There is nothing more exciting in sports than a horse heading to the Belmont Stakes seeking to win the elusive Triple Crown. We have been here before, a dozen times since Affirmed won the last Triple Crown in 1978.
We are still waiting.
I have put together some basic betting advice, geared more toward the casual racing fan or new horseplayer who may be looking to place a few wagers on the Belmont Stakes as California Chrome looks to make history.
Here are 10 betting tips to keep in mind before heading to the racetrack (or your computer) to bet on the big day:
Sure, it is fun to head out to a Triple Crown event, get all dressed up, drink a fancy cocktail, and hobnob with the elite.
However, do you know what is a lot more fun? Leaving the racetrack, betting parlor or party with more money than you came with. Wagering on horse racing is completely legal, whether you do it at the track, at home on your computer or on your smartphone.
There are plenty of online racebooks looking for your action. Look for a reputable site, one that offers a generous sign-up bonus and rebates or some type of cash rewards.
While witnessing a Triple Crown is exciting, cashing a ticket on the race will add to the rush and might even pay for that fancy hat.
Unless you plan on just betting names and numbers, it is a good idea to take advantage of the wealth of betting information that is available.
Start with the good writers right here at Bleacher Report, and there is plenty of other great information, including replays of all of the major races available on You Tube. Equibase has a free app where horseplayers can access videos and results for free.
The New York Racing Association has a You Tube channel that features videos of all of the Belmont Stakes contenders working out in the mornings. There are replays, interviews and handicapping advice available on the America’s Best Racing You Tube channel as well.
Doing a little homework can lead to cashing a big ticket on Belmont Stakes Day.
There are a dozen races in addition to the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, and enough wagering options to make even a degenerate gambler’s head spin.
The Belmont Stakes itself offers win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagering. There are rolling doubles, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 5 bets as well.
A $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 5 begins on the opening race, a $1 Million Guaranteed Pick 6 begins in the sixth race and a $1.5 Million Guaranteed Pick 4 begins on race eight.
It is a good idea to plan ahead and decide what betting pools you are going to jump into. With a smaller bankroll, stick to traditional wagers and exactas. A larger bankroll will allow you to play the horizontal bets.
While California Chrome is the marquee name on Belmont Stakes Day, there is plenty of other star power not to be missed. There are 13 races and 10 stakes on the richest day in Belmont Stakes Day history.
Last year’s Derby runner-up Golden Soul is a longshot in the Brooklyn Invitational, the third race on the card. The amazing Ben’s Cat is the 5-2 favorite in the Jaipur (G3). The King T. Leatherbury trainee has won 26 of his 39 career starts.
Social Inclusion, who was third in the Preakness, is the headliner in the Woody Stephens, the fifth race on the card. He faces a dozen foes in one of the best betting races on the card.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Beholder takes on last year’s Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar and multiple Grade 1 winner Close Hatches in the Ogden Phipps. Last year’s Preakness winner Palace Malice takes to the track in the Met Mile.
Roll out the red carpet for the undercard, now for a few tips on the big race.
A good look at historical trends can often help us separate the contenders from the pretenders. For instance, did you know that since 2000, just two of the last 14 Belmont Stakes winners participated in the Preakness? Point Given (2001) and Afleet Alex (2005) were the two.
No Kentucky Derby winner has won the Belmont Stakes since Thunder Gulch in 1995. The only horse to land in the exacta was Smarty Jones, who finished second behind Birdstone in 2004.
Those two trends do not bode well for the favorite California Chrome, do they?
Let’s look for a positive. If we look at the history of the Belmont Stakes, the betting favorite has won at a 42 percent clip.
That should make “Chromies” feel better.