2018 Belmont Stakes Preview with Odds and Picks
Published on June 08, 2018
Horse racing fans finally get to find out if history will be made again this Saturday when the 2018 Belmont Stakes takes center stage at Belmont Park.
There is no absurd 37-year drought to be snapped here, of course.
American Pharoah made sure of that in 2015, so if Justify makes good on his favorite label, he’ll be handing the horse racing world a Triple Crown champion for the second time in the last four attempts.
Bob Baffert is back with his favored (and undefeated) gem to make sure that happens. He’s won here twice before and most recently pushed American Pharoah to god status.
Whether Baffert’s latest colt can get the job done after securing wins at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, however, remains to be determined.
Winning won’t exactly be easy for Justify, especially if you ask Bob Baffert, who has been publicly anxious about a #1 post draw.
The spots were made official for all 10 horses on Tuesday night, and the field is finally set going into June 9th’s massive event.
Despite Baffert’s anxiety over Justify’s starting spot, the #1 post draw has actually been very successful at the Belmont Stakes.
In fact, it leads the way with 23 wins in this event, with five of those winners actually securing Triple Crown sweeps.
Considering Justify is vying to be just the 13th ever Triple Crown champion, that could actually be pretty telling.
Recent history hasn’t been so kind to the #1 post draw, though. The last winner from that spot came in from Touch Gold in 1997.
As for other post draws, recent history may favor Tenfold and Noble Indy.
The 7th post draw has secured three Belmont Stakes wins since 2007, and the 9th spot has nabbed three since 1998.
It’s pretty arguable post draw is relatively meaningless in the end, however.
There are just 10 horses for bettors to look at, and while some horses can be hedged off on the outside or pinned down on the inside, this post draw leaves things fairly wide open.
Instead of putting too much focus on where horses start, bettors should pay more attention to their talent and past production against high-level competition.
Justify opened as the tentative favorite going into the Kentucky Derby, and anyone that didn’t hop on Bob Baffert’s gem at that point lost out on some serious value.
His price rose significantly going into the Preakness, but now bettors find themselves somewhere in the middle with a -125 price at Bovada and other Belmont Stakes betting sites.
It may come down to personal preference or if you can locate another horse you think can seriously challenge Justify.
Either way, here’s the latest 2018 Belmont Stakes odds, per Bovada.
Justify is again the clear favorite, and nobody is particularly close. Hofburg pulls into second and by many.
Bravazo, Vino Rosso, and Tenfold round out the most realistic threats, with everyone else classifying as a sleeper or long shot.
The question, though, may be which challenger leads the way ahead of the rest right behind Justify.
It’s easy to see why bettors should have some interest in Bravazo. Not only did he give Justify a nice run late at the Preakness Stakes, but he was a respectable 6th at the Kentucky Derby as well.
On top of that, this Calumet Farm product has three wins, including one at the Risen Star event this year.
Beyond past production and solid runs in elite events, the main draw is that he’s getting better.
He’s still come up short two times in a row behind Justify, but could this underrated horse be inching closer to the most important victory of all?
I love Blended Citizen’s value at +2000, but this has been a very experienced and competitive horse that many view as a viable sleeper.
A win at the 2017 Peter Pan run is a nice feather in his cap, while he stole the show at the Jeff Ruby Steaks and was solid (5th) at the Blue Grass Stakes.
This is another horse that seems to be rounding into form, while he’s the only horse in this event that has actually won at Belmont Park.
He’s also displayed blazing speed at times, so if he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle early – and heck, maybe even if he does – there’s a chance he could surge late and make a run for it.
He has the best odds (+6600) of the entire group, yet he’s actually got some solid arguments in his favor.
Not only did he best Bravazo at the Breeders’ Futurity, but he’s had strong showings at the Holy Bull (2nd) and Blue Grass Stakes (3rd).
A dreadful 16th-place run at the Kentucky Derby has killed his momentum, but after taking the Preakness off, Free Drop Billy is well rested and ready to pitch the upset.
You can go back and forth in this field, as it does have some talent and some elite trainer/owner history.
Todd Pletcher, Calumet Farm, and of course Bob Baffert are the big names touching down at Belmont Park on Saturday, but no matter how you slice it, Justify still feels like the best horse in this race.
Link to the other Belmont Stakes post that will have been published by the time this one goes up.
One is the fact that Bob Baffert was literally here in 2015 and sealed the deal despite immense pressure and history ready to deny him.
The other is the fact that Justify hasn’t even run his best race in the Triple Crown to this point, yet here he is, undefeated and ready to chase a Triple Crown title.
This field is good, but it’s not anything Justify hasn’t taken down, and when there is history in sight, it’s simply too much fun to not chase it.
If you need one more reason to get you on Justify, consider the odds. This -125 price doesn’t return INSANE value it, but it’s a pretty nice price for what figures to be a very heavy favorite.
I don’t mind a couple flier bets on your favorite challenger, sleeper, or long shot, but I’d go hardest at Justify.