example, if you play a trifecta box, and you think there are seven horses with a chance at the top three, and you want to play every combination? There are seven possible horses who can win, then six possible horses behind each of those, then five possible horses who can be third behind those two. That’s seven times six times five—or, 210 combinations.

These are the common costs of exacta and trifecta boxes at the minimum bets offered by Saratoga Race Course:

# of horses
Exacta box combinations
$1 exacta box cost
Trifecta box combinations
$0.50 trifecta box cost
22 (2 * 1)$2.00n/an/a
36 (3 * 2)$6.006 (3 * 2 * 1)$3.00
412 (4 * 3)$12.0024 (4 * 3 * 2)$12.00
520 (5 * 4)$20.0060 (5 * 4 * 3)$30
630 (6 * 5)$30.00120 (6 * 5 * 4)$60.00
742 (7 * 6)$42.00210 (7 * 6 * 5)$105
856 (8 * 7)$56.00336 (8 * 7 * 6)$168

Another issue with boxing exactas or trifectas is that they usually do not reflect your actual opinion on a race. A boxed bet suggests that you have a similar opinion on each horse’s chances to finish in the top two or three, since you put the same amount of money on each combination. However, if you have a horse or two who you think are more likely to finish high, or even finish in a particular spot, you are essentially wasting money by betting just as much on extremely unlikely combinations as you are on the ones that involve the horse or horses you think will run well.

Using a Key Horse in Exactas and Trifectas

You can cover multiple combinations while focusing on stronger opinions by using a key horse. A key horse is just like it sounds: they are the key to your bet, and you are leaning on them to finish in a certain position.

One way of using a key horse is by betting for a horse to finish in a particular position in your exacta or trifecta. This is most often done by keying a horse to win (“keying on top”), though you can also key a horse in second or third. For example, if a horse finishes second often, keying a horse in second in exactas and trifectas can be just the right move.

Then, you just play the other horses you think can finish in the exacta or trifecta in the other spots where you do not have your key horse. You have fewer winning combinations since the key horse has to finish in the spot where you placed them, but also, you are putting your money on your opinion about that one horse.

# of horses
Exacta key combinations
$1 exacta key cost
Trifecta key combinations
$0.50 trifecta key cost
1 key + 2 others2 (1 * 2)$2.002 (1 * 2 * 1)$1.00
1 key + 3 others3 (1 * 3)$3.006 (1 * 3 * 2)$3.00
1 key + 4 others4 (1 * 4)$4.0012 (1 * 4 * 3)$6.00
1 key + 5 others5 (1 * 5)$5.0020 (1 * 5 * 4)$10
1 key + 6 others6 (1 * 6)$6.0030 (1 * 6 * 5)$15.00
1 key + 7 others7 (1 * 7)$7.0042 (1 * 7 * 6)$21

Finally, a good middle ground between a key and a box can be a wager sometimes called a “key box.” In an exacta key box, you are wagering on a situation that has your keyed horse finishing either first or second, with any of your other horses of interest in the other spot: it’s basically two separate key bets, one keying them in first and one keying them in second. The trifecta key box works similarly, except it’s like three key bets at once: one keying them in first, one keying them in second, and one keying the horse third.

# of horses
Exacta key box combinations
$1 exacta key box cost
Trifecta key box combinations
$0.50 trifecta key cost
1 key + 2 others4 (1 * 2 * 2)$4.006 (1 * 2 * 1 * 3)$3.00
1 key + 3 others6 (1 * 3 * 2)$6.0018 (1 * 3 * 2 * 3)$9.00
1 key + 4 others8 (1 * 4 * 2)$8.0036 (1 * 4 * 3 * 3)$18.00
1 key + 5 others10 (1 * 5 * 2)$10.0060 (1 * 5 * 4 * 3)$30
1 key + 6 others12 (1 * 6 * 2)$12.0090 (1 * 6 * 5 * 3)$45.00
1 key + 7 others14 (1 * 7 * 2)$14.00126 (1 * 7 * 6 * 3)$63

This can be a useful wagering structure for the Belmont Stakes, due to the closely matched field and the challenging distance. Even the best horse on the day can finish second or third due to trip trouble, and in such a large field, the risk versus reward ratio often merits the cost of covering situations in which your key horse finishes anywhere in the exacta or trifecta.

2024 Belmont Stakes Field

Now that you know all about creating exacta and trifecta tickets, it’s time to look at the Belmont Stakes field. The race drew a field of 10, an exciting mix of Kentucky Derby horses, Preakness runners, and new faces on the Triple Crown scene.

This is the official field for the 2024 Belmont Stakes, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds for each horse:

Post
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Odds
1Seize the GreyD. Wayne LukasJaime Torres8-1
2ResilienceBill MottJunior Alvarado10-1
3Mystik DanKenny McPeekBrian Hernandez, Jr.5-1
4The Wine StewardMike MakerManny Franco15-1
5AntiquarianTodd PletcherJohn Velazquez12-1
6DornochDanny GarganLuis Saez15-1
7ProtectiveTodd PletcherTyler Gaffalione20-1
View Full Table

Remember that the morning line is not a guarantee of betting odds on race day, but rather an educated estimate of what the tote board will look like come post time. Make sure to follow FanDuel and FanDuel TV for up-to-the-minute news on each contender, as well as odds updates once betting opens. That will help you find the overlays and make the smartest possible wagers.

