Fading The Preakness Winner? Belmont Stakes 2021

The 2021 Belmont Stakes will be Race 11 on June 5th at Belmont Park. Post time is set for 5:49 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 Tiz the Law. Let’s take a look at the rankings for everyone in this year’s field.

Essential Quality comes back off of that 4th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. After going off as the 2-1 favorite, he had a wide and did not benefit from the large Derby field. He took the Preakness off and comes back here ready to get back at it against only seven other horses this time around. The Derby was the only loss of his career so there’s plenty of reasons to believe he’s a win contender here.

Hot Rod Charlie finished third in the Derby and ran the exact same speed figure as Essential Quality. He also finished second to Essential Quality in last year’s Breeder’s Cup Juvenile. The Louisiana Derby winner also took the Preakness off and looks like a legitimate win contender here.

Known Agenda was a horse I had my eye on going into the Derby, until he drew the post in that one. He ended up finishing 9th, but there’s a lot of excuses you could use, starting with the post position. After showing a speed figure even higher than anyone else in the field in his Florida Derby win, he looked like one of the Derby favorites before drawing that inside post. He also took the Preakness off and is my third choice here. He’ll like the 6 post and should at the least be considered underneath in exactas and trifectas. Irad Ortiz Jr will not be riding Known Agenda after he took a spill on Thursday, no replacement rider has been named yet.

Rock Your World was one of the main horses I faded for the Kentucky Derby. He needed to get to the front to have a shot and a stumble out of the gate cost him any shot at the roses as he finished 17th. I’m not in love with him here either. I have him as the fourth best horse in this race. He’s going to be the pacesetter here as that’s his only shot to win here, which could be even more difficult in a longer race here.

Rombauer is the hot new horse everyone likes now after his massive Preakness win. That field was a lot softer than the top horses here. He won’t have as much rest as his main competitors here who passed on the Preakness. He’s improved his figures and won in each of his last three starts, so he’s capable, but I can also see him being over bet here. He’ll also have a different jockey aboard than he did in the Preakness. Flavien Prat will be on Hot Rod Charlie while John Velasquez takes the mount on Rombauer.

Overtook hasn’t proven he can beat this type of talent yet. He finished second and third in his last two races (Grade 3 Withers and Grade 3 Peter Pan) and has improved in each of those. But the talent he faces here is a very big step up. He does have some good pedigree as a son of Curlin and Got Luckby A.P. Indy. He’s had high expectations ever since the colt sold for $1 million at auction, but I have to take a pass on the unproven colt in this spot.

Bourbonic was the longshot winner of the Wood Memorial and followed that up with a 13th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. He likes to come from behind so the added distance could be good for him, but with three horses in this field that have already finished ahead of him, he’d need to improve a lot. Could use to round out a superfecta at a higher price.

France Go de Ina rounds out the field. He joins Rombauer as the only other horse to race in both the Preakness and the Belmont this year. He finished 7th in that and hasn’t shown the numbers to really compete here.

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

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

Quick Wrap Up and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 2 Essential Quality

My Bet: 2-4 Exacta Box, 2-6 Exacta, 4-6 Exacta

Superfecta: 2/4-2/4/6-2/4/6-1/3

My top win contenders are Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie. I think Known Agenda will be in the mix coming down the stretch too. I think Rombauer will need to improve on his Preakness performance, which is a lot on shorter rest and with a new jockey, so I likely won’t use him. I’m also fading Rock Your World as he’ll need to lead wire to wire, and I just can see him leading Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie and Known Agenda the entire mile and a half.

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