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2018 Belmont Stakes Betting Trends

Horseplayers looking to back Justify in the $1.5-million Belmont Stakes (G1) are going to have to settle for a short price if they think we are about to witness history.

It is very tough to win the Triple Crown. Just ask the connections of California Chrome, Big Brown, Smarty Jones, Real Quiet, Silver Charm, Alysheba and Spectacular Bid. All those great horses came up short in the Big Apple.

American Pharoah finally made history in 2015, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in nearly four decades. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is back just three years later trying to repeat the feat.

Are we about to witness history again?

Here are a few Belmont Stakes betting trends to keep in mind before placing your wagers on the third jewel of the Triple Crown:

Belmont Stakes betting Trends:
  • Since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978, 14 horses have come to Belmont Park seeking to win the Triple Crown and just one has won — American Pharoah in 2015.
  • Only one of the last dozen favorites has won the Belmont — American Pharoah in 2015 returning his backers $3.50.
  • Belmont favorites have won just six of the last 32 editions. By comparison nine Derby favorites and 13 Preakness favorites won during that span.
  • Over the past 19 years we have seen the Belmont winner pay $20 or more 11 times including with huge long shots Lemon Drop Kid ($61.50), Sarava ($142.50), Birdstone ($74.00) and Ruler On Ice ($51.50).
  • The top exacta payoff was with record setter Sarava (70-1) over Medaglia d’Oro (16-1) which paid $2,454 in 2002. In 1999 the exacta combo of Lemon Drop Kid (29-1) and Vision and Verse (54-1) paid $1,537.
  • While the American Pharoah exacta in 2015 paid just $13.60 with the top two betting choices running one-two, we have seen some huge exacta payoffs this decade including a $928 score in 2011, $324 in 2013, $348 in 2014 and $269 in 2016. Last year’s exacta with second choice Tapwrit and favorite Irish War Cry paid $45.20.
  • In the 149 runnings of the race, 62 (42%) have been won by the betting favorite.
  • Only one of the last nine Belmont winners ran in the Preakness — American Pharoah in 2015. Only three others since 1999 ran in the Preakness — Point Given in 2001, Afleet Alex in 2005 and Da’Tara in 2008.
  • Five of the last six Belmont winners ran in the Kentucky Derby, the lone exception being Tonalist in 2014, who prepped in the Peter Pan. Fifteen of the last 20 Belmont winners ran in the Run for the Roses.
  • Since 2002, five Belmont winners were making their Triple Crown debuts — Sarava (2002), Rags to Riches (2007), Drosselmeyer (2010), Ruler On Ice (2011) and Tonalist (2014).
  • Five of the last nine Belmont winners finished sixth or worse in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Only three Belmont winners in the past three decades have taken the field gate to wire — Commendable in 2000, Da’Tara in 2008 and American Pharoah in 2015.
  • Only two geldings have won the race — Ruler On Ice in 2011 and Crème Fraiche in 1985.
  • Summer Bird (2009) is the lone Belmont winner over the past three decades to have not raced as a two-year-old.
  • The last winner of the Belmont to have not landed in the money in a stakes race as a three-year-old was Birdstone in 2004. (He did win the Grade 1 Champagne as a juvenile.)
  • Only nine horses bred outside the U.S. have won the Belmont; the most recent to do so was Canadian-bred Victory Gallop in 1998. The last Belmont winner bred overseas was Go and Go (1990), who was bred in Ireland.
  • Since 1905 the best post position is the one post with 23 winners. However, the last winner to break from the one post was Empire Maker in 2003. The three and five posts are next in total winners with 15 each.
  • Over the past five years, posts 11, 12 and 13 have each produced a Belmont winner.
  • D. Wayne Lukas leads all active trainers with four Belmont wins —Tabasco Cat (1994), Thunder Gulch (1995), Editor’s Note (1996) and Commendable (2000). He has started 24 runners.
  • Todd Pletcher is second among active trainers with three Belmont winners — Rags to Riches (2007), Palace Malice (2013) and Tapwrit (2017). Pletcher has started 33 runners.
  • Bob Baffert has two winners — Point Given in 2001 and American Pharoah in 2015 — among his 10 starters.
  • Gary Stevens leads all active jockeys with three Belmont winners — Thunder Gulch (1995), Victory Gallop (1998) and Point Given (2001).
  • Mike Smith, the rider of favorite Justify, has a 2-for-19 record in the Belmont, the winners coming with Drosselmeyer in 2010 and Palace Malice in 2013.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.