Belmont Stakes 2023 Betting Guide: Odds, Picks, Betting Advice
The Belmont Stakes won’t produce a 2023 Triple Crown winner, but it’s still an intriguing betting race on the biggest day of the year at the New York track.
A field of nine will contest the ‘Test of the Champion’ on Saturday, the longest of the three Triple Crown races at 12 furlongs (1 1/2 miles). Forte, who would have been the Kentucky Derby betting favorite if not been forced to scratch the morning of the race due to a foot bruise, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite.
Trainer Todd Pletcher also has the second choice on the morning line in Tapit Trice (3-1). Pletcher has won the Belmont four times, including last year with Mo Donegal.
National Treasure, who led every step of the way to win the 1 3/16-mile Preakness three weeks ago, will likely attempt similar front-running tactics in the Belmont. If successful, National Treasure would become the first horse in more than 100 years to win the Preakness and Belmont without having run in the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby winner Mage is sitting out the Belmont after finishing third in the Preakness. The Belmont is race 12 on a stellar 13-race card that includes nine stakes, including six Grade 1s.
Here is a closer look at Belmont Stakes 155, with race facts, analysis and selections.
Belmont Stakes Field
About Belmont 155
When: Saturday, June 10
Where: Belmont Park, Elmont, N.Y.
Post time: 7:02 p.m., ET
Distance: 1 1/2 miles
Purse: $1.5 million
Analysis of 2023 Belmont Stakes Field
In post position order
1. Tapit Shoes (20-1)
One win, one second, one third in five lifetime starts. Second to Belmont competitor Red Route One in lone stakes attempt.
Why he can win: Has shown gradual improvement and has enough early speed to challenge National Treasure as potential pacesetter. Sire Tapit has produced four Belmont winners.
Why he can’t: This is his first graded stakes race, so he’s taking a huge step up in class. Only one career win and that was against maidens. Ran last four races with Lasix, won’t have it on Saturday.
2. Tapit Trice (3-1)
Four wins in six career starts, including Blue Grass Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby. Finished non-threatening seventh in Kentucky Derby.
Why he can win: Late-running, big-striding gray should appreciate the extra distance. Smaller field should help avoid traffic issues that resulted in extremely wide Derby trip.
Why he can’t: Slow into stride and doesn’t like kickback. When bumped, he tends to lose momentum and takes a while to get going again. Needs a clean trip.
3. Arcangelo (8-1)
Lightly-raced colt has two wins and a second in four starts. Won Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park three weeks ago.
Why he can win: Rapidly improving — each of his past three starts was significantly better and faster than the last. Has enough tactical speed to sit a few lengths behind the pacesetters.
Why he can’t: This isn’t the Peter Pan and it’s fair to question the competition he has beaten. Lacks the seasoning of others in the field — didn’t make it to the races until six months ago.
4. National Treasure (5-1)
Two wins, one second, two thirds in six starts. Took the field gate-to-wire to win Preakness, digging in late to hold off runner-up Blazing Sevens.
Why he can win: Speed is always dangerous. If allowed to set uncontested lead, similar scenario to Preakness could unfold. Trainer Bob Baffert has won 17 Triple Crown races, including Belmont three times.
Why he can’t: Set very soft early fractions in Preakness and may face more challenging trip here. Had lost four consecutive races until Preakness win.
5. Il Miracolo (30-1)
Two wins, three seconds in 10 starts. Won last race vs. a small allowance field at Gulfstream Park in South Florida.
Why he can win: His two wins were both gate-to-wire, so maybe he’s aggressively ridden to the front and tries to hold on. Hard to see him winning any other way.
Why he can’t: His speed figures are significantly slower than the rest of the field. Non-competitive in five stakes races, finishing no better than fifth in any of them. Will be longest shot on the board.
6. Forte (5-2)
Last year’s 2-year-old champion has six wins in seven starts, including Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth. Scratched from Kentucky Derby by state vet on morning of race because of foot bruise.
Why he can win: No horse in the field has a more accomplished resume. Has won five consecutive races, all Grade I or Grade 2 stakes. In both starts this year he defeated Mage, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby.
Why he can’t: The Florida Derby victory was April 1 — 10 weeks ago. That’s a long layoff heading into distance test like the Belmont. His fastest race was as a 2-year-old last year, so it’s reasonable to question how much he has improved.
7. Hit Show (10-1)
Three wins, one second in six starts. Finished fifth in Kentucky Derby at 24-1, the first time he was not sent off the betting favorite.
Why he can win: He wasn’t far off a hot early pace in the Derby, yet remained in contention while most of the other frontrunners backed up. Consistent sort always shows up.
Why he can’t: Could do no better than second in weak running of Wood Memorial before Derby, though he did break from difficult No. 12 post. Will likely need to run a career-best speed figure to win this.
8. Angel of Empire (7-2)
Four wins, one second, one third in seven starts. Won Risen Star and Arkansas Derby; was gaining late to finish third in Kentucky Derby.
Why he can win: Beaten only 1 1/2 lengths in Kentucky Derby and ran a 104 Beyer figure, the highest speed figure in this field. A repeat of that performance makes him a top contender.
Why he can’t: Had a good closing setup in Derby, but still couldn’t finish the deal. Will his closing kick be as effective going another two furlongs?
9. Red Route One (15-1)
Two wins, two seconds, one third in 10 starts. Finished fourth in Preakness, beaten less than five lengths.
Why he can win: Dances every dance — this is his eighth consecutive stakes race and he’s been competitive in most of them. No early speed, so a fast early pace significantly improves his chances.
Why he can’t: While consistent, he seems a notch below Grade I competition. Most of the others in the field have run faster.
Belmont Stakes Selections
1. Tapit Trice has the look of a Belmont horse. He’s a come-from-behind grinder who wants extra distance and needs a clear path to rally. His seventh-place finish in a crowded Kentucky Derby field was compromised by slow start, a few bumps and a wide trip. It’s up to jockey Luis Saez to navigate a smoother journey in this smaller, nine-horse field. Has similar running style to Mo Donegal, who won last year’s Belmont after finishing fifth in the Derby.
2. The value play is Hit Show (10-1), who ran a better-than-it-looked fifth in the Kentucky Derby. He was less than five lengths off a swift early pace and hung on well enough while several others on or near the lead plummeted toward the back. He’s bred for the distance. Speed figures are competitive, but will need to take another step forward to win this.
3. Forte has done almost nothing wrong in his seven-race career, with six victories, including five in a row. The foot bruise suffered during Derby week was the ultimate case of poor timing. His talent is obvious, and the injury is behind him, but he hasn’t raced in 10 weeks. That’s a long layoff leading into the most stamina-testing race of his career. He will likely be favored and overbet. For value players, that’s a tough sell.
Of the others, Arcangelo has an impressive stakes win over the Belmont track and should offer decent value. … Angel of Empire ran a solid third in the Derby and will be formidable again if he wants the Belmont distance. … National Treasure stole the Preakness by setting slow fractions. Hard to imagine the other riders will allow that to happen again, though sometimes it does.
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