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Harry’s Helpful Horse-Racing Tips and Belmont Stakes Picks

Harry’s Helpful Horse-Racing Tips and Picks

For those who don’t know my history, I worked in racebooks and sportsbooks in Las Vegas for 14 years until moving to Arizona. In those 14 years, I saw bettors try every method of wagering on horses to be the king in the “sport of kings.”

Unlike my How to Bet Golf article last week, I don’t have a definitive strategy for betting on horses (maybe because there are so many different theories). To name a few, you might like a horse because it is a late finisher, because the track he is running on is “sloppy,” or because of the trainer.

Know Your Trainers

I’m not sold on the first two but my first tip in betting horses is to know the trainer of the horse, especially in top money races.

When Bob Baffert was 10 years old in Arizona, his father purchased a few horses and the rest is history as Bob turned out to be the greatest trainer in horse racing history.

As a trainer, Baffert has to his credit five Kentucky Derby, seven Preakness and three Belmont Stakes victories. So when the chips are on the table, he has been able to deliver an astonishing 15 times in Triple Crown races.

More times than not, I like catching a horse when it’s running hot. For example, this week is the Belmont Stakes and the horse that fits that category best would be Tiz the Law.

Tiz the Law is the current favorite to win, sitting at -130, and was the Florida Derby winner. Plus, the path has been cleared considerably with the withdrawals of then-favorite Nadal, Charlatan and Maxfield. This horse is getting it done somehow on and off the racetrack and looks to be a solid play on Saturday.

Jockeys are Key

My final hint in betting horses is to focus on the jockeys. During my time betting and watching horses, the best jockey (who made me money) was hands down Mike Smith. Smith has 26 Breeders’ Cup wins and at 52 won the Triple Crown with Justify in 2018. What an unbelievable career for Smith, who has shown up big time in big races.

I can still remember during my time in Sin City working in the afternoon when Bay Meadows was racing and Canadian-born jockey Russell Baze was usually the favorite to win a five- or six-horse field. There were many customers who would be betting simply on Baze (13,000 career victories) and couldn’t have cared less about the horse’s pedigree.

Because of postponements due to the pandemic, this will mark the first time that the Triple Crown will start in New York. The Kentucky Derby, traditionally the first leg, is scheduled for September 5 and the Preakness for October 3.

Something to factor in is the length of the race. The Belmont Stakes is usually a mile and a half but has been shortened to a mile and an eighth because it will now be the first Triple Crown race. That’s something to take into consideration with a horse such as Farmington Road (+2500) because of its excellent late finishing qualities.

Odds for “the third jewel of the Triple Crown,” even though it’s the first this year.

Belmont Stakes Odds

Tiz the Law -130

Again, Tiz the Law became extremely fortunate when Nadal and two other contenders withdrew.

Tap it to Win +450

In 2020, Tap it to Win has raced twice and, you guessed it, has two wins.

Sole Volante +700

This horse has six lifetime starts with four wins and a second.

Dr. Post +750

Has two wins in three career starts.

Mischievous Alex +900

Pneumatic +1200

Max Player +2200

Won the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct in February. Has yet to finish worse than second in career.

Modernist +2200

Farmington Road +2500

As mentioned, likes to finish late.

Jungle Runner +3000

This horse finished eighth in the Arkansas Derby, 22 lengths behind Charlatan.

Basin +3300

Now I have given you my thoughts on how to do your best to win money at horse wagering. Over 14 years, I saw superstitions, birthdates and favorite numbers come into play as theories as well.

I can remember when a pal of mine came to Las Vegas to see me and all he bet on was the 1-2-4 (his address in New York). He bet exacta and trifecta boxes and was hitting them like it is supposed to be easy to do or something. He was hitting (and drinking — maybe that’s the way to do it) at all different tracks while betting horses number 1, 2 and 4. From Saratoga to Santa Anita that day, he walked away up 3,000 bucks betting his home address.

That’s what’s wild about betting on horses. It truly doesn’t matter how much you know or don’t know.

Harry’s $50 Worth of Wagering

$2 Exacta Box
Tiz the Law, Sole Volante, Max Player, Farmington Road
$24 Ticket

$1 Trifecta Box
Same Horses
$24 Ticket

$2 Win Bet
Jungle Runner
Just in case I’m dead wrong on everything I said and the 30/1 wins, I’ll get my money back.
$2 Ticket

There is $50 worth of fun for the Belmont Stakes. Hey, I see it that this is just something else to have fun wagering on since we don’t have a ton to choose from. Everyone stay safe and enjoy the race.