The $1.5-million Belmont Stakes (G1) can be a tricky race to find a winner as none of the three-year-olds set to run in the third jewel of the Triple Crown have traveled the 1½-mile test on the main track at Belmont Park.
Classic Empire is the 2-1 early betting favorite at Bovada and is seeking to improve off his fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and runner-up finish in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
Since 2002 only three horses have been able to run in the Derby, come back in two weeks and run in the Preakness and then three weeks later win the Belmont Stakes, one of those being Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015.
The colt paid just $3.50 to his backers as the heavy favorite, but we have seen plenty of long shots win the third jewel of the Triple Crown, including last year’s upset by Creator, who paid $34.80.
Here are a few Belmont Stakes betting trends to keep in mind before heading to the betting windows:
- Since Afleet Alex ($4.30) won in 2005, just one betting favorite has won the Belmont, American Pharoah completing his Triple Crown in 2015, returning $3.50.
- Since 1940 there have been 34 horses sent off at even money or less and only 13 have won.
- Since 1999, the Belmont winner has paid more than $20 11 times including last year with Creator returning his backers $34.80.
- The biggest payoff in the history of the race was Sarava’s win in 2002, the colt paying $142.50 to win.
- Of the 147 previous runnings of the Belmont Stakes, 62 have been won by the betting favorite (42%).
- Since Affirmed won the 1978 edition at 3-5, nine runners have been sent off at even money or less and just one has won — American Pharoah at 3-4 in 2015.
- While American Pharoah topped a $2 exacta that returned just $13.60 in 2015, the toteboard has lit up in recent years. The 2013 exacta paid $324, the 2014 exacta paid $348 and the 2016 exacta returned $269.
- The top exacta payoff came in 2002 when Sarava (70-1) topped Medaglia d’Oro (16-1), the $2 payoff coming in at $2,454.
- Only one of the last eight Belmont winners ran in the Preakness Stakes — American Pharoah in 2015. Just four of the last 18 winners ran in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
- Since 1994, 17 of the 23 Belmont winners had raced in the Run for the Roses, eight of those running in both jewels of the Triple Crown.
- In the last 10 years, four Belmont winners were making their Triple Crown debuts — Rags to Riches (2007), Drosselmeyer (2010), Ruler On Ice (2011) and Tonalist (2014).
- Of the recent Belmont winners to exit a non-Triple Crown race, Tonalist (2014) won the Peter Pan (G2), Ruler On Ice (2011) was second in the Federico Tesio, Drosselmeyer (2010) was second in the Dwyer (G2), Da’Tara was second in the Barbaro Stakes (2008) and Rags to Riches (2007) won the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
- American Pharoah became the first gate-to-wire winner of the Belmont since Da’ Tara in 2008. Only three of the last 31 editions of the race have been won in gate-to-wire fashion.
- Since 2005 the best post position is the one post with 23 winners. However, the last winner to break from the one post was Empire Maker in 2003. The three and five posts are next in total winners with 15 each.
- Only two geldings have won the race—Ruler On Ice in 2011 and Crème Fraiche in 1985.
- Only nine horses bred outside of the U.S have won the Belmont; the most recent to do so was Canadian-bred Victory Gallop in 1998. The last Belmont winner bred overseas to win the race was Go and Go (1990), who was bred in Ireland.
- The largest winning margin was Secretariat’s 31-length win in 1973. 17 times the Belmont winner won by eight lengths or larger. Count Fleet won the 1943 Belmont by 25 lengths.
- The Belmont has been decided four times by a nose in its history, including last year’s victory by Creator.
- Trainer Todd Pletcher, who will send out two runners in this year’s edition, has started 22 runners in the Belmont, winning twice — Rags to Riches (2007) and Palace Malice (2013).
Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.
Exaggerator will be sent off as the heavy betting favorite on Saturday for the $1.5-million Belmont Stakes (G1), currently at odds of 10-11.
However, before backing the Preakness Stakes (G1) winner on Saturday, keep in mind the betting favorite for the Belmont Stakes has not fared particularly well in recent years.
While Exaggerator will be making his third start in five weeks, most of the field will come into the race fresher, several having run in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness.
None in the field have ever run 1 ½ miles, and likely never will again. Here are some betting trends to keep in mind before laying down your wagers on Saturday for the third jewel of the Triple Crown:
- Last year American Pharoah was the first betting favorite to win the Belmont Stakes since Afleet Alex in 2005.
- The wagering favorite has won just three times in the last two decades (American Pharoah, Afleet Alex and Thunder Gulch in 1995).
- Since 1940 there have been 35 favorites sent off at even money or less and only 13 have won.
- Eight of the last nine betting favorites sent off at even money or less have lost.
- Before American Pharoah, the last horse to win both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes was Afleet Alex in 2005.
- Over the past decade the average winner went off at 12-1 and the $2 exacta returned $268, the trifecta average $1,100.
- Since 1999, 10 Belmont Stakes winners went off at odds of 10-1 or better including Lemon Drop Kid (1999) at 29-1, Sarava (2002) at 70-1, Birdstone (2004) at 36-1, Da’Tara (2008) at 38-1 and Ruler On Ice (2011) at 24-1.
- Sarava set a record with his $2 win payoff of $142.50, snuffing out War Emblem’s Triple Crown bid.
- Since 2000, there have been seven runners that ran in the Kentucky Derby, skipped the Preakness and then won the Belmont Stakes, the most recent Palace Malice in 2013.
- Five of the last nine Belmont Stakes winners did not compete in either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness, the last Tonalist in 2014.
- American Pharoah became the first gate to wire winner of the Belmont since Da’ Tara in 2008.
- Since 2005 the best post position is the one post with 23 winners. However, the last winner to break from the one post was Empire Maker in 2003. The three and five post are next in total winners with 15 each.
- Since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978, the Preakness winner has won just six times in 29 tries. A dozen times the Preakness winner ran out of the money.
- Three times the 1 ½ mile Belmont has been decided by a nose—Granville edged Mr. Bones in 1936; Jaipur beat Admiral’s Voyage in 1962; and Victory Gallop beat Real Quiet in 1998.
- The largest winning margin was Secretariat’s 31-length win in 1973. 17 times the Belmont winner won by eight lengths or larger.
Handicapper Michael Dempsey provides his full card analysis for Belmont Park daily at turfnsport.com. Odds – Shark readers can use the coupon code “sport” for 20% off reports through the Belmont Stakes!