It seems like just yesterday we were writing our first horse racing article with the Preakness Stakes. A lot has changed since then. Our website is finished, the NBA season is finished, but somehow we are not finished with horse racing. We had so much fun covering the last race that we decided to follow it up with another article. The Belmont Stakes is here, and our free picks are ready to go!
Not only is this race big because it’s part of the Triple Crown family, but the Belmont tenures a potential Triple Crown Winner in Justify this year. The American darling and buzz saw of other horses is an overwhelming favorite today at 4/5 odds. We picked the right time to start playing the ponies with him lurking around!
We didn’t know much about what we were doing the first time we wrote about horse racing. All we really knew was that Justify was a specimen who is ridiculous fast. I’m going to be frank with you, we still don’t know much more than that even today. What we do know is that we analyzed the heck out of the field both in this race and the last. We were able to turn up a pretty good underdog that way. That’s why we’re back!
The most exciting part of the Preakness for us was our call that longshot Tenfold would win the race. We ended up betting him to show too which was a wager that came out smelling like roses. The youngster charged the backside near the very end of the allotted yardage and ended up coming in third at the wire. Tenfold will be racing again today but won’t have nearly as long of odds. He is just 10 -1 after opening at 12-1.
Justify is the one to beat. The horse is in familiar territory with less than stellar conditions on tap. All of the major courses have been impacted by weather in one way or another this year. Justify will be in familiar confines if the track is messy and wet.
The race is slated at 6:37 p.m. ET on NBC. Let’s take a look at the field and how you might bet this one.
Belmont Field Analysis
Justify is going for history and is looking to join the company of 12 other great horses who have won the Triple Crown throughout history. The 1 horse wins 17% of the time (Belmont Stakes Statistics, 2018 Races) at the Belmont on the over 1-mile routes. The 1 can often be very make or break on the burst out of the gate. If Justify gets stuck on the rail, he could be in trouble. Justify has raced six times since mid-February and had two showings on tough tracks which make pundits think he's fatiguing despite his massive size.
We can find lots of reasons to doubt Justify, but that hasn’t mattered yet and may not matter now. Despite obstacles, Vegas still sees the horse as an overwhelming favorite. There’s little value here, so we recommend staying away from this one unless you want to root hard for a Triple Crown that doesn’t pay you even money.
The two slot doesn’t win a lot at Belmont Park and wins even less when the talent isn’t there. At a 10% victory clip, it sets Free Drop Billy up for a bad race, which is what we think he’ll live up to. This is a good name for a horse with these odds and this caliber. Free Drop Billy’s 16th place finish in the Derby was certainly a “free fall.” Can he drop off the screen today?
Just don’t let Free Drop Billy into your bank account. He’s not the one.
Holy moly, Bravazo is back for the third time in a row to face Justify. The horse has now been shot down at the finish line twice consecutively by Bravazo, but he's given him everything he can handle. It seems Bravazo wants one more crack. The three position has only won 12% of races so far this year at the Belmont tracks. Can Bravazo increase that win percentage?
Bravazo finished sixth in the Derby and Second in the Preakness. There’s a lot to like here with Bravazo which is why picking him to win the Belmont Stakes. He's been a great performer and he gets good value here. Bravazo isn't intimidated of Justify's speed. It seems to bring the best out of him. Thats why he could easily break up a Triple Crown bid in today's race.
LazyBets Free Belmont Pick: Bravazo (8-1) to Win
Hofburg is a monster. He’s got the body of a champion horse, but no one is really noticing because of how dominant Justify has been. Hofburg will end up making his owner a lot of money at the end of the day, but will it be here? The setting looks ripe. The 4 horse has taken the Belmont races over 1 mile at a clip of 21% here in 2018. Hoiberg also has an experienced trainer with a championship pedigree. Bill Mott produced the last three Belmont Stakes winners and Irad Ortiz Jr has a history of performing in big races. This looks good, let’s take it.
Lazybets Free Belmont Pick: Hofburg to Place
The only thing that could restore my faith in you as a bettor is if you don’t take Restoring Hope to win. Just don’t do it, because it’s not going to happen. Restoring Hope is owned by Bob Baffert and is simply there as a pace horse. In addition, Restoring Hope is starting out of the five slot which doesn’t give him a ton of advantages. He won’t be around and the finish and he WILL NOT WIN. DO NOT BET ON RESTORING HOPE.
It’s funny that this horse is in the field, because rumor has it the real Gronk isn’t going to be a Patriot much longer. Unfortunately for the horse Gronkowski, the trade rumors are stealing the headlines of the Belmont.
If there wasn’t so much headline garbage, you might find that Gronkowski occupies the position with the best winning percentage in this years Belmont races. The six slot has won the race over ¼ of the time in 2018 at 26% overall. That makes Gronkowski worth a look, but not much more than that. Research shows that this horse has never raced on dirt and has only raced overseas against inferior competition. That doesn’t sound like the Gronk we know. We’ll pass. Yo soy fiesta.
No one liked Tenfold in the Preakness Stakes. At 20-1, he was completely slept on, but not by us here at LazyBets. Ricardo Santana Jr, took that to mean an advantage as the Panamanian surprised everyone with a third place finish. It was an unlikely story that was fun to watch, but we fear it might be over here and that Vegas may be giving too much credit to the youngster.
Racing in a big race like the Preakness with no experience and placing is an amazing feat, but this will be a much different race. Tenfold starts out of the 7 slot and that horse has only won 4% of races in 2018. Tenfold is 10-1, which is absolutely poetic.
Vino Rosso was a tough luck Derby finisher getting a bad start and coming in at 9th. He’s back to redeem himself at the Belmont and Vegas certainly respects the horse’s ability by valuing it at 8-1. The 8 horse has won 20% of the time and perhaps that’s some of the reason for the optimism. Todd Pletcher is Vino Rosso’s trainer and he’s won three Belmont’s. His jockey, John Velazquez, has taken home two Belmont crowns. That makes him an intriguing horse for players checking out the field.
Noble Indy is a fast starter and if you pick him, the odds are that you’ll be excited at the beginning. Javier Castellano has been noted as touting the horses skill to get off to a quick start. Can he finish though? The odds are not good as Noble Indy is a 30-1 long shot and starting out of a 9 position that hasn’t produced a winner in any 2018 Belmont Races.
Blended Citizen is a West Coast horse that hasn’t lived up to his billing as being one of the better horses in racing. He hasn’t won anything big of note in 2018. He probably wont start here with a powerhouse field. He does have one thing going for him. The only time the 10 horse has raced this year at this distance, it has won.
Alright, that’s it for the picks everyone! If you scrolled all the way to the bottom, we are recommending Bravazo to win at 8-1 and Hofburg to place at whatever the odds go off as. Our projected top 4 finish is below and in order.
LazyBets Belmont Projected Top 4:
Enjoy the race everyone and don’t forget to check out all of the available sportsbook options at your disposal. We've got full bonus information over there as well!