What is the Belmont Stakes?
On Saturday 20th June, some of America’s finest three-year-old thoroughbreds go back to Long Island to race in the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.
The 2020 running of the Belmont Stakes it’s the first part of the famed American Triple Crown, the Preakness and Kentucky Derby both follow later in the year.
The purse has been reduced by a third from $1.5m to $1m, which is could be a reason why trainers are looking beyond the ‘Test of the Champion’, for a less risky challenge in the lead up to the Kentucky Derby.
Unable to escape impact from Covid-19, this is the first year the race will be run over 9 furlongs, as opposed to the usual distance of 12 furlongs.
The reduction in distance is expected to have a significant impact on the runners entered for the race, given the likelihood of a faster pace.
Other horses like Ny Traffic had to undergo quarantine procedures and suffered disrupted training schedules, with trainer John Fanelli being quoted in Horse Racing Nation saying Ny Traffic will be saved for the ‘once in a lifetime’ Kentucky Derby.
The rescheduling of the date from May to June has bunched a few Derby qualifiers in close proximity.
Godolphin-trained Maxfield will also skip the Belmont in favour of the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on July 11th.
Despite probably already having enough to qualify, it seems like a shrewd move to race on Maxfield’s home track.
Belmont Stakes Preview of Runners and Riders
But enough of the negativity. Despite a change in schedule and a reduced purse, this is still going to a display of top-quality horse racing.
Tiz The Law (+100)
Tiz The Law (+100) is a short-priced favourite, following his performance in the Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby back in March.
Manuel Franco led him over the line four lengths clear of Shivaree in the 1m1f contest, claiming a whopping $336k in prize money.
What’s more interesting is that only six horses have won both the Florida Derby and the Belmont Stakes since 2000.
Mischevious Alex (+1000)
The next best challenger to Tiz The Law could well be Mischevious Alex (+1000), is unbeaten in his last two starts.
That includes a decisive victory over Untitled in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.
Dr Post (+800)
Another contender is Dr Post (+800), part of Todd Pletcher’s trio of runners.
The three year old is expected to suit the reduced trip and is apparently training well ahead of the race.
Dr Post made his debut at Belmont last July, finishing only five furlongs behind Green Light Go, who later went on to finish second to Tiz The Law in Belmont Park’s Champagne Stakes last October.
Belmont Stakes 2020 Outsiders and long-shots
Farmington Road (+2500) goes into the Belmont Stakes off the back of a fourth-place finish in the Div II Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, whilst Max Player (+2000) has form over the new distance, winning the 9f Withers in February, despite making hard work of it for jockey Dylan Davis.
Belmont Stakes Predictions
With the reduction in distance and the omission of some key runners, this could be one of the tightest Belmont Stakes in recent memory.
However, Tiz The Law seems to be the horse to beat.
With the current field, +100 seems like a fair price, delivering enough value to make a tidy profit.
Should Tiz The Law drop any lower in price, it might be worth looking at Dr Post who has the form to suggest he will be the closest contender. A chunky +800 means could result in a tidy profit if the trip suits as expected.
How can I bet on the Belmont Stakes?
You can bet by going to Mybookie.ag.