Pennsylvania horse racing bettors have interesting choices on the win line regarding Saturday’s 154th Belmont Stakes.
Three horses exited the draw with short-priced odds of between 2-1 and 7-2 and may flip-flop as the favorite before post time at about 6:45 p.m. from Elmont, N.Y.
We the People (2-1), Mo Donegal (5-2) and Kentucky Derby-winning Rich Strike (7-2) headline the eight-horse field contesting the final jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown.
Keystone State bettors can gain action on this $1.5 million event, along with a loaded all-day slate of stakes races, via TVG.
None of the horses have ever run the novel 1 1/2 mile distance. This will be the only time most of them do.
Belmont Stakes field, jockeys, odds
|Post Position||Horse||Jockey||Morning Line Odds|
|1||We The People||Flavien Prat||2-1|
|4||Rich Strike||Sonny Leon||7-2|
|5||Creative Minister||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||6-1|
|6||Mo Donegal||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||5-2|
|7||Golden Glider||Dylan Davis||20-1|
|8||Barber Road||Joel Rosario||10-1|
|Get a $200 Risk-Free Bet at TVG!|
Handicapping the 2022 Belmont Stakes
Under pari-mutuel regulations, odds for the Belmont Stakes won’t become final until post time. That’s why the actual favorite may change. The home-track edge, past matchups and speed variables will all go into that equation.
Overview of the major contenders
We The People
- Argument For: Breaks from the rail and is considered the controlling speed in a field full of closers. Best chance to win is to get out comfortably on top, maintain position and conserve some stamina for the homestretch. Has an added edge of a victory at the track, a front-running effort in the Peter Pan Stakes last month.
- Argument Against: That was a weak field compared to the Arkansas Derby, in which he finished out of the money. Must step up again to the highest level.
- Argument For: Has three nice wins over New York tracks and the horse he defeated in the Wood Memorial, Early Voting, won the Preakness.
Argument Against: He was fifth to Rich Strike in the Kentucky Derby. Rich Strike outran him in the homestretch.
- Argument For: Riding the wave of the Cinderella Story, winning the Kentucky Derby at 80-1 one day after being allowed to enter because of a late scratch. How late? Less than five minutes before the deadline. Magic runs in cycles.
- Argument Against: Ships to a new track. Must rally from far back. Will not get the hot speed duel between the frontrunners to set him up, as he got in the Derby.
The rest of the field at Belmont
Creative Minister improves every race and comes in off a third-place finish in the Preakness. Barber Road has finished second three times this year and is a candidate to rally into the top spots. He also gets a riding upgrade via Joel Rosario, who won the 2019 Belmont with Sir Winston and guided Epicenter to second-place finishes in this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Nest seeks to become the first filly to win the Belmont since Rags to Riches did it in 2007. Karma? Her trainer Todd Pletcher also handled Rags to Riches. Pletcher has two entries in the Belmont. The other is Mo Donegal.
Golden Glider finished a distant second to We the People in the Peter Pan. His trainer Mark Casse won the 2019 Belmont with Sir Winston. Skippylongstocking usually sets the pace and is later outrun. His impact may be measured on whether or not he compromises We the People by forcing an early-speed duel.
The three early favorites figure to keep the betting line honest. There should be reasonable value on the win line.
Exacta (top two finishers), trifecta (top three) and superfecta (top four) wagers are always enticing, but there’s the risk of spreading too much money in a small field to get a small return if the favorites run well.
Belmont Stakes full race card
Belmont rarely hosts an attempt at a Triple Crown sweep anymore. That became official this year after Rich Strike skipped the Preakness. In recent years, the track has beefed up its program to make Belmont Day a standalone attraction. Saturday’s lineup looks like a mini-Breeders Cup.
The card starts at 11:20 a.m. Here are some of the Belmont Stakes undercard races throughout the day.
- $1 million Metropolitan Handicap
- $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan
- $500,000 Acorn
- $500,000 Just A Game
- Ogden Phipps $500,000
Each of these races is bigger than the season’s headlined race at many race tracks.
Belmont Stakes party across Pennsylvania
Gamblers have rapidly embraced the convenience of online betting to wager on the Belmont and other major events from the comforts of home, or a phone. But race tracks around the state add more options and some present adjusted post times to accommodate Belmont Day. The tracks also accept simulcast wagering on the Belmont.
Here are many of the offerings open to Pennsylvania residents. Check before you go to ensure schedules haven’t changed.
- Penn National Race Course in Grantville goes to a 2 p.m. post with eight races.
- The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, in Wilkes Barre, has a 1:30 p.m. first post for its harness-racing card.
- Presque Isle Downs in Erie is open for simulcasting.
- Parx Racing in Bensalem moves its live card to 12:05 p.m. and will have 11 races.
- Hollywood Casino at the Meadows has an 11:30 a.m. first post for its live harness-racing card.
- Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia is open for simulcasting.
Lead image John Minchillo/AP