2021 Belmont Stakes Predictions: Expert Betting Analysis and Free Picks
We have arrived on the eve of the 2021 Belmont Stakes. And with every passing article I write, every talking head I listen to, and everyone’s opinion I hear on this particular race, I’m starting to get more and more excited. Look, this year’s edition of the Belmont doesn’t have the “wow” factor that previous editions have had because there is no Triple Crown opportunity and there is a slew of horses – outside of the Preakness winner, Rombauer -- who are coming off disappointing races in either the Kentucky Derby or the aforementioned Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
So far in the lead-up to the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes, I’ve written about the pace scenario, my live longshots and the best trifecta options for Saturday’s big race. There are a lot of other storylines I could cover. However, as we approach post time, most people just want to know who I like and why I like them. So, for the sake of this article, I’ll run down each entry into the Belmont and I’ll give you a quick summary of why they will or won’t win and then I’ll give you my plays for the coming weekend.
No. 1 Bourbonic – Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche, Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Why Bourbonic Will Win: This horse will win the Belmont Stakes because he’s got a great jockey/trainer connection and he’s coming off a disappointing Kentucky Derby, so we see a bounce-back to form for the horse that won the Wood Memorial Stakes at a price of 72-1. He’s got a quick turn of foot and should be in position to get around the home turn without any traffic and have a clear path to the wire.
Why He Won’t Win: Maybe he peaked in the Wood Memorial and the Derby result was more along the lines of what to expect from the horse. The fractions are expected to be slow as there is no real pacesetter in this race. Therefore, even if he does get a good trip, a sprint to the finish line may not be in his best interest.
No. 2 Essential Quality – Jockey: Luis Saez, Trainer: Brad Cox
Why Essential Quality Will Win: This horse was the Kentucky Derby favorite and didn’t come through for its connections or bettors. He’ll be looking to bounce back in this race after skipping the Preakness. And with the time off to freshen up and get in some bullet workouts, he may very well be the most talented horse in this field.
Why He Won’t Win: It’s one thing to go off as the Derby favorite, but it’s another to just not show up and race to your standards. Essential Quality could be forgiven for his Derby result. However, having him as the favorite puts more pressure on the connections to make sure they get it right this time.
No. 3 Rombauer: Jockey: John Velazquez, Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Why Rombauer Will Win: This horse came from nowhere to mow down the leaders of the Preakness and pull away for the victory. He was upwards of 14/1 in that race, and now he’s listed at 3-1 morning line odds. He showed what he’s capable of given a good trip and fast fractions to chase down.
Why He Won’t Win: Rombauer will simply not have fast fractions to chase down like he did in the Preakness. This race is void of any real pacesetters, so the tempo will be moderate, and Rombauer won’t be able to sprint away from the likes of Essential Quality or Hot Rod Charlie.
No. 4 Hot Rod Charlie: Jockey: Flavien Prat, Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Why Hot Rod Charlie Will Win: This horse put in a gallant performance in the Derby, finishing third, and he’s likely the second most talented horse in the field behind Essential Quality. Hot Rod Charlie has the pedigree to get the grueling distance and should benefit from being up near the lead but not setting the pace.
Why He Won’t Win: The sole fact that Hot Rod Charlie might be too eager on the front end and end up setting unreasonable fractions. With no pacesetter, and a horse like this that likes to be near the front, the cat and mouse game between jockeys might come into effect here and they might just let Hot Rod Charlie tire himself out on the lead and on what is typically a closer’s track.
No. 5 France Go de Ina: Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr, Trainer: Hideyuki Mori
Why France Go de Ina Will Win: This is a very good question. I don’t exactly have an answer. However, stranger things have happened in horse racing, so why not?
Why He Won’t Win: This horse is a long shot for a reason. He’s one of the lesser horses in the field, and his pedigree and track record aren’t the sharpest.
No. 6 Known Agenda: Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr, Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Why Known Agenda Will Win: This horse is the second of three entries for Pletcher, and he’s the most talented. He’s coming off a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Derby, so Pletcher knows a bounce-back race is necessary. He’s got the talent and the right trainer on the job.
Why He Won’t Win: The Derby result was concerning for a few reasons, but mainly because he never really got going despite not getting into any real traffic trouble. He was a sexy pick to pull off the win in the Derby and may very well be a sleeper in the Belmont, but I don’t see his form allowing him to beat this field.
No. 7 Rock Your World: Jockey: Joel Rosario, Trainer: John Sadler
Why Rock Your World Will Win: Perhaps by default this horse will go to the front and win this race wire-to-wire. Rock Your World is the likeliest of frontrunners, and he’s got speed to burn. If he can manage the fractions and not have anyone contest it, he may have a chance to slip away as they turn for home.
Why He Won’t Win: The distance is one-and-a-half miles, and Belmont favors closers. He’ll likely be on the front end and anything short of slow fractions, Rock Your World may burn out and be caught halfway down the home stretch.
No. 8 Overtook: Jockey: Manuel Franco, Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Why Overtook Will Win: This horse has been – according to the connections – “training much more enthusiastically than normal”. Take that quote for what it’s worth, but the third Pletcher entry could very well be sitting on a big race after a third, second and first in his last three starts.
Why He Won’t Win: Quotes never tell the whole story, and I’d be shocked to hear a trainer say negative things about his horse in the lead up to the big race. This horse is supposedly the lesser of the three Pletcher entries. And with the outside stall, the going could be tough for him.
$1 Exacta – 1, 8 with ALL
$1 Trifecta – 1, 2, 8 with 1, 2, 8 with ALL
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