- Belmont Stakes Day in New York is among the biggest afternoons on the racing calendar
- The first of eight Grade One races is slated to start at 12:33 pm EST – Pack your lunch for a full day
- Where is the betting value present at Belmont Park Saturday on the Belmont Stakes undercard?
As the third and final Triple Crown event, the Belmont Stakes is a big name when it comes to the Sport of Kings. Even in years like this, where nobody has won the first two legs, average sports fans know the name and magnitude of the race. Interestingly, Saturday’s undercard is more star-studded and probably impactful than this year’s Belmont, which lacks many of the top three-year-olds.
While Belmont Stakes odds have not changed a lot over the last week or so, whether it be the main event or one of seven Grade 1 undercard races, horse betting 101 is always worth brushing up on. Choose the best Belmont Stakes betting sites, and let’s handicap the mega Saturday card.
Belmont Stakes Undercard Best Bets
The first post Saturday is at 11:20 am EST, with stakes action getting going at 12:33 pm. The first big race is the Acorn Stakes for three-year-old fillies going a one-turn mile. Like a bunch of the card on Saturday, it features one or two really high-class horses, and that means a small field because not many challengers want to volunteer to get beat.
The Just A Game Stakes is a turf mile for older females with a field of five signed up. They’ll break at 1:08 pm.
Six horses including unbeaten Jack Christopher are scheduled to race at 2:22 pm in the Woody Stephens Stakes. It is a seven-furlong event on the main track.
Just after 3:00 pm, the Ogden Phipps Stakes features two reigning Eclipse Award winners. Letruska and Malathaat battle along with three other female rivals going a-mile-and-a-sixteenth on the dirt.
A few minutes before 4:00 pm the Jaipur Stakes has attracted 13 horses for a six-furlong sprint.
The Metropolitan Handicap, or Met Mile, includes unbeaten superstar Flightline, Breeders Cup winner Aloha West, and Speaker’s Corner, who is unbeaten this year and perfect at Belmont Park. The field of five goes after the $1 million purse racing a mile on the dirt at 4:43 pm.
The Manhattan Stakes for veteran turf routers will get going at 5:38 pm. The mile-and-a-quarter test has 10 horses entered with a major international presence.
Acorn Stakes Prediction
Echo Zulu finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, her first career loss in six starts. Can anybody stay with her early and keep the pace honest?
Matareya appears the most likely alternative to the favorite both to win, and press the tempo. Matareya has won three straight including an easy win on the Oaks undercard. Her two races at eight furlongs or longer haven’t gone great, and it is a lot to ask to keep Echo Zulu company, and still have enough to run by her down the stretch.
Pick: Echo Zulu
Just A Game Stakes Pick
There is an argument that on Derby Day at Churchill Downs the most impressive horse was Speak of the Devil. Bought privately for nearly $2 million after running really well in Europe, her American debut was thrilling to watch.
Regal Glory, a winner of three straight who finished fourth in this event each of the last two years, is running her best right now. She is second off a layoff following a Grade 1 win at Keeneland. Her Belmont Park record, one win in four starts, is only fair.
Pick: Speak of the Devil
Woody Stephens Stakes Best Bet
Jack Christopher was seemingly going to be among the Kentucky Derby favorites in the fall, but he got hurt. His first race in seven months came on the Derby undercard.
He is three-for-three and again sticking to a one-turn race, which seems to be what he excels in.
Wit lost to Jack Christopher in October, but that was at a mile. His best races have been at six or seven furlongs, including a Grade 3 win in April.
Morello got out of the gate poorly in the Wood Memorial and was a non-factor. His previous three races were increasingly impressive victories. He is cutting back in distance, gets top jockey Joel Rosario, and may sit a great trip just off the pace.
Ogden Phipps Stakes Preview
Letruska vs Malathaat is as good as it gets. Interestingly, they faced each other in the Breeders Cup and neither won. It was Letruska’s only truly bad race in two years, and Malathaat was third. Both have returned to pick up victories. Letruska is two-for-two this year, beating Clairiere in April, who she faces again here. Malathaat wasn’t brilliant seven weeks ago but got the job done at Keelenald, beating Bonny South who is entered in this race.
Letruska is seven for eight at a mile-and-a-sixteenth, while Malathaat is two-for-two. Clairiere has never beaten this quality of field but has gotten close to both of the top two contenders. It doesn’t appear like anyone is going to push Letruska early on.
Jaipur Stakes Pick
Casa Creed is looking to win this race for a second straight year but hasn’t won since that triumph. He recently ran two races in the Middle East, and before that finished eighth in the Breeders Cup Mile.
Casa Creed likes Belmont Park and prefers sprints, but there are horses that don’t have to navigate a trip around the world.
Arrest Me Red beat several horses looking for revenge today when they faced off on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Chasing Artie, Gear Jockey, Gregorian Chant, and Whatmakessammyrun all finished behind the son of Pioneer of the Nile.
While Arrest Me Red had a pretty good trip, Gear Jockey checked halfway through the race, and still rallied nicely to get within a couple of lengths of the winner.
Scuttlebuzz is facing tougher horses Saturday, but was super impressive last time out beating company at Belmont in his first race in nearly five months.
Pick: Gear Jockey
Metropolitan Handicap Prediction
The bottom line is Flightline appears just to be faster than Speaker’s Corner for the first quarter or half-a-mile. If the two are close and wear each other out, Aloha West or even Happy Saver could roll home and catch them at the wire.
If you can beat Flightline the price will be right. This is the longest race he has competed in, and the best field he has faced. He also has the look of a generational talent winning all of his races by at least 10 lengths.
Speaker’s Corner will get the first run at Flightline, whether he contests the early tempo or goes after him on the turn or headed for home. Aloha West probably needs a quick tempo but has proven himself against the highest quality competition.
Manhattan Stakes Picks
Adhamo leads trainer Chad Brown’s foursome in this open 10-horse field. Brown has won this race six of the last eight years. Adhamo apparently didn’t like the track at Churchill Downs on Derby Day when Santin beat him.
Santin has never raced further than a-mile-and-an-eighth and was focused on the Turf Classic, whereas Adhamo’s short-term goal was this race.
Adhamo was facing top horses in Europe before finishing second in a Grade 3 stakes at the Fair Grounds in February. Santin was fourth in the same race in New Orleans.
Highland Chief was +1920 when he won a Grade 1 race going a-mile-and-three-eights at Belmont last month against high-caliber competition. His European form was solid, but his first race in the US was a clunker. He may prefer more distance.
Gufo finished just behind Highland Chief last time out. His best races have been longer distances, but he won at Belmont going a mile-and-a-quarter two years ago. He always gets bet and tends to be close.
L’Imperator passed on the race at Churchill Downs on May 7 and won the easier Ft Marcy at Belmont. He is three-for-three at the distance, and second off the layoff for Brown.
Pick: Highland Chief
More Belmont Stakes Betting Coverage