Making winning bets on any Triple Crown race can be tough. The good news is that winning the Belmont Stakes is a heck of a lot easier in almost every case than winning on the Kentucky Derby. In fact, there isn’t a horse race in North America any harder than winning in the Derby consistently.
To make consistent winning bets on the Belmont you need a good combination of luck and skill. That skill can take years to develop. For this particular race, though, you can take a shortcut to give yourself a decent chance at success. This formula can give you a much better chance of betting success on this Triple Crown race than you had if you were just going to randomly try to cash in. Here are five steps to increase your chances of success. This won’t necessarily tell you who is going to win, but it will help you spot the horses that aren’t likely to. That’s often the most important part of betting the ponies successfully:
Does the horse belong in the race? – The Belmont isn’t nearly as hard to get into as the Kentucky Derby. Many horses are pointed at the first race of the Triple Crown, so there are usually more horses than there are spaces in the race. However by the third leg, the class has been beaten up and narrowed down, and there aren’t as many quality horses as there are spots in the starting gate. That means that horses that don’t necessarily belong in the race can get in if their owners are willing to pay the entry fee. The first thing to look at when determining whether a horse belongs in a race is if he has run in graded stakes races before. If he has only run in allowance races or low level stakes then he will be facing a major step up in class. Combined with the massive challenge of the distance and it is likely too much to ask.
Has he beaten good horses? – If a horse has appeared in graded stakes races then you want to make sure that he has been competitive in them. Chances are that this will be the toughest field he has faced unless he was in the Derby or Preakness, so if he wasn’t among the best in earlier races, then it will be tough for him to be among the best here. Has he won or placed consistently? Has he beaten other horses in this race, or other horses that appeared in other Triple Crown races? If he hasn’t won races and hasn’t been better than good horses, then why would you trust him here?
Has he run far enough? – The biggest challenge of the Belmont is the distance. A mile and a half is a marathon for these thoroughbreds, and is much farther than they have ever ran. It is also further than they are likely bred to run effectively. You can never know for sure how a horse will fare against the challenge until they do it. You can get an insight into how they might do if they have faced significant distance challenges before. Ideally the horse will have ran at least a mile and an eighth before – and finished strong doing so. It is a real warning sign if they haven’t ran further than a mile, or if they have faded late in their longer races. You want to look for horses that where distances run haven’t taxed them too much.
Does his breeding leap out at you? – Studying pedigrees is a science that can take a lifetime to master. There are some quick shortcuts that can help you spot a thoroughbred that should be able to handle the distance. Look at the first three generations of the pedigree – this is readily available online. You want to see Triple Crown race winners, winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Dubai World Cup or other major international races. You are also looking for horses that are well known as top level sires of champions. If a horse doesn’t have any of those in their pedigree then that doesn’t mean they won’t get the distance, but it means that you should be uncertain about the horse and probably need to learn more in this area. If they do have one or more such horses in their pedigree it doesn’t mean that they will get the distance, but the chances are probably good enough that you can trust them if they fit your criteria in other areas. The pedigree is probably the least important of these five areas for this purpose because it is the one that is most open to interpretation. You just want to look for obvious warning signs and areas of concern.
Can he handle the surface? – In the Triple Crown, the Belmont track is a dirt track, and it is often a deep and heavy surface. Horses that do well on this track are typically those that have run on dirt successfully in the past. You want to look for thoroughbreds that have been far better on synthetic surfaces or turf than on dirt. That doesn’t mean that they can’t run on dirt, but it does make it harder to trust them. They will need to have a price that justifies betting on them. The best case scenario would be if the horse has ran a reasonably long race against good competition at Belmont and won it, but that doesn’t happen nearly often enough.