On Saturday, June 20, the first leg of the Triple Crown will be run. Not the Kentucky Derby, which should have taken place last month, but the Belmont Stakes. Originally scheduled for June 6 at a mile and a half, it will now be run at a mile and an eighth. Post time will be 5:42 PM and it will be race 10 of the 12 race card.
Traditionalists are not happy about the change, but considering what is going on with the world, it was a necessary change. There have been no graded stakes races longer than a mile and an eighth for straight three year olds this year since the split divisions of the Arkansas Derby on May 2. As of now, there are no stakes scheduled to be run at a mile and a quarter prior to the Kentucky Derby. But NYRA has not put out their stakes schedule for Saratoga, so it is unknown what day the Grade 1 Travers would be run.
Belmont stakes betting odds and post positions
|1||Tap It To Win||6-1||Mark Casse||John Velazquez|
|2||Sole Volante||9-2||Patrick Biancone||Luca Panici|
|3||Max Player||15-1||Linda Rice||Joel Rosario|
|4||Modernist||15-1||Bill Mott||Junior Alvarado|
|5||Farmington Road||15-1||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano|
|6||Fore Left||30-1||Doug O'Neill||Jose Ortiz|
|7||Jungle Runner||50-1||Steve Asmussen||Reylu Gutierrez|
|8||Tiz The Law||6-5||Barclay Tagg||Manuel Franco|
|9||Dr. Post||5-1||Todd Pletcher||Irad Ortiz Jr.|
|10||Pneumatic||8-1||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr.|
Belmont stakes advice and insight
A field of 10 was entered for the Belmont. Most years it would be difficult to not only figure out who will be the favorite, but how low he will go off at post time. That’s not the case this year.
Sackatoga Stables’ Tiz the Law drew post position 8 and was made the 6-5 favorite by NYRA linemaker David Aragona. The Barclay Tagg trainee was one of the best two year olds last year. Not only has he maintained his form from then, he has improved on it. He began the year by winning the Holy Bull Stakes. That was the first victory in his career going two turns. He followed that up with an impressive 4 ¼ length victory in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. He remained in Florida to continue his training and shipped up to New York earlier this month.
Some people were surprised that Tiz the Law was made 6-5 on the morning line. Most expect his odds at post time to be lower than even money, despite the high amount of money bet on the race.
If there is a negative with the horse, it would be the inexperience of his jockey, Manuel Franco, in these type of races. Franco has been the leading rider on the NYRA circuit the past two years. But he has never won a Triple Crown race. Many times the pressure of winning a Triple Crown race can get to a jockey. But Franco has the advantage of having Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. as his agent. Cordero has won the Belmont once to go along with two victories in the Preakness and three in the Kentucky Derby. To have a resource like Cordero available to him will just help Franco’s chances on Saturday.
The 9-2 second choice on the morning line is Sole Volante, who comes off a victory in an allowance race last Wednesday at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Patrick Biancone, Sole Volante came off the pace to win by ¾ of a length.
Biancone is going old school with Sole Volante, bringing the horse back in 10 days to run in his goal, the Belmont Stakes. Trainers nowadays want a break of at least three weeks or more from the horses’ last start prior to their goal. But Biancone, who has won some of the biggest races in the world, does things his way and could be showing that old school horsemanship is still successful if he can pull this off.
Sole Volante did have a rabbit in that race, Ete Indien, who set a solid pace before tiring to fourth. But Ete Indien did not enter the Belmont, so on paper it looks like Sole Volante doesn’t have a rabbit to help with the pace. But Sole Volante’s owners, Dean and Patti Reeves, do have a working relationship with Doug O’Neill, trainer of 30-1 Fore Left, winner of the Group 3 2000 Guineas in Dubai earlier this year. That horse led every step of the way that day.
It would not be surprising if Fore Left does the dirty work of a rabbit, while trying to win under Jose Ortiz while possibly setting things up for Sole Volante. If that does happen, Fore Left could create chaos in the Belmont, as Biancone did in the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Spanish Chestnut, who was entered as the rabbit for Bandini. The end result of that move was Giacomo coming off the pace to win the Kentucky Derby at odds of 50-1. Luca Panici is scheduled to ride Sole Volante on Saturday and breaks from Post 2.
Dr. Post is the 5-1 third choice on the morning line. The Todd Pletcher trainee is 2 for 2 this year. He makes his first start since winning his route debut in the Unbridled Stakes at Gulfstream Park on April 25. The inexperience could hinder his chances but Pletcher knows how to win the Belmont Stakes, having done it three times already. Dr. Post breaks from Post 9 with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard.
The fourth choice is Tap It to Win. He got on the Triple Crown trail with an impressive five-length victory in an allowance race on June 4. He led every step of the way and ran the mile and a sixteenth in 1:39.76. Tap It to Win is owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Mark Casse, who was elected to Racing’s Hall of Fame this year. Casse also trained 2019 Preakness winner War of Will. John Velazquez rode him that day and gets the call back. They break from the rail.
Television coverage of the Belmont Stakes begins at 2:45 pm NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBCSportsapp. Larry Collmus will call the race on National television. Wagering is available at FanDuel Racing with the first race post time at 11:45 am.
ALSO READ: The Complete Belmont Stakes Betting Guide