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Opening Belmont Stakes Odds Favor Mo Donegal, Rich Strike & We the People

Dave F.

by Dave F. in Horse Racing

May 22, 2022 · 2:50 PM PDT

Rich Strike winning the 2022 Kentucky Derby
Rich Strike, with Sonny Leon up, runs down the field to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7, 2022 Derbymsc18
  • The Belmont Stakes will wrap up this year’s Triple Crown on June 11 in New York
  • Kentucky Derby-winner Rich Strike is among the early favorites
  • See the opening Belmont Stakes odds and analysis of how the lines will change

Who’s going to win the Belmont Stakes is a good question, but it’s really getting the cart before the horse. First, we must figure out who is going to run in The Test of Champions.

Preakness champ Early Voting is passing on the mile-and-a-half challenge in three weeks, and two time Triple Crown race runner up Epicenter sounds doubtful.

Rich Strike won’t be over +8000 at Belmont Park, but he already beat Mo Donegal, one of the top contenders he is likely to face. We the People ran the weekend between the Derby and Preakness, and dominated the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont. Let’s discuss the three early favorites, and consider the possible field.

2022 Belmont Stakes Odds

Horse Odds
Mo Donegal +225
We the People +400
Rich Strike +500
Creative Minister +600
Charge It +800
Ethereal Road +1200
Skippylongstocking +1400
Smile Happy +1400

Odds as of May 22.

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While we don’t know who is going to run at this juncture, it is pretty clear a lot of the big names are not. Future bets provide value because sportsbooks bake in the fact some of the cash wagered is a gift. All the money bet on horses who do not run is just straight profit for the operator. That allows for some betting value if you can pick someone that you like who is pretty certain to be in the race.

Understanding how pari-mutuel wagering works can be helpful when assessing future prices. As one horse sees their odds go down, others have to move up.

Keep an eye on futures pricing too. Nest, who was the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, could run in the Belmont. Whether you like her or not, she would attract a lot of attention and change the odds on a variety of contenders. If Epicenter’s connections had a change of heart, that would create an even bigger earthquake to all the odds.

Let’s assess some Belmont Stakes betting options.

Mo Donegal Opens as Belmont Betting Favorite

Modern race horses run much less frequently than they did in decades past. After winning the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike passed on the Preakness largely because of the very short distance between big races. With plenty of time between the Derby and Belmont, Rich Strike and several of his Louisville rivals will give the marathon in New York a shot.

Breaking from the extreme outside post, Rich Strike got a little lucky in several ways. When you drop back, a quick tempo is needed to rally. In the Derby they ran the fastest first quarter mile in race history and that meant the speed horses were fried kicking for home. While jockey Sonny Leon did a great job navigating traffic, when the money was on the line the rail opened up a clear path.

Mo Donegal hesitated out of the gate from the far inside on the first Saturday in May, and effectively he was finished. While he ran well down the stretch, a difficult post and bad break did him in. On the flip side, his victory over Early Voting in the Wood Memorial looks pretty good right now.

Based in New York, Mo Donegal has raced at Belmont twice. Trainer Todd Pletcher has captured the Belmont Stakes on three occasions.

Belmont Stakes “New Shooters”

They call horses making their Triple Crown debut in the Preakness or Belmont new shooters. They often are fresher than rivals who have been battling it out, or have taken a different less tiring path.

We the People ran poorly when described as “washy” in the Arkansas Derby. Whether he was hot, or just not at his best, it’s his only setback in four starts. He was super impressive bouncing back on May 14.

Like the entire field, We the People has never run this far and that creates uncertainty. That said, he deserves the opportunity off his last run.

Someday you’ll be able to win a bet if you know the horse that scratched on Friday before the Kentucky Derby that allowed Rich Strike to get in. That was Ethereal Road. He returned on the Preakness undercard, and ran great.

He has won only twice in eight starts, and wasn’t close in the Blue Grass Stakes or Lexington Stakes. That said, his Sir Barton was strong and 86-year-old trainer D. Wayne Lucas has won the Belmont four times.

 

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