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2021 Belmont Stakes Odds: Essential Quality Leads Field

The latest Belmont Stakes odds are here, with Essential Quality leading the way.

A field of eight will line up on Saturday for the $1.5-million Belmont Stakes (G1), the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

The early Belmont Stakes odds are showing we have a wide-open edition of this year’s classic, which will be contested at 1½ miles, the first time any of these runners have been tested by the distance and likely the last. 

What Are the Odds for the Belmont Stakes?

Belmont Stakes: Odds to win the 2021 Race
Horse (Lane)Odds
Essential Quality (2)+225
Rombauer (3)+375
Hot Rod Charlie (4)+400
Rock Your World (7)+425
Known Agenda (6)+600
Bourbonic (1)+1800
Overtook (8)+2500
France Go de Ina (5)+2800

Odds as of June 2 at Bovada

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Who Are the Major Contenders for the Belmont Stakes?

Essential Quality +225

Trainer Brad Cox, last year’s Eclipse Award winner for outstanding trainer after winning four Breeders’ Cup races, will saddle this year’s favorite in the latest Belmont odds.

The colt was only beaten a length in the Kentucky Derby as the beaten favorite, checking in fourth. The colt suffered his first defeat after starting his career with five consecutive wins.

Cox elected to skip the Preakness Stakes two weeks later to point toward the Belmont, a strategy that has paid off handsomely in recent years. Among the recent Belmont winners that raced in the Derby, skipped the Preakness and came back to win the Belmont: Tapwrit in 2017, Creator (2016), Palace Malice (2013), Union Rags (2012), Summer Bird (2009), Jazil (2006), Birdstone (2004) and Empire Maker (2003).

This colt is a major threat to win and has the look of a colt that will be able to handle 1½ miles. The question mark is how low his price goes.

Rombauer +375

This colt pulled off the upset in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico last out and returned $25.60 for a $2 wager. The colt could have started in the Derby, but his connections elected to skip the race in favor of the Preakness.

The colt showed some ability as a juvenile last year, running second in the American Pharoah (G1) and then was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) behind winner Essential Quality.

He won the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields and then was third in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland.

The colt is trained by longtime Todd Pletcher assistant Michael McCarthy. He picks up a new rider in Hall of Famer John Velazquez as Flavien Prat has elected to stick with Hot Rod Charlie, who was third in the Kentucky Derby.

This colt is currently listed at +375 in 2021 Belmont Stakes odds at Bovada, which is higher than his morning line odds. The colt earned a career top speed figure in his Preakness win, which was at 1 3/16 miles. The Preakness did set up nicely for him as the early pace was solid. The colt is going to need some early pace on Saturday and may not get it.

Hot Rod Charlie +400

The Doug O’Neill trainee was third in the Kentucky Derby, beaten a length. The colt encountered some traffic passing the wire for the first time and finished up well while unable to get by the top pair in deep stretch.

The colt won the Louisiana Derby (G2) in his final prep and it was six weeks to the Kentucky Derby, and that has not been a successful path over the years.

It is encouraging to see Prat stick with this colt after having won the Preakness Stakes on Rombauer.

His sire Oxbow won the Preakness Stakes in 2013 and followed that up with a solid second in the Belmont Stakes. The colt looks as if he still has some upside and can move forward off his Derby effort.

Rock Your World +425

This colt is the current fourth choice in Belmont odds but not much separates the top quartet. This colt was expected to battle for the early lead in the Kentucky Derby but was off poorly with jockey Joel Rosario having a foot out of the stirrups. He was off 10th and ended up fading to finish a well-beaten 17th, better than 24 lengths behind the eventual winner.

In his previous start, the colt took the field gate to wire to win the Santa Anita Derby (G1). That outing was his first on dirt after making his first two career starts on turf at Santa Anita.

This colt will no doubt bounce back with a much better effort. Rosario is still in the irons and this guy is bred to run all day. He is by Candy Ride out of an Empire Maker mare. Empire Maker won the 2003 Belmont Stakes and Candy Ride won the 1¼-mile Pacific Classic (G1) in 2003.

With a lack of pace in this race, this colt could be a danger to take the field gate to wire with a better break.

Known Agenda +600

Sent off at just under 10-1 in the Kentucky Derby, most were disappointed with his effort, racing near the back of the pack early and passing a few tiring runners to finish ninth.

The colt won the Florida Derby (G1) in his previous outing, which was his first stakes win. Does he seem likely to bounce back with a better effort?

His trainer Todd Pletcher has won the Belmont Stakes three times. His last two were with Tapwrit in 2017, who bounced back off a sixth in the Kentucky Derby, and Palace Malice, who was a well-beaten 12th in the Derby.

This colt can be a danger with a similar bounce-back and should offer some decent value if his current Belmont Stakes odds stick around his +600 price.

Who Are the Long Shots in Belmont Stakes Odds?

We have three outsiders looking to pull off the upset at a big price. We have seen a few big upsets in recent years, none bigger than Sarava paying $142.50 in 2002. Other long shots since include Birdstone ($74.00) in 2004, Da’ Tara ($79.00) in 2008, Ruler On Ice ($51.50) in 2011 and Creator ($34.80) in 2016.

Bourbonic +1600

Trained by Pletcher, this colt pulled off a huge upset in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct to earn his way to the Kentucky Derby, paying $146.50 to win.

The colt was sent off at 30-1 in the Kentucky Derby and was not a threat in a 13th-place finish. As I noted earlier, Pletcher has a knack for getting his runners to bounce back off a poor showing on the first Saturday of May to run better in this race.

However, this colt just has not run fast enough yet to be considered a threat, and his current Belmont odds of +1600 seem unattractive.

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Overtook +2500

Another long shot sent out by Pletcher, this colt is the lone runner in the field that did not compete in either of the first two Triple Crown races.

The colt was third in the Peter Pan (G3) in his last start, the local prep for the Belmont Stakes. Sir Winston used the Peter Pan as a prep before winning the 2019 edition of the Belmont, as did Tonalist in 2014 and Lemon Drop Kid in 1999.

This colt does have a very appealing pedigree. He was a $1-million purchase at auction and by the sire Curlin, a two-time Horse of the Year out of the multiple stakes winner Got Lucky, who won the Grade 1 Spinster in 2015 at 1 1/8 miles.

He’s perhaps one to use in the exotics as his current Belmont Stakes odds at +2500 seem fair enough.

France Go de Ina +2800

The New York Racing Association put up a $1-million bonus for any Japan-based horse who came over and won this race, and France Go de Ina is here looking for the cash.

The colt made his U.S. debut in the Preakness Stakes where he was sent off at 24-1 and after chasing the early pace faded to finish seventh, beaten 17½ lengths.

We don’t see overseas shippers often in this race and we have to go back to Go and Go in 1990 to find the last winner. The Dermot Weld trainee paid $17.00.

The colt does have a long-winded pedigree, by Will Take Charge out of a Curlin mare. However, he did not show enough in the Preakness to have any confidence he can beat this field.