In terms of North American horse racing, there aren’t too many races bigger than the Belmont Stakes. The Triple Crown event has long been one of the best attended spectacles of the season, previously bringing in over 100,000 people to Belmont Park in New York. Since 2015, the capacity at the course has been capped at 90,000 due to overcrowding concerns but this is more than enough to create a rapturous atmosphere.
Nicknamed the Test of the Champion, this one and a half mile battle stands as the oldest and final leg in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. It is run at Belmont Park, a course known for being one of the fairest around thanks to its wide turns and long homestretch. Recently published data also shows that it’s one of the safest American courses too due to the meticulous way the surface is maintained.
Next Race: Saturday, 6th June 2020
The next race is scheduled to run on 6th June 2020. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 8th June 2019
- Winner: Sir Winston
- SP: 102/10
- Trainer: Mark Casse
- Jockey: Joel Rosario
Race InfoA prize fund of $1.5 million is up for grabs for this contest over one mile and a half on the dirt.
|Surface||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Dirt||1m 4f||Grade 1||$1.5m||10||1/5 1-3|
Belmont Stakes Betting Tips
War of Will struck gold in the Preakness Stakes three weeks ago but winners of that contest generally haven’t fared too well in the next Triple Leg stage. Justify and American Pharaoh are the only horses since 2006 who have managed to win both races.
Historically favourites have fared well in the Belmont but more recently this has not been the case. During the last 15 renewals, only three shortest-priced options have gotten themselves first past the line.
The draw is always subject to a great deal of analysis in these big American classics. On the face of things, a spot on the very outside in stall 10 might not sound ideal but it’ll allow Tacitus a greater chance of getting in an advantageous space. This is a view shared by Mark Casse who is pleased with War Of Will’s placement one stall inside of Tacitus.
Last summer those in attendance roared the sensational Justify on to victory and this year’s favourite Tacitus looks like following in his footsteps.
TACITUS TO FOLLOW IN TAPIT FOOTSTEPS
Juddemonte don’t often have a presence in this race but they make it count when they do. Their three previous Belmont starters have finished first, second and third so they’ll have high hopes for Tacitus here. The three-year-old is in good hands for this race, ridden by Jose Ortiz who won this race in patient fashion two years ago. He’ll likely adopt a similar approach here as Tacitus, who boasts the highest Top Equibase Speed Figure among the field, has the pace to mount a late surge. Not only this, but the favourite is bred for this race with sire Tapit having produced three Belmont winners already.
CROWN ATTEMPT COULD TAKE ITS TOLL
Part of the reason why the Triple Crown is such a difficult one to achieve is that the races fall in rather quick succession. There’s only five weeks separating them all and as a result sometimes horses aren’t always in peak shape by the final leg. War Of Will (2/1) is the only name on the racecard who attempted both of the earlier legs, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He looked in fine shape when winning the latter but finished over a length behind Tacitus in the former. In his defence though, his effort at Churchill Downs was scuppered by a mid-race traffic jumble, something he can avoid here thanks to his wide draw.
MASTER FENCER BEST FROM THE REST
Having finished second to War Of Will in the Preakness, there are some expecting big things from Everfast here. Then a 30/1 shot, he isn’t trading so long here as he seeks to push on from what was a career best showing. A lack of consistency is a big problem of his though so even at 10/1 he’s probably one to avoid.
Making for a more tempting longer-odds option is the Japanese entry, Master Fence (11/1), who recorded a credible sixth place finish during the controversial Kentucky Derby. He failed to light things up back home but by posting an Equibase Speed Figure of 106 on his American debut, this colt could follow in the footsteps of countryman Lani (who came third in 2016).
Final Verdict: Tacitus To Win
Tacticus has the form, the pedigree and the draw required to become the latest Belmont Stakes champion. Master Fencer shouldn’t end up too far behind but stick with a place only finish bet for the Japanese colt.
|2019||Sir Winston||102/10||Mark Casse||Joel Rosario|
|2018||Justify||4/5||Bob Baffert||Mike Smith|
|2017||Tapwrit||5/1||Todd Pletcher||Jose Ortiz|
|2016||Creator||16/1||Steve Asmussen||Irad Ortiz Jr.|
|2015||American Pharaoh||3/4||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinoza|
|2014||Tonalist||9/1||Christophe Clement||Joel Roasrio|
|2013||Palace Malice||138/10||Todd Pletcher||Mike Smith|
|2012||Union Rags||11/4||Michael Matz||John Velazquez|
|2011||Ruler On Ice||248/10||Kelly Breen||Jose Valdivia Jr.|
|2010||Drosselmeyer||13/1||William Mott||Mike Smith|
About the Belmont Stakes: Tasty Racing in the Big Apple
Belmont Park is one of the most important sites in American horse racing. Known as ‘The Championship Track’ the New York State racecourse has played host to virtually every major horse in American racing history.
Of all the races to take place annually at Belmont Park, the Belmont Stakes is the most important. The 12 furlong, Grade 1 race is the final leg of the American Triple Crown and, as of 2019, features a prize fund of a rather healthy $1.5 million.
A Rich History
The Belmont Stakes is a truly historic race. First run just three years after the oldest horse race in America, the Travers Stakes, the Belmont Stakes has been held in New York since 1867. The Belmont Stakes was initially held at Jerome Park Racetrack in the Bronx (which was financed by August Belmont Sr., after whom the race is named) before moving to Morris Park Racecourse and then Belmont Park in 1905.
The race was just growing in stature following the move to Belmont Park but had to be cancelled in 1911 and 1912 due to the Hart-Agnew Law which banned gambling in New York. Thankfully for racing fans, it returned to in 1913 and as of 1926 the winner was presented with the August Belmont Trophy.
The Test of the Champion
The American Triple Crown was rarely referred to before Omaha completed a hat-trick of wins in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes in 1935. His sire, Gallant Fox, had done the treble five years previously and was subsequently honoured for the feat, as was Sir Barton who won all three races back in 1919.
The Triple Crown is now so important in American racing that it sets the date of the Belmont Stakes. The final leg of the Triple Crown now always takes place three weeks after the Preakness Stakes which is itself held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, which takes place on the first Saturday in May.
Just as with the final leg of the British Triple Crown, the St Leger, the Belmont Stakes is the longest of the three races. At one mile and four furlongs, the trip is shorter than the St Leger (one mile and six furlongs) and isn’t too much longer than the Kentucky Derby (one mile and two furlongs) or the Preakness Stakes (one mile and one and a half furlongs). Still, the Belmont Stakes is known as ‘The Test of the Champion’ due to its longer trip, which has caught out many horses attempting the Triple Crown over the years.
Trends to Keep In Mind
The Belmont Stakes is an important race far beyond New York. Punters from around the world follow the race and there are plenty of useful trends to help them come up with a winner. The first thing to note is just how tough it is to win the Triple Crown. Horses who come into the race on the back of a run in the Preakness Stakes have a poor record in the Belmont Stakes with those who arrive fresh generally preferred. It really does take a special horse to win all three of course.
Belmont Park is widely regarded as one of the fairest tracks around but it still trips some horses up so previous experience of ‘Big Sandy’ is a help even if the importance of Belmont experience has diminished in recent years. Winning the Belmont requires a certain amount of stamina with those who can hit the front fairly early before holding on preferred over horses who tend to kick strongly for home later on in races.