Now comes the marathon.
And, no, we’re not talking about what’s become a bye week for the Colorado Avalanche as it awaits its NHL Stanley Cup Final opponent.
This is the Belmont Stakes, Saturday’s $1.5 million event over the longest surface in the Triple Crown series at 1.5 miles. It’s also the furthest any horse in this field has ever run.
Post time is 4:45 p.m. MT. The race will be carried live on NBC.
Colorado horse bettors can access all the action online via TVG. Or they visit Bally’s Arapahoe Park or one of the Centennial State’s 11 off-track betting locales, including Bally’s Black Hawk Casino.
Just consider making your wagers ahead of time as betting traffic, even on mobile devices, becomes more congested on the day of a big event.
In Belmont Stakes, 8 (entrants) is enough
Eight horses go postward for this 154th running of the Belmont, in Elmont, N.Y.
Here are the post positions and initial morning line odds.
|Post position, horse||Trainer||Jockey||Odds|
|1. We the People||Rodolphe Brisset||Flavien Prat||2-1|
|2. Skippylongstocking||Saffie Joseph Jr.||Manny Franco||20-1|
|3. Nest||Todd Pletcher||Jose Ortiz||8-1|
|4. Rich Strike||Eric Reed||Sonny Leon||7-2|
|5. Creative Minister||Ken McPeek||Brian Hernandez Jr.||6-1|
|6. Mo Donegal||Todd Pletcher||Irad Ortiz Jr.||5-2|
|7. Golden Glider||Mark Casse||Dylan Davis||20-1|
|8. Barber Road||John Ortiz||Joel Rosario||10-1|
Bettors will be intrigued following the odds of the three favorites right up until post time. Odds may shift because bettors weigh conflicting factors.
A closer look at the 3 favorites
We the People became the morning-line favorite on the basis of being the best early-speed horse.
Most of the field likes to close, meaning that a horse getting loose on the lead and being allowed to maintain position with nobody pressing him may have something left down the stretch.
The odds project a perfect ground-saving rail trip for We the People.
But past performance indicates he was beaten handily in the Arkansas Derby.
He also dropped down to a much lower level to capture the Peter Pan Stakes at this track. Now he must move back up in class.
Mo Donegal may end up becoming the post-time favorite.
He loves the New York circuit, having notched three victories between the Belmont and Aqueduct tracks.
In the Wood Memorial, Mo Donegal rallied to defeat Early Voting, who then went on to capture the Preakness.
With only eight horses in this field, he should not encounter the traffic problems that resulted from drawing the rail in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby. He settled for a game fifth.
At Churchill Downs, Rich Strike beat him as an 80-1 long shot. And he came from just as far back as Mo Donegal.
The variable surrounding Rich Strike in Elmont is how well he will ship to a new track and whether he likes the surface.
The three top choices each have something to like. And to question.
That’s what makes this a horse race.
As for the rest of the field …
Creative Minister will try to improve on his third-place Preakness finish.
Lightly-raced, he gets better each time out.
Barber Road, meanwhile, runs late and has seemed to like the longer distances.
He gets a jockey upgrade via Joel Rosario, who piloted Epicenter to second-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Rosario also rode Sir Winston to the 2019 Belmont Stakes crown.
Nest tries to become the first filly since Rags to Riches in 2007 to win the Belmont.
She was beaten in the Kentucky Oaks by Secret Oath, who then went on to run a dull fourth in the Preakness.
Golden Glider was a distant second to We the People in the Peter Pan. Connections hope his familiarity with Belmont Park will help.
Finally, Skippylongstocking is a pace factor. He should be outrun, but he may soften We the People a little if he forces an early duel.
A quick pace overview
Jockeys for Mo Donegal and Rich Strike may be forced to put them a little closer to the lead than normal in this race, in order to deny We the People a chance to steal it.
The expectation is that there will not be a speed duel and that the others must stay in contact with the lead.
Rain is in the forecast, but the amount is uncertain.
It rained the day We the People wired the field in the Peter Pan.
If those conditions look similar Saturday in New York, his odds will drop.
And a couple of intriguing historical notes
Trainer Ken McPeek joked this week about having such a short-priced horse in Creative Minister at 6-1.
This is the 20th anniversary of McPeek saddling the biggest longshot to win the Belmont. That was Sarava in 2002.
Fellow trainer Todd Pletcher guides Nest, the lone filly this year.
He also trained the last filly to win the Belmont — the aforementioned Rags to Riches in 2007.
Belmont offers a daylong betting bonanza
Belmont Park has aggressively reacted to market conditions in recent years, creating a blockbuster undercard and a pleasant surprise for Colorado bettors.
Let’s look at the result … and then the cause.
These races are available throughout the day to Centennial State bettors.
Belmont racing begins its card at 9:20 a.m. Saturday and offers several events underneath the main attraction:
- Metropolitan Handicap ($1 million)
- Resorts World Casino Manhattan ($750,000)
- Acorn ($500,000)
- Just A Game ($500,000)
- Ogden Phipps ($500,000)
And there are more.
For many tracks around the country, any of these would be the headlined event of the year.
Belmont grouped them all in one day.
Track popularity skyrockets whenever a Triple Crown sweep is possible. But that’s rarely happened in recent years.
The need for a special stakes day became even more pronounced this year, when Rich Strike skipped the Preakness, thus denying any Triple Crown sweep.
Belmont does not want bettors to ignore this race when there isn’t a Triple Crown on the line.
So, well in advance, they made this day special, presenting a stakes lineup that looks like a mini–Breeders’ Cup.
This has become a daylong collection of elite talent.
Bettors may want to check these races out to see how the track is playing, how their handicapping angles are working out and simply to enhance their love of horse racing.