2021 Belmont Stakes Betting Guide

How to bet on the Belmont Stakes in New York

Welcome to the 153rd Belmont Stakes, the historic and majestic third jewel of thoroughbred horse racing’s prestigious Triple Crown.

The 1½-mile event, which attracts the nation’s top 3-year-old horses, unfolds June 5 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

This page will outline the Belmont’s stature, betting variables and trends for the event which makes New York the center of the horse-racing world.

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How to bet on the Belmont Stakes in NY

For bettors in New York who want to get in on the Belmont Stakes action, look no further than the TVG horse betting app.

The platform allows bettors to place wagers via their cell phones, computers or tablets.

What’s more, racetracks throughout the Empire State, if allowing spectators, will certainly accomodate. So, too, will simulcasting facilities.

Here are the New York tracks bettors can consult with and/or attend as the event draws closer:

Aqueduct11000 Rockaway BlvdOzone Park
Belmont Park2150 Hempstead TurnpikeElmont
Buffalo Raceway5600 McKinley ParkwayHamburg
Finger Lakes5857 NY-96Farmington
Monticello Raceway204 NY 17 BMonticello
Saratoga Race Course267 Union AveSaratoga Springs
Tioga Downs2834 W. River RdNichols
Vernon Downs4229 Stuhlman RdVernon
Yonkers Raceway810 Yonkers AveYonkers

2021 Belmont Stakes odds and betting favorites

Though no horse enters the Belmont with Triple Crown dreams, that doesn’t mean the final leg doesn’t have plenty of storylines.

Odds for the 2021 Belmont Stakes are now available, provided by TVG.

Post PositionHorseJockeyOdds
1BourbonicKendrick Carmouche15-1
2Essential QualityLuis Saez2-1
3RombauerJohn Velazquez3-1
4Hot Rod CharlieFlavien Prat7-2
5France Go de InaRicardo Santana Jr.30-1
6Known AgendaIrad Ortiz Jr.6-1
7Rock Your WorldJoel Rosario9-2
8OvertookManny Franco20-1

No horse in the field has even raced this distance before, so a first will obviously occur at the Belmont.

Despite a disappointing finish at the Kentucky Derby, Known Agenda does have a win at the 2021 Florida Derby. Rock Your World, starting in the next-door post position, heads into the Belmont with a wire-to-wire victory at the Santa Anita Derby. Both horses trot into this race with attractive odds.

Two of the favorites, though, are Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie, both of which skipped the Preakness Stakes after placing fourth and third at the Kentucky Derby, respectively.

Rombauer holds the second-best odds to win June 5, fresh off a victory at the Preakness Stakes and starting beside Essential Quality.

Common types of bets

New York racing has always been an industry leader in sparking betting interest by offering manageable takeout percentages, which represent the percentage of each dollar wagered that the track keeps. The New York Racing Association is among the best in the business for win, place and show bets in particular.

  • 15%: Pick 5
  • 16%: Win, Place, Show
  • 18.5%: Exacta, Quinella, Daily Double
  • 20%: Empire 6
  • 24%: Trifecta, Superfecta, Grand Slam, Pick 3, Pick

This makes the win bet more playable for gamblers. Here are many of the different types of bets available.

  • Win: Bet on the winning horse. Odds are reasonable for any winner in this race, given the top competition. Minimum bet is usually $2.
  • Place: A horse to finish second or higher.
  • Show: A horse to finish third or higher. Place and show bets pay less than the win wager but offer more opportunities to cash a ticket.
  • Exactas: Select the order of the top two finishers. It’s always good to box them. You’d hate to have the right two horses in the wrong order.
  • Trifectas: Pick the top three finishers in order. Wagered via straight bet, a box of three or more horses or a partial wheel.
    • The Box: A $1 trifecta box with three horses costs $6. Any combination of these three horses in the top three positions becomes a winning ticket.
    • The Key: For the same $6, bettors can place a horse in the first spot, followed by three others in the second and third slots. Example: A $1 trifecta key with the “1” over the “2-3-4” means the 1 horse must win and any combo of the “2-3-4” in the next two slots is a winning ticket. For $12, you can take that 1 horse in the first and second position with the other three horses. Same principle if the horse runs second. The others must fill in the first and third slots.
  • Superfecta: Picking the top four horses in the correct order. Same combinations for trifectas can be used. The superfecta is often lucrative, but extremely hard to hit. But the principle of keying a horse can also valuable. This proved true in the 2019 Belmont.

Handicapping the Belmont Stakes

The first angle is pedigree. If a horse has won the Derby and Preakness, he will be the first consideration. With no double-winner here, that won’t come into play in 2021.

But, any horses coming out of the Derby and Preakness present a second level of consideration. They have eliminated the pretenders. That said, keep an eye on horses entered just for the Belmont without running in the Derby or Preakness. They may be fresher and that’s been a source of disgruntlement by some trainers who ran their horse in all three Triple Crown events.

