Upcoming Match-ups

2021 Belmont Stakes Odds and Picks to Win, Place and Show – Essential Quality Favored

Dave F.

by Dave F. in Horse Racing

Jun 4, 2021 · 2:17 PM PDT

Belmont Stakes
John Velazquez riding Medina Spirit, right, leads Florent Geroux on Mandaloun, Flavien Prat riding Hot Rod Charlie and Luis Saez on Essential Quality to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • The $1.5 million Belmont Stakes will be run Saturday in New York
  • Betting to win gets all of the attention, but prices to place and show can be fruitful
  • What horses are worth a wager to hit the board in the Belmont Stakes?

The rule of thumb in horse racing is that favorites win a-third of the time. That leaves two-thirds for decent or better payouts. If you expand your search to running second and third, in many races a price hits the board. Whether you bet to win, place, or show, you can collect in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

In 2016 Creator won the Belmont Stakes and paid $34.80 for a two dollar bet. Two years later Gronkowski’s place payout was $13.80. The 2019 race saw Joevia pay $8.70 to show. That means you more than tripled your money in a 10 horse field betting on him to finish among the top 3.

Make sure you remember the basics of betting on horse racing. It doesn’t have to be exotics and a lottery mentality of throwing darts and hoping for a huge payout. Look carefully through the Belmont field and see what placing is realistic for key horses.

Here are the latest Belmont odds for each horse to hit the board. Let’s examine them carefully.

Belmont Stakes Win, Place, Show Odds

Horse Win Odds Place Odds Show Odds
Essential Quality +200 -160 -225
Rombauer +333 +100 -145
Hot Rod Charlie +400 +150 -120
Rock Your World +550 +200 +120
Known Agenda +700 +250 +120
Bourbonic +2000 +650 +475
Overtook +2500 +750 +500
France Go De Ina +2500 +800 +700

All odds as of June 3rd

Betting odds give five out of eight horses a real chance and dismiss three others. The track record of the Belmont Stakes suggests to be ready for the unexpected. The last five runnings have produced two short priced victors, one medium option (+600), and two champions at bigger prices (+1000 and +1500).

What makes the Belmont Stakes so unique is the distance. None of these horses have ever run a-mile-and-a-half. Particularly for young horses, some who participated in a major race three weeks ago (Preakness Stakes) it is a major challenge. Post time is slated for 6:49 pm EST on NBC.

Let’s carefully look through the field and consider where betting value is present.

The Favorites

Essential Quality was the Kentucky Derby favorite and ran a competitive fourth, missing by just a length. He did that despite a troubled trip that forced him to run further than many other competitors.

Essential Quality has been working well since the Run for the Roses and is still five-for-six in his career. His speed figures indicate he gets marginally better each time he runs.

Preakness winner Rombauer has seen no incremental improvement. His first two career races, on turf, were so so. The next four races, three on dirt and one on a synthetic surface, were solid but unspectacular. Then in Baltimore he appeared to get shot out of a cannon.

The dramatic improvement at Pimlico can mean several things. Rombauer has found himself and will excel going longer distances, or maybe he exerted all of his effort three weeks ago and won’t be at full strength this weekend.

Since finishing second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at +9400 Hot Rod Charlie has been a total pro. His tremendous Louisiana Derby made him a well backed +560 at the Kentucky Derby.

He ran third in Louisville producing the exact same Beyer Speed Figure as Essential Quality. For what it is worth, Rombauer’s performance at the Preakness was deemed to be a pinch better than Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie ran at Churchill Downs.


Sometimes horses have legitimate excuses. If you liked Rock Your World or Known Agenda at the Kentucky Derby, there is good reason to give them a second chance now.

Rock Your World didn’t debut until January and won two turf races with ok but not great speed figures. Then he romped in his dirt debut beating Medina Spirit in the Santa Anita Derby and posting a speed figure equal to Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie’s Derby.

The Kentucky Derby is always a dumpster fire because with so many horses come problems. Nobody got a worse trip five weeks ago than Rock Your World. He got off slowly, was bumped several times, and went wide. For a horse who seems to need the lead to be competitive, when he didn’t get out well his race was effectively over.

Known Agenda’s connections could have considered throwing in the towel a few days before the Run for the Roses. He drew the post position most feared, the rail. It is extremely difficult to win the Kentucky Derby if you get pinned in behind a wall of rivals. Known Agenda doesn’t have great gate speed, and when he didn’t break alertly, he was buried. He finished ninth, but who knows what would have happened with a clean trip. He got that perfect run in the Florida Derby.

Known Agenda has no speed figures that compare to the other top choices. He does have trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won the Belmont three times.


Pletcher is going three deep this year. In addition to Known Agenda, he sends Bourbonic and Overtook to the starting gate.

Bourbonic was the shocking winner of April’s Wood Memorial before finishing 13th at the Kentucky Derby.

Overtook adds blinkers following a runner up performance in the Withers Stakes and a third place effort in the Peter Pan Stakes.

France Go de Ina was seventh in his American debut beating two horses in the Preakness Stakes. His two wins came in Japan last year. He was sixth in the UAE Derby in Dubai on March 27.

None of the longshots have speed figures close to the top choices.

Preakness Betting Strategy

Essential Quality was a reasonable favorite, though offered no betting value in the Kentucky Derby. That is more or less the case here too. He can win, but is no sure shot.

Hot Rod Charlie profiles similarly to Essential Quality but offers a much better price.

There is value with the two horses who were drastically compromised at the Kentucky Derby. Give Rock Your World and Known Agenda another chance. They look to be high quality, and prime contenders to bounce back.

Preakness Stakes Win, Place, Show Best Bets

Win: Hot Rod Charlie (+400)
Place: Known Agenda (+250)
Show: Rock Your World (+120)

Author Image