Who will win the Belmont Stakes?  Expert picks and predictions

Who will win the Belmont Stakes? Expert picks and predictions

Rich Strike, the 80-1 shooter ridden by Sonny Leon and coached by Eric Reed, staged a furious and unlikely rally to win the 148th Kentucky Derby on May 7. He wasn’t even in the field until another horse was taken out the day before the race.

But after skipping the Preakness Stakes on May 21, giving up a shot at the Triple Crown, Rich Strike will look to prove in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday that his Derby victory was no fluke.

The Belmont horses are listed in post order, with commentary from Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert of The New York Times. Morning line odds were set by David Aragona of the New York Racing Association.

Bag: $1.5 million guaranteed Distance: 1½ mile

Assessment: For a mile and a half, 2:24 (Secretariat, 1973); for a mile and an eighth, 1:45.40 (Secretariat, 1973)

lester: 126 pounds

Post time: Saturday at 6:44 p.m. Eastern Time

How to watch: Saturday coverage begins on CNBC at 3 p.m. EST and moves to NBC at 5 p.m. Coverage will also air on NBCSports.com.

Joe Drape’s winning picks: Rich Strike, Mo Donegal, We the People

Melissa Hoppert’s Picks: Mo Donegal, Creative Minister, We the People

This is how we see the terrain:

Coach: Rodolphe Brisset Jockey: Flavien Prat Odds: 2-1

Drape: This colt has the high cruising speed that usually wins this race.

Hopper: His gate-to-wire stunt on an off-road track in the Peter Pan at Belmont was his third victory in four starts. With the rain predicted, will anyone be able to catch it?

Coach: Saffie Joseph Jr. Jockey: Manny Franco Odds: 20-1

Drape: Of the trailing runners in this area, he is the slowest. Look elsewhere.

Hopper: The fifth-place Preakness finisher has at least one thing going for him: the best name in the field after his four dark-colored legs or stockings.

Coach: Todd Plecher Jockey: Jose Ortiz Odds: 8-1

Drape: She’s a demanding filly who won’t let We the People stray too far from her.

Hopper: The Kentucky Oaks runner-up has won four of six races and is bred for this marathon race. Pletcher has already won it with a filly, in 2007 with Rags to Riches. Leave her out of your Exotics at your own risk.

Coach: Eric Rose Jockey: Sonny Leon Odds: 7-2

Drape: The surprise Derby winner trains like a monster after skipping the Preakness. He should run well.

Hopper: He’s here to prove himself here, and while distance shouldn’t be an issue, he could use another perfect trip.

Coach: Kenny McPeek Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. Odds: 6-1

Drape: This colt has tactical speed and can push We the People early.

Hopper: The third-placed Preakness finisher has hit the board in all four of his runs since his March debut. Surely there is still a lot of potential.

Coach: Todd Plecher Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Odds: 5-2

Drape: Like Rich Strike, this colt needs to stay close to the pace for his late kick to have a chance.

Hopper: He ran into traffic and finished fifth in the Derby, his first time missing the board in six races. Pletcher knows what it takes to win the Belmont, having won three, and New York’s top jockey will have him within striking distance.

Coach: Marc Casse Jockey: Dylan Davis Odds: 20-1

Drape: So far, it hasn’t been good enough to beat its high-end peers.

Hopper: The Peter Pan runner-up finished 10¼ lengths behind We the People. Pass.

Coach: John Ortiz Jockey: Joel Rosario Odds: 10-1

Drape: This colt is a consistent taker and will charge in the end.

Hopper: He had a rough trip in the Derby but still managed to clinch a sixth-place finish. He takes Rosario, who will make sure he stays in the mix.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.