The Belmont Stakes is a Grade 1 Stakes race held every June at New York’s Belmont Park. It is a race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds and is the third jewel of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing in North America. At 1.5 miles long, it is called the Test of the Champions because it is the longest Triple Crown race. It is also known as the Run for the Carnations because of the white carnations which are draped over the winning colt.
First run in 1867, the race is named after New York-based politician August Belmont Sr. who financed the Jerome Park racetrack in the Bronx where the first installment of the race was held. Since then, three other race tracks have hosted the Belmont Stakes. The race transferred to Morris Park in 1890, then to Belmont Park in 1905. When Belmont Park was renovated between 1963 to 1967, the race was held at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The 2018 Belmont Stakes will be the 150th edition of the Test of Champions, and it will be held on June 9, 2018. The expected post time for the 2018 Belmont Stakes is 6:20 PM ET. NBC will provide TV coverage for the 2018 Belmont Stakes beginning at 5:00 pm ET. The pre-race coverage on NBCSN starts at 2:00 PM ET.
All eyes will be on Justify at the 2018 Belmont Stakes as he aims to become just the second horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978. Twelve horses have completed the Triple Crown with a victory at the Belmont Stakes. The first one was Sir Barton in 1919, and the last one was American Pharoah in 2015. Meanwhile, 23 horses who have entered the Belmont Stakes with wins in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness failed to win the Triple Crown, the last of which was California Chrome, who finished 4th in 2014.
Fifteen of the last 20 winners of the Belmont Stakes ran in the Kentucky Derby. But only one of the last nine Belmont Stakes winners ran in the Preakness. That was American Pharoah in 2015. With Justify drawing comparisons to the last Triple Crown winner, will he be the next to accomplish the feat?
The field is growing bigger, but Bob Baffert’s undefeated chestnut colt is still the strong favorite in this race. After breaking the Apollo curse at the Kentucky Derby, Justify won the Preakness two weeks later despite sloppy conditions. Now, Justify has a chance at immortality, to become the 13th Triple Crown winner. But given how he was pushed at the Preakness and the fresh competition here, this could be his toughest race to date.
The second choice at Bovada, Hofburg has both a former Belmont-winning trainer and winning jockey in his corner. The colt made his Stakes debut at the 2018 Florida Open, where he finished second to Audible, losing the race by three lengths.
Bravazo made the 2018 Preakness Stakes interesting when he came in like a freight train in the last furlong to finish second, just a half length behind winner Justify. Trained by four-time Belmont Stakes winner D. Wayne Lukas, this Risen Star Stakes winner also finished sixth in the Run for the Roses. Coming off the best run of his career, he’s an interesting pick at +700.
One of trainer Todd Pletcher’s two runners in the 2018 Belmont Stakes (the other is Notable Indy), Vino Rosso finished 9th in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. The Wood Memorial winner cannot be overlooked with a multiple-time Belmont Stakes trainer and jockey behind him.
Finishing a surprising 3rd in the Preakness Stakes, Tenfold also placed 5th in the Arkansas Derby. With 2016 Belmont Stakes winning trainer Steve Asmussen guiding this colt, Tenfold is also an interesting prospect in this race.
History says that 42% of the favorites have won the Belmont Stakes. But only six out of the last 32 favorites have won the Run for the Carnations. That’s pretty low, compared to 9 for the Kentucky Derby and 13 for the Preakness over the same period. Likewise, 14 horses have entered the Belmont Stakes attempting to win the Triple Crown, but only American Pharoah in 2015 has been successful. But we know that Justify is a special colt. He beat the Apollo Curse, and then bucked weather conditions and a heel injury to win the Preakness. Sure, this is the toughest race of his career, but this is what special horses were born to do.
If there’s a horse who can defeat Justify here, it is probably Vino Rosso. With 35 days off between races, he’s well rested. With Todd Pletcher training him and John Velazquez in the saddle, Vino Rosso’s got plenty of resume riding on his back. Remember that Justify’s worst beyer speed was 97, and in the potential field, it’s only Vino Rosso who can top that. So while it’s going to be prudent to pick Justify at -125, Vino Rosso at +800 is a very tempting pick.
That said, we’re going with Vino Rosso in the Belmont Stakes.
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