Hitting the Triple Crown and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes

Betting the Belmont Stakes and Trifecta with Justify

So much media coverage and anticipation for the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes as Justify strides to become the 13th Triple Crown champion in American racing. Expect a huge handle on not only the Belmont Stakes, but the 10 graded stakes races including six grade 1 events on the 13-race card Saturday at Belmont Park.

In handicapping a race, you may want to try and divide the field between pretenders and contenders. If Justify is your key horse in the Belmont Stakes for example, then eliminate a number of horses that you can determine will not run 2nd and likely miss the show spot in 3rd as well. In using tools like Super Screener available at Brisnet, you can use some of the criteria provided in identifying those horses to ‘throw out’ as well as contenders and horses offering more value.

For example, Free Drop Billy has not won a race since last October. Yes he finished in the money in three Derby preps this spring, but when he faced a stronger and full field in the Kentucky Derby, he finished 16th and was a non-factor. He’s regressed in each race since his best in the Holy Bull. He’s a long shot at 30-1 on the morning line, and while we like to include some long shots in our vertical wagers and trifecta bets and the superfecta when we take a shot, he’s not one we’re counting on even as a son of Union Rags, the 2012 Belmont Stakes winner. Toss.

So go through that exercise with each horse in a race as able, and when we continue with our Belmont Stakes evaluations, we come to a pair of horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby and are capable of making the money and potentially pulling off the upset.

Free Belmont Stakes Betting Guide.

Post Position Horse ML Odds Trainer Jockey


4-5 Bob Baffert Mike Smith

Free Drop Billy

30-1 Dale Romans Robby Albarado
3 Bravazo 8-1 D. Wayne Lukas Luis Saez


9-2 Bill Mott Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Restoring Hope

30-1 Bob Baffert Flavien Prat
6 Gronkowski 12-1 Chad Brown Jose Ortiz


12-1 Steve Asmussen Ricardo Santana, Jr.

Vino Rosso

8-1 Todd Pletcher John Velazquez
9 Noble Indy 30-1 Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano

Blended Citizen



Belmont-based Vino Rosso (8-1) is a viable threat for last year’s Belmont Stakes-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, a race we cashed in on with the winner Tapwrit. Top-jock John Velazquez and Vino Rosso won the Wood Memorial before running wide from post 18 and finishing 9th in the Kentucky Derby. A son of Curlin with Street Cry on his damside, Vino Rosso should be rolling late as he has the stamina and showed enough speed at Aqueduct in winning the Wood. See his workouts at Belmont including a 4 furlong bullet best of 26 and you know Pletcher will have him ready and Velazquez in the saddle completes the money-combo.

Lightly-raced Hofburg (9-2) has just a maiden win and is another closer who finished 2nd in Florida Derby before rallying for 7th in the Kentucky Derby despite being steadied twice and having the most troubled trip of all Derby runners. Yet he was running past Justify and others as they past the wire. Top rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. is a proven performer on the New York circuit and will get him a better trip at Belmont. A son of Tapit, who has sired three of the last four winners of the Belmont Stakes, Hofburg has a damsire of Touch Gold, who won the Belmont in 1997. Bill Mott is another top trainer he’s had Hofburg working beautifully at Saratoga since the Derby. Both Vino Rosso and Hofburg are rested and ready since running last in the Derby, and preferred over Preakness runner-up Bravazo (8-1) and Tenfold (12-1), who has good bloodlines for the distance as another son of Curling and was running on late for 3rd in the Preakness. But Tenfold has never won above an allowance race. Peter Pan winner Blended Citizen (15-1) is one we would add to the superfecta wagers if you bet the super.

The deep surface at Belmont can be tiring, and determining how a horse will handle the grueling 1 1/2 mile distance for the first time is anyone’s guess. Vino Rosso and Hofburg, even at his shorter 9-2 price, are value plays and contenders as their breeding suggests they can stay the distance. Add in Justify running his third grueling race in five weeks with the first two on off tracks and in the mud on sloppy surfaces and you can see why trainer Bob Baffert may be a bit concerned. Note too that just two of the last 15 Belmont Stakes favorites have won the race, and four of the last 25 overall. There is a reason for that, and while we still have Justify isolated on top in some of our exacta, trifecta, pick 3 and pick 4 wagers, we’ll also put Hofburg on top and Vino Rosso as well on some of those vertical wagers.

So Play Vino Rosso and Hofburg in your exacta bets and include Justify in the combinations.

Include all three in your trifecta wagers, box some and all three should be in your superfecta bets.

If you’re sold on Justify as the winner, which I was on early bets, then isolate him on top and you’ll be able to put together more combinations for less money. And have more money for the superfecta, pick 3, pick 4 and the other big races at Belmont Saturday.

Watch and Wager at TwinSpiresTV on Saturday, June 9 for Belmont Stakes Day with coverage on NBC, NBC Sports Network, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports App. Post time for the Belmont Stakes in Race 11 is 6:46 p.m. ET.

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