The 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes returns to its pecking order in horse racing’s Triple Crown. Last year thanks to COVID the race was run first and the length shortened. It’s back to the traditional final leg and the 1 ½ mile distance will be the longest for any horse in the field. And while there will be no winner of the coveted Triple Crown this year, the Belmont Stakes won’t lack excitement.
Essential Quality is the deserving favorite on the odds board with five of the eight horses set to run listed with shorter than 7/1 odds. Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit skips the trip to New York but Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer will look to go 2-0 in his Triple Crown schedule. Trainer Mike McCarthy earned his first Triple Crown win with Rombauer at the Preakness and has a chance to quickly add another.
While Essential Quality sits atop the odds board, a case could be made for any of the top five to win The Test of the Champion. No horse stood out in the first two Triple Crown jaunts and it’s hard to say just how good this batch of thoroughbreds is. And the distance is a grueling test that won’t be easy.
The 2021 Belmont Stakes takes place on Saturday, June 5 from Belmont Park in Elmont, NY. Post time is approximately 6:49 p.m. ET on NBC.
2021 Belmont Stakes Odds
Essential Quality +235
Hot Rod Charlie +375
Rock Your World +485
Known Agenda +645
France Go De Ina +1850
(Odds courtesy of BookMaker.eu as of June 4, 2021)
Essential Quality (+235)
Essential Quality came off as the betting favorite despite a fourth-place showing at the Kentucky Derby where he was toppled by second favorite Hot Rod Charlie. A better starting position and a smaller field will certainly help Essential Quality, who failed to win in Louisville for the first time in six career starts.
He closed as the favorite at Churchill Downs based on his record that included two G1 wins as well as a G2 and G3 triumph. It’s hard to argue with his position as the favorite, however the length of the race is something to consider with Essential Quality’s unique stride.
Hot Rod Charlie (+375)
There is no clear cut favorite and many would argue based on Kentucky Derby results that Hot Rod Charlie should be the horse to beat. He narrowly edged Essential Quality for third at Churchill Downs and, according to handlers, Hot Rod Charlie should have no problem with the distance. He won his derby prep leading nearly the entire distance in the 1 3/16 miles Louisiana Derby. Both horses should be well rested after skipping the Preakness.
And, of course, there is Preakness winner Rombauer lurking as a top favorite. The colt didn’t race in the Kentucky Derby, but he had a strong close to cruise to a convincing victory at Pimlico. We still don’t know a lot about Rombauer since he has only three previous starts this year. However, two of them were wins with a triumph at the El Camino Real Derby in February and he’s the only horse in the field with a win in his most recent race.
The top of the odds board also consists of Rock Your World and Known Agenda. Rock Your World beat Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit in the Santa Anita Derby a month before the Run for the Roses. He had a bad start and tougher finish at Churchill Downs finishing 17th. There is a good chance he rebounds from that effort since it wasn’t his doing.
He’s another that will benefit from the smaller field after the congestion forced him off his stride in Louisville. The third favorite in the Kentucky Derby, Known Agenda, also struggled to a ninth-place finish. He did creep back into the middle-of-the-pack after a slow start and the distance could be used to his advantage on Saturday.
Handicappers and oddsmakers are typically spot on since there job is to get it right. But we did see middle-of-the-pack odds on the first two Triple Crown winners. Medina Spirit went off at 15/1 in the Kentucky Derby and Rombauer was listed at 12/1 to capture the Preakness.
With a little bit longer odds are Bourbonic and France Go de Ina with Overtook positioned as the first longshot. Upsets are a part of sports and horse racing is no different. In 2002 Sarava was +7000 and Da’Tara triumphed in 2008 at +3800.
Check out the latest horse racing odds.