The Belmont Stakes is the third and final jewel of the Triple Crown and will be contested this Saturday in New York. Now that the post positions have been drawn and the morning line odds have been set, we can look at who we think the likely winners are and why. We can also find the best longshots that could hit the board.
2021 Belmont Stakes Top Picks
Saturday, June 6, 2021 – 06:50 PM EDT at Belmont Park
Check out our Belmont Stakes 2021 Live Odds
This horse was the favorite leading into the Kentucky Derby this year and with very good reason. He was undefeated and looked continually more impressive in each start, culminating with a very nice win in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland in April. Unfortunately for him, he was not able to translate that performance on the first Saturday in May. I think he may have needed a break, which he got by skipping the Preakness. I also think he may be more suited to going to the front. The field let Medina Spirit get loose on the front end of the Kentucky Derby and nobody could make the ground up after he was allowed to set his own terms.
With a smaller field, I expect Essential Quality to be right upfront with Rock Your World and maybe Hot Rod Charlie. Either way, this is the best and most talented horse in this race and this is the one I will be backing most significantly.
Hot Rod Charlie
Hot Rod Charlie ran a better Kentucky Derby than Essential Quality did, and also took the rest available with skipping the Preakness. Now he’s back for the Belmont and he is a top contender to be sure, my major question with Hot Rod Charlie is whether he wants the distance. The Belmont Stakes is significant because of how long it is. The race is a mile and a half, which is the longest race any of these horses will have run so far in their young careers. It is a monster of a race.
Watching this horse’s replays I don’t know that he wants this distance. He’s a must use in any exotics underneath, but I think it’ll take a Herculean effort to win.
This is your longshot play right here. Bourbonic is the winner of this year’s Wood Memorial at Aqueduct racetrack and is reunited with New York and rider Kendrick Carmouche who is a very aggressive and successful rider on the New York circuit. Bourbonic was in the Kentucky Derby and didn’t do a lot, but in a small field, where he could close into speed, it would not stun me to see him running late.
Todd Pletcher will have Bourbonic ready to pick up the pieces if the speed falls apart in this race, at 15-1 or so he is a must-use on your tickets for your horse racing picks.