2021 Belmont Stakes Long Shots: Expert Advice and Betting Tips for Finding Value
Horse racing is a funny sport in the sense that a horse can be overlooked for the majority of his career and then in an instance on one sunny afternoon run the race of his life and then be considered a “good’ horse worth of low odds in his next race. That’s the scenario we find in the Belmont with Rombauer, who was upwards of 14-1 in the Preakness and an afterthought in most horseplayer’s minds. I wrote about him in my Preakness long shots piece and I hit the nail on the head with him, predicting he was the perfect closer for a race that would have speed up-front. And we saw how he closed on the leaders down the stretch to pull away and win by a few lengths. The satisfaction of winning some cash on him is one thing, but the best part about him romping home is seeing the research I put in pay off. So, for an encore, I try again in the Belmont.
This year, the Belmont Stakes is back in its normal spot. And with no Triple Crown opportunity to be had, the race has flown somewhat under the radar. I mean, we are just a few days out now, and I’ve seen very little coverage in terms of which horses have what it takes to conquer the distance and surface and cross the wire with their nose in front. In this year’s Belmont Stakes, you have horses that ran in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, you have horses that ran in one or the other, and horses that have yet to take part in a Triple Crown race. Those horses should be the fresher of the lot, but the talent level in this race cannot go unnoticed. I’ve circled a few long shots for you to include in your exotics as a way to spice up the payouts.
Bourbonic is a three-year-old colt bred by Bernadini and Dancing Afleet and is owned by Calumut Farm. He is trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by an experienced jockey, Kendrick Carmouche. Bourbonic had two great starts and results in the lead-up to finishing 13th at the Derby. Bourbonic opened his account by winning a Maiden Claiming race and then following it up with an Allowance Claiming win. He really made his mark in the Wood Memorial Stakes, where he won at an insane post-time price of 72-1. He was extremely impressive in that race but simply couldn’t follow up that performance in the Derby as he never really got going and failed to make any impact. He’s since been rested, refreshed and has been training well according to Pletcher, and if there is one trainer that I believe can come through with a long shot in a big Stakes race, it’s definitely Pletcher. Bourbonic should have the set up for the race he needs to make an impact and find himself hitting the tote board.
Overtook is a three-year-old bay colt, owned by Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable and Michael B. Tabor and is another from the barn of Pletcher. He is considered by many the least talented Pletcher horse in this field. However, would you put it past Pletcher to train another long shot to find the winners circle in a big race? I wouldn’t. Overtook started his upward trajectory by winning a Maiden Race in his third race, and then from there he ran second in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on February 6 before finishing third in the Peter Pan Stakes as one of the top choices on the board. He’s since been freshened and given adequate training, and the connections are on record of saying he’s training extremely well and he’s “a little more enthusiastic than he normal is”. Take that comment with a grain of salt considering we are talking about horses, but Pletcher entries simply cannot be overlooked.
France Go de Ina (28/1)
If you’re looking for a major player to crack the trifecta and light up the tote board, it could be France Go de Ina. This horse is a Chestnut colt bred in Kentucky out of Will Take Charge and Dreamy Blues. He’s owned by Yuji Inaida and trained by Hideyuki Mori, which makes this horse the third Japanese-trained horse to compete in the Belmont Stakes, behind Lani in 2016 and Master Fencer in 2020. France Go de Ina is a horse that likes to be on the front end early in races to establish the fractions he prefers. In his last start, this horse finished strong at the end despite being well back as he managed a respectable seventh-place finish. If he can get out of the gate clean, he should be able to make the lead as this race features no real pacesetter and the idea of Rock Your World going out and dueling with France Go de Ina for the lead just doesn’t make sense for the connections to implement that strategy. This Japanese horse can certainly boast a strong final kick. And if he can get the lead and set up fractions to his liking, he may be tough to pass down the stretch.
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