2022 Belmont Stakes Preview: Rich Strike Returns

This year’s Belmont Day undercard is packed with top-level horses that should make for some great races. Jack Christopher will race in the Woody Stephens- he might actually be the best 3-year-old. The Ogden Phipps has only five horses, but is absolutely stacked with Letruska, Bonny South, Malathaat, Clairiere and Search Results. The Met Mile has Flightline vs Speaker’s Corner and last year’s Breeder’s Cup Sprint Winner Aloha West. Not to mention some great turf races with the Just a Game, Jaipur and Manhattan. In total, eight grade one races and a grade two should make for a spectacular day of racing as long as the rain holds off enough.

As for the Belmont, Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike returns after skipping the Preakness to prep for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes! The 2022 Belmont Stakes will be Race 11 on June 11th at Belmont Park. Post time is set for 5:44 PM CT. This Grade I race is one and 1/2 miles and has a purse of $1,500,000. The race is for three-year olds and is the final leg in the triple crown. There are eight horses in the field this year. Last year’s winner was Essential Quality.

Let’s take a look at the rankings for everyone in this year’s field.

Mo Donegal leads the list here at 5/2 odds. He was stuck with the 1 post in the Kentucky Derby and was able to rally to finish 5th. Before that, he ran down Early Voting to win the Wood Memorial. Early Voting went on to win the Preakness Stakes in his last so that Wood Memorial looks even more impressive now.

Nest ranks second here, but she is a bit more of a wild card because she’s never faced the boys before. Her speed figures grade out well and she has the pedigree that suggests she can get the one and a half miles. She won the Ashland two starts back before finishing second to Secret Oath in the Kentucky Oaks.

We the People is the horse who could wire the field. He’ll have the early speed and hope to stay ahead of all the late speed in this race. If things get sloppy (rain is in the forecast), I like We the People a lot more. No one will be able to kick mud in his face if he’s out front and it will be harder to catch him on a sloppy track. He beat up on an easier field in the Peter Pan in his last after a bad showing in the Arkansas Derby.

Rich Strike is the horse everyone is talking about after his massive Kentucky Derby upset. Trainer Eric Reed showed great confidence in their plan by skipping the Preakness to point Rich Strike to the Belmont, so he should be ready to go. Obviously, he showed a massive closing kick in the Derby and the extra distance here may only help him. The potential for rain could hurt Rich Strike on Saturday, but there’s no reason to think he won’t be closing late.

Creative Minister is back on short rest after his 3rd place finish in the Preakness. The distance shouldn’t be a problem, but in only his fourth career start and on short rest I don’t expect him to flash the same speed he did on his impressive Derby day win. Could definitely finish out the trifecta again though.

Barber Road showed a really strong closing wide in the Kentucky Derby to finish 6th. He’ll be faced with some other horses with that similar style here, but I’d use him to finish out some exotics.

Golden Glider and Skippylongstocking round out the field. Golden Glider finished a distant second to We the People in the Peter Pan and there’s no reason to believe he’ll be better at longer distance here. He’d be my pick to finish last just based on all the competitors here with a better closing kick. Skippylongstocking does close well, and he did close to finish 5th in the Preakness, but I don’t think he’ll close better than the rest of this field.

Below we take a look at each horse’s last three speed figures.

It’s difficult to gain much understanding from just looking at these speed figures. We can see We the People had a bad Arkansas Derby, but that’s not what we should expect. Rich Strike took a massive jump in the Kentucky Derby. Is it because he liked the dirt more vs the synthetic he had been racing on Turfway or is he due for regression? The one thing we can gather is that every horse has questions, which should make for a fun race.

I’ve ran the Preakness 1,000 times in simulations. Below are the results of those races.

Quick Wrap Up and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 6 Mo Donegal

My Bet: 6-1/3/4/6 Exacta (Include 1 too as winner if sloppy track)

Superfecta: 1/6-1/3/6-3/4-3/8

Long Shot: 3 Nest 8-1 / 8 Barber Road 10-1

I like Mo Donegal as long as the track isn’t sloppy as he should be in much better position than he was in the Kentucky Derby, but you definitely can’t count out Rich Strike either. With a slower potential pace, We the People could get out and stay out front here too. Nest and Barber Road could provide some bigger payout potential. No obvious winner here, although I think Mo Donegal is most likely here. This should be a fun one to watch!

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