2013 Belmont Stakes Trends for Betting
by Trevor Whenham - 5/30/2013
The Belmont Stakes is very difficult race to handicap. The Belmont is much longer than any horse has run before and longer than most are bred to run. The track is a half mile longer than most, too, so the stretch is endless, and the turns are sweeping. Horses are tired after the grueling spring, and it seems like anything can happen.
To try to find an edge in this race, then, Belmont Stakes trends are as important as anything else. With hopes that the past can provide the keys to the future, here are four trends that could be relevant this year:
The rematch factor
The biggest likely story of this edition of the Belmont Stakes will be the rubber match between Derby winner Orb and upset Preakness champ Oxbow. This is the fourth time since 2001 that we have seen the separate winners of those two races look to settle their grudge in the Belmont.
Based on the small historical sample size, Oxbow has the slight edge here. In 2001, Derby winner Monarchos finished third, while Preakness winner Point Given was the impressive Belmont winner. In 2005, Derby winner Giacomo faded down the stretch to finish seventh, while Preakness winner Afleet Alex was a wildly-impressive seven-length Belmont winner. In 2011, neither winner was impressive in the Belmont, though Preakness champ Shackleford’s fifth-place finish was one spot better than Derby champ Animal Kingdom in sixth.
In short, each of the last three times that the Derby and Preakness winner have met, the Preakness winner has crossed the line first.
Last year Union Rags was the second choice at less than 3/1 when he won the Belmont. Horses that well-regarded haven’t had a lot of success in recent years in this race, though. Over the last 17 years we have seen just two favorites reach the finish line first. Favorites typically win a third of races, so the performance is well below expectations.
On the other extreme, when Ruler on Ice won in 2011 at odds of 25/1, he became the sixth horse in 16 years to win at odds of 25/1 or more. Needless to say, that is well beyond expectations for horses with odds like that.
There are a couple of lessons to be learned from this. First, the distance of this race and the brutal ordeal of the Triple Crown makes this race particularly tough to predict, and that seems to be becoming more true as time passes and horses are bred less and less for stamina in North America. Second, you really can’t rule out any horse in this race. On paper there have been a lot of Belmont winners who didn’t look particularly competitive at post time.
This is not the era of the Iron Horse
Horses that run in all three legs of the Triple Crown are praised by fans and the media. Unfortunately, they have not recently been doing very well in the Belmont as the weight of the Triple Crown challenge weighs on them.
Afleet Alex in 2005 is the only horse in the last 11 years to win the Belmont after starting in the Derby and Preakness. Last year Optimizer, a D. Wayne Lukas-trained contender, was the only horse to try all three races, and he was second to last in the Belmont.
This year could threaten this trend, though.
There are three horses currently aiming at iron horse status — Derby winner Orb, and the one-two Lukas punch of Preakness winner Oxbow and Will Take Charge. Orb will very likely be the Belmont favorite if he runs, and Oxbow will be a serious contender. History is stacked against them, but rules are made to be broken. Maybe.
Two Triple Crown races isn’t good, but one seems to be
While having run in both the Derby and the Preakness has worked against horses in recent years, the experience of running in one Triple Crown race has been very valuable.
In the last 19 years there have been 14 Belmont winners who had previously run in at least one Triple Crown race. Last year’s winner, Union Rags, had run in the Derby and skipped the Belmont. That ended a minor reversal of the longer trend — Summer Bird in 2009 was the only Belmont winner in the previous five years who had previous Triple Crown experience. That is somewhat misleading, though — Rags To Riches hadn’t run in a Triple Crown race before her 2007 Belmont win, but as the Kentucky Oaks winner she had run the day before the Derby in front of more than 100,000 screaming fans in a race that horses had been aimed at for months, so the equivalent was as close to a Triple Crown race as is possible.
Doc’s Sports has been a leader in Triple Crown handicapping for more than four decades, and we have a great offer for new clients. Get $60 worth of Belmont Stakes picks free with no obligation to buy anything. Not credit card is needed, and you won’t ever have to talk to a salesperson. Get your $60 in Belmont Stakes picks here.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent Belmont Stakes Handicapping
- Ranking Belmont Stakes Field Entries by Breeding Pedigree
- Belmont Undercard Races Feature Top-Level Racing Action
- Expert Belmont Stakes Betting Advice: Live Long Shots Can Provide Big Payday
- Best Belmont Stakes Trifecta Bets in 2019
- 2019 Belmont Stakes Pace Scenario
- Bourbon War Odds to Win the 2019 Belmont Stakes with Picks and Predictions
- Everfast Odds to win the 2019 Belmont Stakes with Expert Predictions
- Intrepid Heart Odds to win the 2019 Belmont Stakes with Expert Predictions
- Sir Winston Odds to win the 2019 Belmont Stakes with Expert Predictions
- Where to Bet on the Belmont Stakes in 2019