What to Watch for at the 2024 Belmont Stakes

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Earl Burton

Updated by Earl Burton

Journalist

Last Updated 8th Jun 2024, 09:22 AM

What to Watch for at the 2024 Belmont Stakes

A horse works out on Friday ahead of the 156th running of the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York, the race's temporary home this year and next. (Image: Julia Nikhinson/Associated Press)

It may lack the glitz that past Triple Crown years have had, but the 2024 Triple Crown series will end this Saturday. After the “first Saturday in May” of the Kentucky Derby and the “race for the Black Eyed Susans” at the Preakness, the 2024 Belmont Stakes will conclude this year’s triumvirate of races. The 156th running of the Stakes has many different variables, making this year’s race a tough one to handicap and inform bettors what to look for. 

More Than Change of Venue 

There are several changes to what has traditionally been called “The Test of Champions.” The first will be that it is not at its typical location, Belmont Park. Currently undergoing renovations, Belmont Park is unable to host a race schedule, even its longest-running event, so for this year and 2025, the Belmont Stakes will journey to northern New York and Saratoga Race Course. The move may take a bit of the glamour of New York away from the race, but Saratoga is a very strategic course located in a gorgeous surrounding that will present a challenge to the jockeys. 

With that said the change to Saratoga will also mean that the 2024 Belmont Stakes’ reputation as “The Test of Champions” will be diminished. Because it is unable to run at the length of the Belmont Stakes, a mile and a half, because the course just is not big enough, this year’s Stakes will be run at the shorter mile and a quarter. That extra quarter mile is where the “test” comes into play for these three-year-old thoroughbreds and, in a normal year, could produce a stretch run for the ages (remember the Affirmed/Alydar battles). 

The move to Saratoga should also influence the weather. Temperatures are going to be ten degrees cooler in Saratoga Springs (lower 70s) than they are in New York City (lower 80s), which will keep the colts refreshed and ready to run. There is no threat of rain in northern New York on Saturday either, making the track fast and primed for the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Who to Watch for in the Race

Here is how the 10-horse field (exactly half that of what started the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago) will line up for post time at 4:41pm PT Saturday afternoon (Post, Entry, Jockey, Trainer) and their current odds:

  1. Seize the Grey, Jaime Torres, D. Wayne Lukas – 8-1
  2. Resilience, Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott – 10-1
  3. Mystik Dan, Brian Hernandez, Jr., Kenny McPeek – 5-1
  4. The Wine Steward, Manny Franco, Mike Maker – 15-1
  5. Antiquarian, John Velasquez, Todd Pletcher – 12-1
  6. Dornoch, Luis Saez, Danny Gargan – 15-1
  7. Protective, Tyler Gaffalione, Todd Pletcher – 20-1
  8. Honor Marie, Florent Geroux, Whit Beckman – 12-1
  9. Sierra Leone, Flavien Prat, Chad Brown – 9-5
  10. Mindframe, Irad Ortiz, Jr., Todd Pletcher – 7-2

While it might not be the sexy pick to go chalk, it is the way to ensure a return on your money. This is why you need to look at Sierra Leone, who was one of the favorites at the Derby but did not like the crowded field. Prat is the leading jockey for 2024 and Brown is currently the #3 trainer in the business, meaning that the brain trust behind Sierra Leone is good. There is also the fact that Sierra Leone did not run three weeks ago in the Preakness; out of the last twenty Belmont Stakes, ten of the winners skipped the Maryland leg of the Triple Crown to concentrate on the Belmont.

You have the winners of the first two legs, Preakness winner Seize the Grey and Derby champion Mystik Dan, but the odds are working against both horses for the Belmont. Mystik Dan was the beneficiary of an off-track at Churchill Downs but had a fast track at Pimlico and failed to answer the bell. Seize the Grey did win in Maryland, but that was off not running in the Derby (he did win in a Derby preliminary race, however). A mile and a quarter also might give Seize the Grey some cause for pause. 

Mindframe is getting some love at the window, but I have concerns about the horse. He has only run two races, both victories, and comes to the Belmont with five weeks rest after running a Derby preliminary. At 7-2, it might not be a “long shot” to play, but you will get a better return than betting Sierra Leone. I have my eye on two of the back markers from the Derby, Resilience and Dornoch, who just seemed to get lost in the massive Derby field; the ten-horse gate should prove to be much more to these horses' liking. 

Wanna Bet?

Let’s have some fun…the trifecta (picking the top three finishers) is a good score to look for, and I like Sierra Leone, Dornoch, Resilience, and Mystik Dan to be in there in some three-horse order; box them for the trifecta and maybe look at the superfecta. As to the race, this is where Sierra Leone will shine, with a push from Resilience; a bet on an exacta there, boxed, and a win bet on Sierra Leone and place and show bets on Resilience might be in order. 

It is going to be a full day of racing from Saratoga on Saturday. The day features a fourteen-race card and the Belmont Stakes will be Race #12 on the day. It is sure to entertain, whether you have money on it or not, and you can watch the action live on Saturday with the preliminaries on Fox Sports 1 from 8:30 am to 2 pm ET. From 2 pm until the conclusion of the Belmont Stakes, Fox will pick up the coverage, then send things over to Fox Sports 2 to close out the day. 

Meet The Author

Earl Burton
Earl Burton
Journalist Journalist

Over the past two decades, Earl has been at the forefront of poker and casino reporting. He has worked with some of the biggest poker news websites, covering the tournaments, the players, and the politics, and has also covered the casino industry thoroughly. He continues to monitor the industry and its changes and presents it to readers around the world.

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