As ‘Normalcy’ Returns To The Belmont, Will The Small Field Help Rombauer?

Written By Dave Bontempo on 06/02/2021
Colorado 2021 Belmont betting

There is no Triple Crown, but there is a return to normalcy for the 153rd Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

The fabled $1.5-million event comes back to its novel 1 1–2-mile distance after being shortened to 1 1-8 miles last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colorado gamblers can place online Belmont bets via the Colorado TVG horse racing app and TwinSpires for the 4:48 p.m. MT post.

The implications of this race concern potential Horse-of-the-Year honors rather than the Triple Crown Sweep, now that Medina Spirit won the May 1 Kentucky Derby and Rombauer the May 15 Preakness Stakes. Though with Medina Spirit getting a second confirmed positive drug test and stands to become only the second horse in the 147-year history of the Kentucky Derby to get disqualified for a failed test, that shortens the Horse-of-the-Year race.

Rombauer would gain strong mid-season position for post-season laurels by winning here.

The Colorado horse betting favorites can barely be separated. Essential Quality (2-1) Rombauer (3-1) and Hot Rod Charlie (7-2) were installed as the early chalk in the eight-horse field.

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Belmont Stakes odds

Here are the post positions and initial odds from Tuesday’s draw. Under the pari-mutuel betting format, odds won’t be official until post time on Saturday.

153rd Belmont Horse Jockey Early odds
Post position and initial oddsBourbonicKendrick Carmouche15-1
Essential QualityLuis Saez2-1
RombauerJohn Velazquez3-1
Hot Rod CharlieFlavien Prat7-2
France Go De InaRicardo Santana Jr30-1
Known AgendaIrad Ortiz Jr6-1
Rock Your WorldJoel Rosario9-2
OvertookManny Franco20-1

Belmont overview

None of the horses in the Belmont field have gone this distance. There is no past performance chart for them to compare. The field is likely to set a slow pace and each jockey will guess when his horse should make a definitive move.

This is a possible redemption race both for Known Agenda and Rock Your World.

Neither had a chance in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field after a slow start.

Known Agenda had the Derby rail and was outrun early. But he triumphed in the 2021 Florida Derby. Recent graduates Nyquist (2016), Always Dreaming (2017) Maximum Security (2019) and Tiz the Law (2020) have been first or second in four of the last five Kentucky Derbys.

Known Agenda should be able to break alertly and be in touch with the pace as a stalker.

Rock Your World flirted with favored status at the Kentucky Derby after a wire-to-wire triumph in the Santa Anita Derby. But he was shut off at the start of the race, a critical setback for a speed horse. He should obtain a much better trip here.

Could a five-week break help Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie?

The field is only eight horses because Rebel’s Romance, the UAE Derby winner, was removed from the lineup with a hind-leg infection.

Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie skipped the Preakness. They were in position to overtake front-running Medina Spirit and Mandaloun in the Kentucky Derby, but couldn’t do it. They now have the same five-week break between races that Rombauer did before the Preakness.

Rock Your World, Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie all like to run near the lead. The question becomes whether they can preserve energy for a homestretch showdown or whether they get caught in a speed duel.

If they do, that will help Known Agenda and Rombauer, who chased a quick Preakness pace and overtook the frontrunners down the lane.

Bourbonic, France Go De Ina and Overtook all look to be one notch below the front group.

Additional factors at the Belmont

Essential Quality has run consistently and been reliable in trifecta and superfecta keys.

Jockey Flavien Plat, who won the Preakness with Rombauer, switches to Hot Rod Charlie.

Essential Quality beat Rombauer decisively in the Blue Grass Stakes. But Rombauer then won the Preakness. Has Essential Quality peaked and is Rombauer rising?

The looks angle will be big here. Very little separates the front-running group. The winner will be the one who improves a little on this particular day.

There are no weather issues expected. The sun should be shining and the track will play fast, according to the forecast.

For statistical reference, a few thousand spectators will be in attendance. That’s not big news outside of New York, but there will be some sense of a live feel coming from the facility.

Belmont betting tips

By all means, if the horse you like best is 5-2 or above, make a win bet the priority. A gambler would hate to waste the top pick.

An exacta wager also is a popular selection. It requires the bettor to select the top two finishers in exact order. Be sure to take exacta boxes rather than straight exactas. Having the top two finishers in the wrong order would be gut-wrenching. A $2 exacta box costs $4.

Trifectas involve having the top three finishers in the exact order. A $1 trifecta box costs $6. But this wager may have to be used sparingly here. If all three favorites finish in the top three spots, the payout will be small.

A $1 trifecta “key” can also be played for $6. It allows bettors to place one horse in the first position and three others to occupy the second and third slots. The “keyed” horse must finish first. This is a good wager if one believes a longshot will run second or third.

Is a superfecta bet worth it in the Belmont?

A $1 superfecta box costs $24. In a small field, that’s often not worth it.

Bettors can also consider a $1 superfecta taking two horses in the top two spots and two others to run third and fourth. The ticket only costs $4.

It would look something like, $1 superfecta with 3-4 or 4-3 and 2-6 or 6-2.

That means the three and four horses must finish in the first and second positions, in either order. The two and six must run third and fourth, in either order.

Bettors have to get a bit lucky with this type of reach, but a superfecta box is expensive, $24 to box four horses in a $1 bet.

Colorado horse bettors will decide whether to make a good-sized win bet, spread money throughout the exactas, trifectas and superfectas, or wager a little of both.

Photo by AP / John Minchillo
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Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is PlayColorado's resident horse racing and combat sports betting expert whose work can be found regularly around major races and bouts. He is a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer and also authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.

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