The 154 running of the Belmont Stakes will take place Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
While the Triple Crown won't be on the line, Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will be part of the eight-horse field.
Post time for the race is set for approximately 6:49 p.m. In last year's edition of the race, favorite Essential Quality came in first place after skipping the Preakness Stakes.
Among the notable betting options are:
Win: Picking the winning horse
Place: Picking a horse to finish first or second
Show: Picking a horse to finish first, second or third
Exacta: Picking the top two horses in the exact order
Trifecta: Picking the top three horses in the exact order
Box: In wagers such as exactas and trifectas, covering all permutations of the picked horses
Here is Chris Fallica's breakdown of every horse in the Belmont field with suggested plays and picks.
Note: Horses, with morning-line odds, listed in order of post position.
1) We the People (2-1)
Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset
Jockey: Flavien Prat
He's getting a ton of buzz for a couple of reasons. First, he appears to be lone speed -- although I'm not sure it will play out that way, as I think Nest and or Skippylongstocking will not let him get an easy lead. Second is a 10-length win in a Grade 3 over a wet, sealed track at Belmont last month. I tend to not be wowed and overreact to those types of wins. Remember, this horse was up the track at Oaklawn after going off 5/2 in the Arkansas Derby. Could the race play out where he gets a lead and keeps going? Sure. But I'm not betting on it and wouldn't recommend taking what will be an overbet short price.
2) Skippylongstocking (20-1)
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.
Jockey: Manny Franco
I was a little surprised this one didn't try to show a little more speed in the Preakness to at least stay in touch. Maybe post nine had something to do with it, maybe I'm reading the PPs wrong with him as well. There are a couple of things to like here. He went gate-to-wire in his maiden win -- and maybe Saffie Joseph tells Manny Franco to just go. The other is a nice third-place finish in the Wood Memorial -- run at a NYRA track -- where the two horses that finished ahead of him were Preakness winner Early Voting and closer Mo Donegal. There's no runner here as talented as Early Voting and if the pace doesn't set up Mo Donegal, maybe he can pull off a stunner here.
3) Nest (8-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Todd Pletcher has won the Belmont with a filly before and I applaud him for taking a shot here in a short, weak field. At the very least, she could be a rabbit for Pletcher's other runner, Mo Donegal, also co-owned by Mike Repole. I don't think she's beaten anything great in the filly races, so I would be surprised if she repeated what Rags to Riches did in this race, but it isn't completely impossible.
4) Rich Strike (7-2)
Trainer: Eric Reed
Jockey: Sonny Leon
Speaking of impossible... that's what the Derby winner was on paper prior to the race. He needed a scratch just to get into the race. His three main track Beyer Speed Figures were 64, 56 and 65. He was a $30K claim and had never been better than third for the new barn. He was 46-1 in a race he was beaten 14 lengths by Epicenter. None of that mattered in the Derby as Sonny Leon waited, made a move and found an opening on the rail to win the Derby in shocking fashion, posting a Beyer 17 points higher than anything he previously ran. Connections chose to skip the Preakness and a potential chance at Triple Crown immortality, which I didn't think was good for the sport (and still don't). I almost saw the move as a "go out on a high note with a Derby win," so I am pleasantly surprised he's running here. There's a myth with the Belmont that it's a closers race -- it's not. It's a race for those with tactical speed, something I don't think Rich Strike has, and grinders. He got a total pace collapse in Louisville and there will be nothing close to that here. There's an adage many use when looking at shocking winners and the race after: "If you weren't there for the baptism, you don't want to be there for the funeral." After winning at 81-1 in the Derby, I certainly can't back a stone-cold closer at what will likely be the shortest odds he's ever been. He can certainly hit the board, but I think a third-place finish is probably his ceiling based on his career prior to the Derby win and the projected pace in the Belmont.
5) Creative Minister (6-1)
Trainer: Ken McPeek
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.
He actually ran pretty well in the Preakness, grinding out a third-place finish after being supplemented to the race. He's improved every start speed-figure wise and his running style suggests he can go 1½ miles. There's no Early Voting or Epicenter in here and I'm hoping he's forgotten about on the tote board as I think he has a huge shot here. If you're looking for a reason to stand against, it would be the three races in five weeks angle, but it's hard to ignore he's one of three in here with a triple-digit Beyer and his second-best number is far better than the second-best number either We the People or Rich Strike have posted.
6) Mo Donegal (5-2)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Like Rich Strike, he's pace-dependent, but he's shown he can stay a little more in touch. He was likely compromised in the Derby from the rail draw and then a 10-wide trip. His two stakes wins have been by a neck and a nose, so if he does get there, it won't be without a sweat. He's likely going to be shorter than he should be as well. My hunch is he's best used for second and third, but I can't fault anyone who lands on Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz Jr. at Belmont.
7) Golden Glider (20-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Dylan Davis
There was a bit of buzz about this horse leading up to the Sam F. Davis, but he was no match for Classic Causeway at Tampa. I have some interest here for a variety of reasons. Trainer Mark Casse won this race in 2019 with a horse that really wasn't very accomplished (Sir Winston). His last two races can be somewhat forgiven, or a better word might be understood or explained. He ran second to a daylight, lone-speed winner (We the People) in the Peter Pan and that could have simply been a prep or test run for this race. The Blue Grass was devoid of speed and they tried to press that day and ultimately finished six lengths behind Zandon, who would likely be odds-on in here. Maybe he's not good enough and he'll plod around the track, but at the price he will be, I would certainly use him on top, as the Derby showed basically anything can happen on a given day in racing.
