The stage is set for the 154th Belmont Stakes. And while there is no contender for the elusive Triple Crown title, that does not mean there is no excitement or tension surrounding the New York horse race.
Rich Strike returns to the track just a few weeks after pulling off a historic upset at the Kentucky Derby. But newcomer We The People enters as the heavy favorite, just ahead of popular pick Mo Donegal.
In an eight-horse field, seemingly anything could happen. Favorites have fared well when it comes to Belmont Stakes betting in recent years. Then again, heavy favorites have also fallen victim to historic upsets (see: Tonalist over California Chrome in 2014).
Fortunately, horse bettors can land a risk-free bet up to $200 with the TVG horse betting app using the promo code RISKFREE to make their picks for Saturday’s race. Post time is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. ET.
2022 Belmont Stakes outlook: Favorites vs. long shots
We The People heads into Saturday’s race as a 2-1 favorite to win the Belmont Stakes. Yet frontrunners have not finished that way this year in other races. That could open the door for Mo Donegal to get the victory at the 1½ Belmont.
Then again, favorites have had great success in recent years. In three of the past four Belmont Stakes races, the favorite has come away with the win, including Essential Quality (2021) and Tiz the Law (2020).
|1||We The People||Flavien Prat||2/1|
|4||Rich Strike||Sonny Leon||7/2|
|5||Creative Minister||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||6/1|
|6||Mo Donegal||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||5/2|
|7||Golden Glider||Dylan Davis||20/1|
|8||Barber Road||Joel Rosario||10/1|
While this will be his first Triple Crown race, it helps that We the People, with three wins in four starts, has already scored a win at Belmont Park. Last month, the 3-year-old went wire to wire for the win. But while favorites have lived up to the hype over the past four years, underdogs have been victorious at the Belmont Stakes 11 times over the past 15 races.
Yet more data to potentially go against the favorite. Especially if you prefer to back New York ties.
Pletcher owns spotlight as New York horse racing takes center stage
Based out of Long Island, trainer Todd Pletcher has booked three Belmont Stakes wins in his career. With two horses in this year’s field, chances seem good he will add another.
And it’s something of a family affair for the trainer.
Running out of the No. 6 post position, Mo Donegal stands as Pletcher’s best bet to win the 2022 Belmont Stakes. With three wins in six races, including two victories at New York’s Aqueduct Race Track, Mo Donegal has the experience and résumé to bring the fourth Belmont title to Pletcher’s stable. What’s more, New York Thoroughbred jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride the colt, six years after jockeying Creator to the 2016 win.
Irad is also the older brother of José Ortiz, who will mount the lone filly in the Belmont field and another Pletcher trainee, Nest. Like his brother, José has a Belmont victory in his portfolio, leading Tapwrit (a Pletcher horse) to victory in 2017. Interestingly, with 8-1 odds, Nest has a chance to become just the fourth filly to win the Belmont. The last to do so? Rags to Riches, Pletcher’s first Belmont winner, in 2007.
Other horses to watch at 2022 Belmont Stakes
Certainly, much attention will be paid to Rich Strike.
Stands to reason, just over a month ago, with 80-1 odds, Rich Strike became the second-biggest long shot to win the Kentucky Derby (Donerail, 91–1 n 1913).
But other previous Belmont winners and successful underdogs line the starting gate Saturday.
Consider Joel Rosario, for example. The jockey atop Barber Road previously rode Sir Winston (2019) and Tonalist (2014) to Belmont victories. The latter winner stands out on its own.
Eight years ago, California Chrome seemed destined to snap the long-lasting Triple Crown drought, entering the Belmont with 3-5 odds to add the third and final leg of the ever-elusive title.
Out of the No. 11 gate, however, Tonalist had other ideas. As California Chrome faded, Tonalist surged, using a burst on the homestretch to outkick Commissioner by a head and force California Chrome to become the 12th straight horse to fall short of the Belmont winning following victories at the Derby and Preakness Stakes.