ELMONT, N.Y. — So often in the past, horses going off at big odds have won the Belmont Stakes and that has led to it being known as a bit of a handicapper’s nightmare.

Is it really that much of a lottery when there is no Triple Crown champion though? We think not. So, we’ve come up with a bunch of pointers that bettors should keep in mind when handicapping the 151st Belmont Stakes in New York.

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Note the Post Positions

Despite the trainers of the top two in the betting market, Tacitus and War Of Will, declaring they are happy with their wide post positions this year, the stats don’t back up their confidence.

War Of Will’s handler Mark Casse has stated that he is pleased not to be on the rail this time, but gate 1 on Big Sandy has produced more than a third of all Belmont Stakes winners in the past 100 years, suggesting that’s the place to be (or as close as possible to it — first 5 gates).

This year’s post positions are:

  • 1 — Joevia
  • 2 — Everfast
  • 3 — Master Fencer
  • 4 — Tax,
  • 5 — Bourbon War
  • 6 — Spinoff
  • 7 — Sir Winston
  • 8 — Intrepid Heart
  • 9 — War Of Will
  • 10 — Tacitus

Don’t Be Obsessed with Favorites

A lot of Belmont Stakes winners have been sent off at bigger odds, typically double-figure odds in fact and there’s no scientific reason for this.

Sometimes this can be down to the obsession with Kentucky Derby and/or Preakness winners being in the field, with the result often being that they are tired after their previous exertions leaving a well-rested thoroughbred hitherto not well backed to scoop up the prize.

In fact, the only short-priced winners of this race in recent times have been exceptional Triple Crown scorers American Pharoah and Justify.

So, while it’s obvious that Preakness hero War Of Will does have a great chance, from gate 9 and given the history of horses with his profile he could be vulnerable so perhaps look at those having done well in other stakes races but going off here at odds of maybe 8/1 and above. Belmont 2019 morning line odds are:

9/5 Tacitus, 2/1 War Of Will, 8/1 Master Fencer, 10/1 Intrepid Heart, 12/1 Sir Winston, 12/1 Bourbon War, 12/1 Everfast, 15/1 Spinoff, 15/1 Tax, 30/1 Joevia

Look for A Strong Stakes Performance

Although Preakness Stakes winners and even those placed at both Pimlico and Churchill Downs tend to do well, the Triple Crown form is not the be all and end all in the Belmont Stakes but it is a Grade 1 after all and as such your horse should have finished in the first three in a recent stakes race to prove its ability.

Winners of stakes races this year:

Tacitus (Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes), Tax (Grade 3 Withers Stakes), War Of Will (Grade 1 Preakness Stakes)

Placed in stakes races this year:

Bourbon War (2nd in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth), Everfast (2nd in the Grade 1 Preakness), Intrepid Heart (3rd in the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes), Sir Winston (2nd in the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes), Spinoff (2nd in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby)

Not yet placed in a stakes race this year:

Joevia, Master Fencer

Check Out the Family Tree

Although it has proven less important in American racing in recent times, the affect of a thoroughbred’s breeding when it comes to tackling different tracks and different race distances is more prevalent now in Europe than ever before.

It is certainly the case when going over a mile-and-a-half, as evidenced by the fact that all 13 runners in the Derby in England last week were either sons of, or related to, Galileo.

Look out in this field for horses bred to go at least 1¼ miles (ideally further) by virtue of their sire having won a top race over this distance and/or as evidenced by the average distance their progeny have won over.

Horses by sires bred to 1¼ miles plus:

Bourbon War, Intrepid Heart, Tacitus, Tax

Consider More Than One Bet

If any or all of the above has helped you to form an opinion and this has led to more than one horse fitting the right handicapping profile, then at odds of 8/1, 10/1 or even bigger you can afford to bet more than one horse on the nose.

Using only the above information and not delving into the form too heavily, it could be argued that both Tax and Bourbon War look fairly tempting so at morning line odds of 15/1 and 12/1 respectively, you could keep stakes low and bet them both!

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