The training angle is important too. For example, Bob Baffert trained the last two Triple Crown winners, American Pharoah and Justify. Baffert, though, has no horses in the 2021 Belmont. Who does, however, is Todd Pletcher, who has trained three Belmont winners over the years. His three horses in 2021 include Bourbonic, Known Agenda and Overtook.

The distance angle is tricky because the 1½-mile route is unique. There is no circuit for horses regularly running this distance.
And sometimes, as in 2019, the race may go to the horse that “gets the best trip.”

Sir Winston, who had failed to win Grade 3 events earlier in the year, captured this Grade 1 event with a combination of determination and positioning. Gaining a ground-saving trip on the inside, he took the lead late and held off Tacitus, who swung wide and could not make up the difference. Tacitus had beaten Sir Winston earlier in the year.

Handicap the speed angle. The distance is usually too long for a horse to break in front, fight off other horses and win. Many winners use the first mile and a quarter to keep contact with the pace, roll to the outside and overcome the leaders down the stretch.

The eventual winner often is not leading at the top of the stretch, so a well-timed move often determines the outcome.

Prestige of the Belmont

The Belmont, first run in 1867, has an iconic industry presence.

It is not only the oldest Triple Crown competition but also the fourth-oldest race in North America behind the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland (1831), the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine (1860) and the Travers at Saratoga Springs (1864).

On 36 occasions, the Belmont has hosted an attempted Triple Crown Sweep. Thirteen horses added the Belmont Stakes victory to previous wins in that year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Some of the 23 failed bids were intensified by a $5 million bonus then in place for a Triple Crown winner. Some $5 million payouts were denied by the narrowest of margins, including one by a nose.

Belmont positioning as Triple Crown third leg

Being the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont has two vantage points.

If no horse sweeps the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, the Belmont becomes a standalone, high-profile, seven-figure event ($1.5 million purse in 2019).

But if a horse does win the first two Triple Crown legs, the Belmont becomes an electrified worldwide betting magnet, aided by three weeks of extensive publicity.

The Belmont enjoyed a record 120,194 fans in 2004 for Smarty Jones’ unsuccessful Triple Crown bid and capped the number of spectators to roughly 90,000 in 2015 for parking and logistics purposes.

That’s the year American Pharoah ended the Triple Crown’s longest drought of 37 years. Without the attendance cap, the event may have drawn 150,000 spectators.

Although COVID-19 concerns drastically reduce or eliminate live spectators now, capacity crowds will return in the future.

This is the longest of the three Triple Crown races, ahead of the 1¼-mile Kentucky Derby and 13⁄16-mile Preakness Stakes.

The race returns to 1½ miles after being run at an unusual distance of 1⅛ miles last year and becoming the first, rather than the final, Triple Crown leg. That stopped a nearly 100-year stretch of the Belmont running its grueling 1½-mile distance since 1925. The main track, in fact, is the largest dirt thoroughbred racecourse in North America.

The race is named after August Belmont, who had been a leading banker and racing figure of the 19th century. He was also the first president of the Jockey Club in 1867. In 1869, August Belmont took first and second money with his own Fenian and Glenelg.

Famous Belmont Stakes winners include 13 Triple Crown champions:

Horse (Year)
Sir Barton (1919)
Gallant Fox (1930)
Omaha (1935)
War Admiral (1937)
Whirlaway (1941)
Count Fleet (1943)
Assault (1946)
Citation (1948)
Secretariat (1973)
Seattle Slew (1977)
Affirmed (1978)
American Pharoah (2015)
Justify (2018)

Of the 23 near-misses, nine have occurred since 1990. These horses won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but could not capture the Belmont.

As for the largest upsets by odds:

  • 2002: Sarava, 70-1
  • 1961: Sherluck, 65-1
  • 1980: Temperence Hill, 53-1
  • 2004: Birdstone, 36-1
  • 1971: Pass Catcher, 34-1

We’d be remiss not to mention 1973, year of the legendary Secretariat. Completing one of the most amazing six-week runs by any thoroughbred, Secretariat prevailed by a Belmont-record 31 lengths. He also established the Belmont Stakes and world record for 1½ miles on dirt, 2:24, which stands today.

Belmont Stakes FAQ

What is the Belmont Stakes record for attendance?

It was 120,139 in 2004.

How did the Belmont Stakes purse change in 2020?

Because of COVID-19 concerns that shut out spectators, the Belmont Stakes chopped its $1.5 million purse to $1 million last year. However, it went back up to $1.5 million in 2021.

How much money goes to the winner of the Belmont Stakes?

That depends on the purse, but usually 53% of the overall amount. Sir Winston’s connections earned $800,000 of the $1.5 million purse in 2019. Tiz The Law won $535,000 of the $1 million purse last year.

What post position has won the most at the Belmont Stakes

The 1 position, 23 times.

Who won the first Belmont Stakes?

Ruthless, in 1867, one of three fillies to capture this event. The others were Tanya in 2005 and Rags to Riches in 2007.

Who won the last Belmont Stakes?

Tiz the Law, 2020.

What is the fastest time ever run at the Belmont Stakes?

Secretariat, in 1973, prevailed in 2:24 and had the largest margin of victory: 31 lengths.

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