Expert Belmont Stakes Betting Advice: Live Long Shots Can Provide Big Payday
The field for the Belmont Stakes sets up as particularly top-heavy. The 10-horse field features Tacitus favored at 9/5, with Preakness winner War of Will right behind at 2/1, and no other horse at better than 8/1. It would be easy to convince ourselves that the race is over before it starts and that one of those two will come out on top. But if the Belmont Stakes has taught us anything over the years, it is that you can't always trust favorites. Only four favorites have won the race since 1995, and two of those were Triple Crown winners. And since the favorites have been beaten in both legs of the Triple Crown so far this year, we should at least consider expanding our imagination when looking for horses to bet on here.
Here are three horses which have at least some compelling reasons to consider them. Country House was on this same list for the Derby, so if one of the right long shots comes in here, we could cap a very lucrative spring going against the grain. (Odds are the track morning line)
Intrepid Heart (10/1): He's at double-digits, so he narrowly fits into the realm of the long shot. Though he hasn't shown a lot on the track yet, he could be bet down from where he is at for one reason above all - his breeding is stellar . He's a son of Tapit, which is a very good thing for this race. Tapit has sired three Belmont winners since 2014 and can tie the all-time record for sires in this race with a win this year from one of his three sons entered - Tacitus and Bourbon War are the other two. Tapit's grandsire, A.P. Indy, won this race and has several winners among his descendants. A.P. Indy's sire is Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, and his damsire is Triple Crown winner Secretariat. That's incredible breeding, and that's just one side of Tapit's pedigree. His damsire is Unbridled, who won the Derby himself. Unbridled sired Belmont winner Empire Maker, who is the grandsire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. And Unbridled is also the grandsire of Belmont winner Birdstone, who sired Belmont winner Summer Bird. You get the point - Tapit has a ton of Belmont experience in his blood. But Intrepid Heart isn't done there - his damsire is Touch Gold, who also won the Belmont. The breeding for this challenge is stellar.
Now, the problem is that he has run only three times and just once in a stakes race. That stakes outing was here at Belmont in the Peter Pan Stakes. He finished third, but he stumbled early and was shaken, so it's hard to take too much from the race. He's moved forward each time out, though, his running style suits the race, and he has strong connections. He's a real factor.
Spinoff (15/1): This is Intrepid Heart's stablemate, so we are putting a lot of faith in Todd Pletcher's stable this year. Spinoff ran in the Derby, and it was an absolute disaster. He clearly hated the sloppy track, and everything went wrong as he wound up 18th. But he seemed like he was a little light on action heading into that race, so the positive at least is that he got some race experience in that outing. Pletcher has had success bringing horses that disappointed in the Derby only to move way forward in the Belmont. Both Tapwrit and Palace Malice were well out of contention in the Derby - more than 10 lengths in both cases - before they won the Belmont. And in 2016 Destin bombed in the Derby only to finish second in the Belmont. Spinoff showed some real talent in the Louisiana Derby while finishing second, and he's better than he showed in Kentucky.
Tax (15/1): Trainer Danny Gargan is relatively new to the training game and made his Triple Crown debut in the Derby this year with this colt. But he's talented - training in New York, he has won 23 percent of his starts this year.
This colt had a true dud of a race in the Derby. He broke slowly and never got over it. He didn't look like he was really running at any point. But he has run his best races in the state of New York - a win, a place, and a show in three graded stakes, though none at Belmont. He showed enough talent leading up to the Derby that I am willing to pretend that that race never happened. He was a very consistent runner before that race and showed both talent and improvement. I don't imagine that he'll go off at the price, but as long as he is in double digits there is some value here.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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