Belmont Stakes 2024 Contenders

These are the horses to put in focus for your 2024 exotic wagers on the Belmont Stakes.

Exacta and Trifecta Key

The two horses to consider as possible keys in the Belmont Stakes are Mystik Dan and Sierra Leone. There are defensible arguments for choosing either as a key.

Sierra Leone, the favorite, has been more consistent during his career: he is the most likely winner of the race and the most likely board hitter. He has shown the ability to stay the trip, and to make a strong, sustained rally whether the pace is modest or fast in front of him.

The drawback is the price: just as he will be a short price in the win pool, the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta combinations with him will be shorter-priced. Knowing that, a ticket keying Sierra Leone will have to be more finely targeted. If you lean on Sierra Leone, consider keying him in one spot—either only first or only second—and playing a few around him.

In a race where there is some argument to make for virtually any horse to hit the board, though, using a horse at a bit more of a price will allow you to justify a bit more coverage, since keying a live horse other than Sierra Leone leaves you open for a windfall if your key runs well and Sierra Leone happens to run out of the money.

In this case, Mystik Dan is that horse. He is in strong form right now, he is proven at the distance, and he should be able to get a sweet inside trip just as he has in his best races. If the rain in the forecast happens, that’s no problem: Mystik Dan is well-proven on wet tracks, and there is more pace in this race than there was when he had to chase Seize the Grey around in the Preakness.

More Belmont Stakes 2024 Exacta and Trifecta Contenders

Even though there was early speculation that Bill Mott would step Batten Down up in class for the Belmont Stakes, Mott instead entered a horse with stakes experience in the race: Resilience. That looks like the right call. Resilience got a less-than-optimal trip in the Kentucky Derby: he was mired in the 18 gate, he was not as close to the pace early as he likes to be, he made an early move, and flattened out. However, he should make better account in the Belmont. The smaller field means less space for chaos. The relatively inside gate should be fine: after all, he was able to win with a stalking trip despite drawing the rail in a 12-horse Wood Memorial (G2). He should be able to get a good trip just behind the real speed of the race, and if he can run back to that Wood performance he has a serious chance at a square price.

Honor Marie came into the Kentucky Derby in strong form, but a rough beginning and a too-early move led to an off-the-board finish. However, there are several reasons he can redeem himself in the Belmont Stakes. The smaller field gives him a chance at a cleaner trip, meaning he can get a fairer opportunity to put his strong stamina pedigree to the test. Barring a massive speed bias, he should have pace to chase: Dornoch has to go, The Wine Steward and Seize the Grey won’t be far away, and Mindframe will likely be forward, too. Furthermore, he gets a rider change to proven big-race jockey Florent Geroux for the Belmont Stakes.

Protective, a maiden and the likely longest shot on the board, intrigues for the trifecta. Even though he has yet to win a race, he has stakes experience already: he rallied for third behind Resilience in the Wood Memorial and then also ran third in the Peter Pan (G3) behind stablemate Antiquarian. He did so using two different running styles as well: Protective was close to the pace throughout in the Peter Pan, but overcame early trouble and ran on late in the Wood. He also debuted well at Saratoga, rallying for a close second despite the six-furlong distance being too short. Add to this a nice distance pedigree and Todd Pletcher’s Belmont Stakes acumen, and you get a good exotics longshot.

Belmont Stakes Bet-Against

As exciting as Mindframe is as a prospect, he is worth betting against in the Belmont Stakes unless he drifts up significantly from his morning-line price. And, judging from action in futures books in the days after the draw, he is unlikely to drift to a playable price: in fact, he has been a red-hot second favorite behind the more experienced and class-proven Sierra Leone.

Of course, Mindframe has upside. He is trained by four-time Belmont-winning trainer Todd Pletcher. He has won both of his starts by gaping margins in fast fashion. However, one of those outings came in a maiden special weight on Florida Derby day at Gulfstream Park, and the other came in an allowance race on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs. He can win either on the front end or in stalking fashion, and the outside post may help him work a clean trip.

However, he has only two starts, with none coming in stakes company. He has never stretched out past 1 1/16 miles—it’s a big jump from that to a mile and a quarter, even with the solid distance pedigree he has. In a Belmont as competitive as this one, you have to draw a line somewhere, and the smart move is to watch Mindframe this time and keep him in your pocket for other big races later this year if he passes the class test.

2024 Belmont Stakes Exotic Bets

Here are our recommended exacta and trifecta bets for the 2024 Belmont Stakes:

  • Belmont Stakes exacta bet: Key box #3 Mystik Dan with #2 Resilience, #8 Honor Marie, #9 Sierra Leone
  • Belmont Stakes trifecta bet: Key Box #3 Mystik Dan with #2 Resilience, #7 Protective, #8 Honor Marie, #9 Sierra Leone

Looking for horse racing betting opportunities? Head over to FanDuel Racing to see all of today’s horse racing odds.