By Kevin Martin
While there won’t be a rematch of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes victors in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, it will have the Preakness winner Exaggerator against a solid field of twelve competitors. Exaggerator has strung together three impressive performances beginning back in March with a win in the Santa Anita Derby followed by a second place finish in the Kentucky Derby and then a win in the Preakness. The Preakness was the highlight of his eleven race career and his most impressive win so far.
Exaggerator will enter the gate for the Belmont as the heavy favorite, but a legitimate case could be made for half the runners in the field to pull an upset. With Exaggerator’s odds being so short, many of the potential upsetters will have inflated odds and finding the winner from that group could prove lucrative.
The $100 Bet
Suddenbreakingnews is 10-1 on the morning line and a major threat to beat the Preakness winner. If he goes off anywhere near his morning line, he offers significant value in the win pool. He has three wins from nine career starts and has only been out of the top three twice. He ran into trouble early in the Kentucky Derby and was shuffled back to nineteenth place by the time they hit the first turn. He fell nearly thirty lengths behind the pace on the backstretch but made up significant ground late in the race and finished a hard-charging fifth. It’s unlikely that Suddenbreakingnews will need to make up that much ground on Saturday. He has the pedigree to go the mile-and-a-half distance – his grand sire and grand dam both won the Belmont. I’ll use $75 of my $100 bankroll and put it on his nose to win.
With the remainder of my bankroll, I will take a shot on a trifecta ticket with my top four selections. I will box Suddenbreakingnews and Exaggerator and add Destin and Brody’s Cause in the second and third positions. Destin has two stakes wins on his resume and finished a respectable sixth in the Kentucky Derby. He is expected to run just off the pace setters, a potentially beneficial position considering the lack of early speed in the race. Brody’s Cause is a two-time Grade 1 winner who doesn’t run particularly fast but he is the type of even-paced runner that has done well in the Belmont. He’ll be passing tired horses late and is a solid play to crack the top three at a big price on Saturday. This trifecta ticket will include twelve possible combinations and I will play it for $2, so the total ticket cost will be $24
Both Cherry Wine and Stradavari will have their fair share of backers, but I don’t like their chances on Saturday and will be playing against them. Cherry Wine benefited from the suicidal pace in the Preakness to finish second behind Exaggerator. An admirable performance, but the Belmont field is better than the Preakness. Stradavari finished fourth in the Preakness but he lacks experience. The Belmont Stakes will be just his fifth career race and only his second run in a graded stake. Neither would be a shock should they win but I am taking a stand against them.
How to Place the Bet
When it comes to placing the wagers proposed here, it requires some knowledge in the language of betting on horse races. When placing a bet with a live teller at a racetrack or at an off-track betting facility, you need to use the track name, race number, type and amount of the bet, and the program number(s) for the horse(s) you are playing. (Of course, you can also make legal wagers on horse racing online, a less intimidating proposition than placing bets with a live teller.)
The $75 win bet on Suddenbreakingnews is easy. The bet is placed as follows: “Belmont Park Race 11, $75 to win on the 4.” The Belmont Stakes is the 11th race at Belmont Park on Saturday and Suddenbreakingnews is #4 in the program.
The trifecta with Suddenbreakingnews (4), Exaggerator (11), Destin (2), and Brody’s Cause (12) is a bit more complicated. Here is how the bet is placed: “Belmont Park Race 11, $2 trifecta, 4, 11 with 2, 4, 11, 12 with 2, 4, 11, 12.”
To cash this ticket, Suddenbreakingnews or Exaggerator must win. The second and third positions must include any combination of the top two plus Destin and Brody’s Cause. This bet includes a total of twelve combinations, so on a $2 bet it will cost $24. (12 potential outcomes x $2 = $24.)
The Belmont Stakes will headline a huge day of racing at the historic track in Elmont, New York with a packed undercard that includes nine stakes races. Postime for the 2016 Belmont Stakes is 6:32 p.m. EST.