The 2021 Belmont Stakes ties a ribbon on horse racing's Triple Crown events, and while we don't have a contender pushing for the Triple Crown itself, this is still one of the must-bet races of the year.
With the race running today, our resident horse racing analyst Monique Vág gives her favorite Belmont Stakes picks and predictions, along with prop bets and trifecta pick for the field of horses running this year.
She loved Rock Your World at 8/1 as her "early value" play — and with his Belmont Stakes odds improving following the post draw, that only further cemented his position as a horse to watch.
2021 Belmont Stakes picks
Head-to-head: Bourbonic (-130) over Overtook
Unfortunately, when it comes to these matchups and the smaller field, there’s not a lot of value in terms of the odds. The beauty of a head-to-head bet like this is being able to discover that long shot who will simply outrace their odds and finish better than a horse they are matched against.
Bourbonic first caught our attention rallying from last to pull off the 72/1 upset in the Wood Memorial. He was able to make his one move late and track down tired horses. Although it was a very weak field in the Wood Memorial, he still raced well. Following that victory, he was a late addition to the Kentucky Derby trail, where he finished 13th. Pedigree-wise, this horse should thrive going longer.
He's an interesting option in the head-to-head versus Overtook, who seems overmatched to pull off the upset in this field. With his only victory coming against maidens and no late kick in the Withers, don't expect him to be any factor late.
Top-3 finish - Rock Your World (-130)
With a small field of only eight, this is a very intriguing bet if you like any horses at big odds to hit the board, with many offering 3/1 or better to finish in the Top 3.
Rock Your World is a horse who had his entire race compromised early in the Kentucky Derby with the slow start. He was never able to reset or recover and ran into trouble late trying to navigate a stretch run.
Prior to that Derby effort, he showed a lot of speed in all three previous efforts and was coming off his best one in the Santa Anita Derby. Look for this colt to flaunt that early speed once again. Even if he isn't able to fend off some late challenges, I think this colt is a likely option to finish in the Top 3.
Winning distance - Under 1.5 lengths (-110)
There’s not much speed at all in this year's edition of the Belmont Stakes. In fact, most horses in here with legitimate chances will be looking to work out stalking trips. This type of trip usually sets up well for a close finish and horses not too far off the pace are able to track down some of the pacesetters.
With that being said, it looks like we’re in for a very thrilling finish in 2021. Expect some of the major contenders like Hot Rod Charlie, Known Agenda and Essential Quality to be closely positioned early and the race to be won in the stretch ride. With not much separating these three contenders on paper, not much will separate them at the finish as well.
Belmont Stakes trifecta pick
With a (hopefully) much better start, Rock Your World is much closer this time around and able to fend off the late contests from my second and third-place finishers.
1. Rock Your World
2. Hot Rod Charlie
3. Essential Quality
Editor's note: This pick was made on May 27, 2021.
There are quite a few uncertainties on runners set to go in the Belmont Stakes, however, most of those loom as big prices with only fringe chances.
Rock Your World had a world of trouble in the Kentucky Derby, including jockey Joel Rosario losing his stirrup at the start. That put him in a huge hole early, and along with the bumping and traffic trouble, he was never given a shot and therefore was never a factor.
He’s a very lightly-raced colt with the Derby serving as just his fourth career start. He’s going to continue to improve and with the smaller field of the Belmont Stakes, the emphasis on a clean break from the gate isn’t as imperative. I think he can rebound in a big way.
Pick: Rock Your World 8/1
Where can I bet on the Belmont Stakes?
This all depends on where you live. If you’re in the USA, betting on the Belmont Stakes online isn’t as simple as simply launching your favorite sportsbook app. Instead, you’ll have to use a specialist-pooled horse racing betting site such as TwinSpires.
Those in Canada or the UK have it much easier as most sports betting sites offer horse racing markets. Take a look at the top horse racing betting sites available in your area.