Sports Betting Insights: Tips for Betting the Belmont Stakes
by Dave Schwab - 6/4/2014
History could be made this Saturday, June 7, at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York with California Chrome trying to become the first three-year old thoroughbred to win the elusive Triple Crown of horse racing since Affirmed last accomplished this amazing feat back in 1978.
There have been only 11 horses in the history of Triple Crown racing to capture all three titles (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes), and for good reason. Running three major stakes races in a little over a month is a grueling test in of itself, but it ends with having to win the toughest test of the three. The Belmont Stakes is contested on a dirt track over a distance of 1 ½ mile, which is a quarter mile longer than each of the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Regardless of whether or not you think that California Chrome can win this race, there are a couple of key factors to take into consideration when betting on the Belmont Stakes in general. The first is to throw all the front-runners out of the mix. The extra distance of the Belmont does not set up well for any wire-to-wire runs. Horses that love to break fast out of gate and run in the lead rarely have the stamina to maintain that pace as the race wears on.
The next betting tip is to focus your handicapping efforts on the proven commodities in the field. There are many unknowns with most of the horses that run in the Kentucky Derby regardless of what they have done in some of the prep races leading up to that race. By the time we get to the Belmont, we know which horses are legitimate contenders given their performance in either the Derby or the Preakness and in some cases both races.
That is not to say that a horse that is making its Triple Crown debut cannot win the Belmont, it just means that they are one of those unknowns in this race. It is one thing to make a good showing in a grade III or even grade II stakes race against a watered-down field; however it's a whole other thing to successfully compete against the best three year olds in the nation that have already been battle-tested in a Triple Crown event.
While you should be very leery of any unproven horses in the field, this does not mean that you should avoid focusing your energy on some of the longshots in the Belmont. The extra distance of this race actually works to even the playing field, especially if you come across a longshot that likes to stalk the field. If they have shown good closing speed in the past then that horse could easily be in striking distance down the stretch should the leaders begin to fade over that final quarter mile.
One betting strategy could be to wheel one or two longshots with the favorite or work them into the mix of your exacta and trifecta bets. This is an especially effective tactic when the odds on the favorite are expected to be low as in the case of California Chrome. This way you can enhance your potential return should your hunch prove to be correct.
The final betting strategy to employ in a major stakes race such as the Belmont is head-to-head plays based on matchup odds. These are usually released
right after the post positions have been set the Wednesday before the race. Once again, this is where your homework on a few longshots can really pay off.
I would not take any horse in a head-to-head play against the favorite unless your confidence level is through the roof.If you do find a long shot that you
love,\ then you should try and cash in on the favorable odds they should have against a few of the top contenders in the field. This way your horse does
not necessarily have to finish in the money to pay off, rather it simply has to beat the other horse it is matched up against.
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