8) Barber Road (10-1)
Trainer: John Ortiz
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Like Rich Strike, he ran for a $30K claiming price, but unlike Rich Strike he wasn't claimed. It's strange, because this one showed some speed in those sprint races last fall and since stretching out has shown no speed at all, opting for the one-run closer path. Blinkers come off, so who knows what effect that will have, as blinkers usually come off a horse to cause them to relax and settle back -- something it doesn't appear Barber Road has had a problem doing. Trainer John Ortiz is another who hasn't had a ton of success finding the winners' circle in graded stakes races, but this one looks a little bit like 2016 Belmont winner Creator on paper. He'll need some pace help, but I'm a Joel Rosario fan, even if he didn't have the best of Preakness trips on Epicenter. He wouldn't be a shock at all, but I'd stick to the lower parts of the tri and super with him.
Suggested ways to bet the Belmont
Adjust depending on your budget
$2 exacta box 2-5-6-7-8 ($40)
$2 exacta 5/all ($14)
$2 exacta 8/all ($14)
$2 exacta 5/1-2-6-7-8 ($10)
$1 exacta all/5 ($7)
$1 exacta all/8 ($7)
$1 exacta 1-2-6-7-8/5 ($5)
$1 trifecta 5/all/all ($42)
$1 trifecta all/5/all ($42)
$1 trifecta all/all/5 ($42)
$1 trifecta 8/all/all ($42)
$1 trifecta all/8/all ($42)
$1 trifecta all/all/8 ($42)
$10 win-place 5, 8 ($40)
Other Saturday stakes picks
Acorn: Echo Zulu didn't run poorly in the Kentucky Oaks, the distance was just too far for her. She should bounce back here nicely at the one-turn mile distance at the site of a seven-length win in the Frizette last October.
Just a Game: It's hard not to think Speak of the Devil wins right back for Flavien Prat and Chad Brown with a very similar trip to what she got at Churchill last month.
Brooklyn: Warrant should bounce back from beaten favorite in the Ben Ali, where he kind of was stuck in a tough spot and faded. Expect an effort much closer to the one he gave in the Santa Anita Handicap -- and maybe closer to that price as well.
Woody Stephens: Jack Christopher may prove to be the best 3YO out there. He got a slow start to 2022, but it could pay off in the end as he crushed the Pat Day Mile field in his first start of the year. I'd expect he moves forward off that race and remains undefeated.
Ogden Phipps: Letruska is the most accomplished runner and she should be able to make her own pace here and repeat as the Ogden Phipps winner.
Jaipur: Hoping one of the bigger fields of the day yields a price with Whatmakessammyrun. He broke his maiden at Belmont and the sprint stakes tries haven't been bad at all. The last two races offer strong angles here, as in the Turf Sprint he was hung out in post 13 (of 13) and had no chance in his first race off a 10-month layoff. In the Oceanside last year, he was a beaten favorite in the one-mile race, where again he was up against it in post 11 (of 12). If someone can do the dirty work and soften up the Wesley Ward runner, we should have a big shot here.
Met Mile: In racing circles, this is the most anticipated race of the day, as is it features two of the best older colts in training -- Flightline and Speaker's Corner. I'm just going to sit and enjoy.
Manhattan: Gufo is pace-dependent, but should get a fair pace to close into here. If you're playing multirace wagers, I'd also suggest using In Love on your ticket.
Friday stakes picks
Bed O' Roses: I don't like Bella Sofia in here, but am torn between Obligatory and Glass Ceiling as to who is my top pick.
Belmont Gold Cup: Strong Tide had to check out when the real running began in the Louisville Handicap. He has had some decent turf tries despite the lesser-known connections and was 10-1 in this race last year. If you don't like Abaan, he's as good as anyone in here.
True North: I have no interest trying to beat Jackie's Warrior here. And even if I did, I don't know who I would put on top.
New York: Bleecker Street is the unbeaten Chad Brown runner in here, but I think her stablemate Rougir will get the jump on her and find the winners' circle.
Intercontinental: It doesn't look like there will be a hotly contested pace, but I don't want to take a short number on Wesley Ward, so I'll hope there winds up being a bit more of a pace presence than it appears and land on Flower Point, who is back in New York after a "meh" effort at CD in a route race. Hoping the turn-back in distance is a big plus for her here. -- Chris Fallica
Anita Marks' picks
3) Nest (8-1)
Win; exacta box (3, 1, 6)
In horse racing you always want to find value, and in this year's Belmont, the best value you will find is betting the filly to beat the colts Saturday. Nest is owned by Michael Repole -- Mr. Vitamin Water -- trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by Jose Ortiz. This ownership group would not race Nest if it were not uber confident she could win, and specifically saved her for this race due to the distance (1½ miles) and her pedigree -- she's a descendant of Curlin, who was known for distance. Nest won the G1 Ashland, but came in second to Secret Oath in the Kentucky Oaks. She can sit forward, and has the ability to make an early run. Another horse who has a chance to win Saturday is We the People, who has become the "wise guy horse." He won the Peter Pan Stakes on this track -- going wire to wire. This is a race that doesn't have a lot of speed, so he is it. His pedigree is for distance as well -- his sire was Constitution, descendant of Tapit. Five of the past eight Belmont winners have had Tapit bloodlines. Last but not least, I will throw in Mo Donegal to round out my exacta box. Another Todd Pletcher horse, the jockey is Irad Ortiz, and Mo comes in with a win over the Preakness winner Early Voting.