The Belmont Stakes is the final jewel of the Triple Crown, and it is a great betting race because it presents a test that no horse in the race has never faced before, and probably will never face again. The horses go 1 ½ miles, longer than they have ever gone before. They have to handle the deep, sandy Belmont footing, and many of the runners must hold their form through a long Triple Crown prep season. No wonder the race is called the Test of the Champion!
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Types of Exotic Bets for the Belmont Stakes
- EXACTA: You pick who you think will finish 1st and 2nd in order
- TRIFECTA: You pick who you think will finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in order
- SUPERFECTA: You pick who you think will finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in order.
You can BOX these bets, meaning the horses can finish in any order. However, this makes your bet more expensive as you are placing multiple bets in one.
You can also make a WHEEL or KEY bet where you have one horse selected to win, and multiple to come in second or third. You'd use this when you're sure of the winner, but not as confident about everyone else.
Top Belmont Stakes Horse Picks
When choosing a horse in the Belmont Stakes, there are a lot of factors to consider. Some of it comes down to class: whether horses have run well in top-level stakes company. It also matters to consider pedigree, since no one has yet tried a mile and a half, and some horses are bred better than others for getting such an uncommonly long distance. Running style also matters: though it is a common fallacy that closers will improve as the distance gets longer, in the real world, horses who can show tactical speed tend to win the Belmont more often.
Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Trainer: John Ortiz
Jockey: Joel Rosario
What to Look Out for When Deciding on Belmont Stakes Picks
If you are interested in coming to your own opinions about the Belmont Stakes, or adjusting our expert selections around a horse who appeals to you, here are some handicapping principles to consider.
The Belmont is called the Test of the Champion for a reason. At 12 furlongs, the race tests both the stamina and fitness of anyone who tries it. No one in the field has ever gone this far, and many of these horses probably will not again. Therefore, pedigree will give you clues about who is likely to stay the trip.
Most American horses are not bred to go this far. However, some stallions have already proven that they are a strong Belmont influence. Tapit has been the best example of that: his sons Tonalist, Creator, Tapwrit, and Essential Quality all won the Belmont. No Tapit progeny are entered in the Belmont this year, though We the People is by Tapit son Constitution, Barber Road is by Tapit son Race Day, and Creative Minister is out of Tapit daughter Tamboz.
Curlin is another good Belmont influence. Curlin missed by a nose in the Belmont and has already produced Belmont winner Palace Malice and Belmont second-place finisher Irish War Cry. Curlin is the sire of Nest. Two other runners are also by Curlin sons. Rich Strike is by Keen Ice (who was himself third in the Belmont), and Skippylongstocking is by Exaggerator.
Pace Makes the Race
It is also worth considering running style for the Belmont Stakes. Though novice Belmont watchers often think a closer will appreciate the distance and run down frontrunners late, the opposite tends to hold true. Plodders or closers can use their stamina to finish underneath, but winners are more often horses who have tactical speed and get the jump on the ones who settle further back.
Speed Figures Do Not Tell the Whole Story
Though speed figures can be helpful in many cases, they become less useful when horses are trying a distance so different from what they have already tried. They also do not necessarily reflect the current abilities of a lightly-raced horse who still has room to improve. Finally, they also do not take into account whether a horse is going to handle the deep, sandy Belmont footing well. If there is ever a good time to take speed figures with a grain of salt, the Belmont is that time.
Contenders to Consider in Exactas, Trifectas, and Superfectas
Based on these factors, here are the leading pick contenders for the 2022 Belmont Stakes:
Mo Donegal: He is one of two entrants for three-time Belmont-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who has an excellent record in New York. Mo Donegal is already a winner over the Belmont course. He also has proven stakes form, with a win in the Wood (G2) and a late-running fifth in the Kentucky Derby. Though he has been closing in recent races, races earlier in his career showed him tracking closer to the pace, including against good horses in the Remsen (G2) last autumn. If Irad Ortiz can reprise that running style this distance-bred colt should be able to stay close to a pedestrian pace and finish best.
Nest: This filly also hails from the Todd Pletcher barn; Pletcher has already won the Belmont with a filly, Rags to Riches. She has to improve off of a second-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks, but with her excellent distance pedigree, this daughter of Curlin should be able to move forward with this longer distance. She is also already a winner at Belmont, meaning the footing will be no problem. Pace is the question, as her most recent races have shown her well off the pace and the Belmont pace should be slow. But, earlier races prove she can run winning races from closer to the front, so if she returns to that more forward style, then Nest could return to winning form in the Belmont.
We the People: Though the Peter Pan (G3) has not been the most live Belmont prep in recent years, it is the local prep and this morning line favorite’s victory there does prove a horse can handle the footing. We the People still has to prove himself from a class perspective as well. We the People’s best advantage comes from his running style: he is the only horse in the field who reliably goes to the front. He could have an uncontested lead, and especially if the track is playing for speed he may be difficult to catch late. The biggest question around him, other than class, is pedigree: though names like Constitution and Tiznow are great to see, the classier members of his close female family have done their better work going sprint to middle distances, meaning he may face a serious challenge from the more stoutly bred foes late.
Barber Road: Most recently sixth in the Kentucky Derby, Barber Road has been the plucky overachiever of the crop. He has not yet won a stakes race, but he keeps running well enough in them to justify remaining at the level. Barber Road has also proven that he is pace-versatile: though he rallied from the clouds for sixth in the Kentucky Derby, a race with a torrid early pace, he has gotten some stakes placings from much closer to the front as well. Though it is tough to imagine Barber Road out-finishing everyone in the Belmont, he is so versatile and consistent that it is easy to see him invading the lower rungs of exotics.
Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike also deserves a brief note. It makes sense to look away from him, particularly on top. It is true that he has a very nice pedigree for the Belmont distance. But, he is a finisher. In Louisville, he got a dream setup behind a foolishly quick early pace. In the Belmont, the pace may be positively languid. Even in good form, Rich Strike’s best hope (at a relatively short price, to boot) appears to be clunking on late for one of the lower shares of the exotics.
Belmont Exotic Bet Pick Tips
In a field of eight, focus on Mo Donegal and Nest as your key horses, and play them with We the People and Barber Road in exactas and trifectas. Given his distance pedigree and strong level of current form, it makes sense to put Rich Strike into the lowest line of a superfecta, though that is as deep as it makes sense to use the Kentucky Derby winner.
How to Bet the Belmont Stakes With FanDuel Racing
As you get ready to place your bets on the 2022 Belmont Stakes, it pays to stay tuned to FanDuel Racing! FDR provides horse racing coverage and picks for all major races, including the Belmont Stakes in New York. Sign up with FanDuel Racing today to receive your bonus.
And, remember; the Duel team is on hand to provide in-depth analysis, horse racing news, expert picks, and latest updates on the final leg of the 2022 Triple Crown at Belmont Park!
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