Essential Quality drew most of the buzz entering the 2021 Triple Crown season. He won five straight races dating back to 2020 and entered the Kentucky Derby in May as the favorite. A fourth-place run at Churchill Downs killed that momentum, but he’s back for one more shot at a Triple Crown event win as the 2021 Belmont Stakes goes to post at 6:49 p.m. ET on Saturday. Other 2021 Belmont Stakes horses getting low odds for Saturday include Preakness winner Rombauer (3-1), Hot Rod Charlie (7-2) and Rock Your World (9-2)
Is it finally time for Essential Quality, who is the 2-1 favorite in the latest 2021 Belmont Stakes odds, to pick up a huge win? Or is this the spot for a long shot like Overtook at 20-1 or France Go De Ina at 30-1 to shock the world in what’s been an unpredictable Triple Crown season? With so much to consider before Saturday’s race, a little expert help can go a long way before making your 2021 Belmont Stakes picks.
Since 1996 only four favorites have won the Belmont — Point Given (27-20) in 2001, Afleet Alex (23-20) in 2005, American Pharoah (3-4) in 2015 and Justify (4-5) in 2018. During the past 33 years, a $2 ticket on the Belmont winner has been worth an average of $35.91. Given that it is the longest of the three Triple Crown races, the assumption is that a horse can make a charge from behind to capture the Test of the Champion.
But even at 1 1/2 miles around, Belmont Park has the shortest homestretch — only 375 yards — of the three races. That short homestretch discourages deep closers, and since the course was changed to its current configuration in 1926, only five Belmont Stakes champs have come from more than two lengths off the lead at the top of the stretch — most recently Summer Bird in 2009.
Given all the history, there’s a method to picking which horses to focus on for exacta, trifecta, and superfecta bets in a Belmont Stakes like this, and SportsLine’s Jody Demling knows what it is. He can help you make the best 2021 Belmont Stakes picks possible.
A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling enters the Belmont Stakes 2021 after a major heater in 2020: At one point last year, he picked the winners of six straight races: the Saudi Cup, Gotham Stakes, Rebel Stakes, Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes.
At last year’s Belmont, Demling said Tiz the Law was clearly the class of the field, and Barclay Tagg’s horse pulled away for a convincing 3 3/4-length victory. In 2018, he was all over Justify, jockey Mike Smith, and trainer Bob Baffert to make horse racing history at Belmont Park. The result: Justify became just the 13th Triple Crown winner ever, and anyone who followed Demling’s lead cashed in too.
Demling is at his best in the biggest horse races in the world. He has hit nine of the last 13 Derby-Oaks doubles at Churchill Downs. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both races all but four times in the last 13 years. He’s also called nine of the last 17 Preakness winners, keenly understanding when the Kentucky Derby winner was poised for victory or a massive upset. Anyone who has followed him is up huge. Now, he’s sharing all of his 2021 Belmont Stakes bets here.
Top 2021 Belmont Stakes expert picks
Here’s a refresher on how to bet the Belmont 2021 from SportsLine’s Jody Demling:
Exacta: Pick the first- and second-place finishers in the correct order. A $2 exacta returned $19.60 at the 2020 Belmont Stakes with Tiz the Law and Dr. Post.
Trifecta: Pick the first-, second- and third-place finishers in the correct order. A $0.50 trifecta returned $49.75 at the 2020 Belmont Stakes with Tiz the Law, Dr. Post and Max Player.
Superfecta: Pick the first-, second-, third- and fourth-place finishers in the correct order. A $0.10 superfecta returned $55.65 at the 2020 Belmont Stakes with Tiz the Law, Dr. Post, Max Player and Pneumatic.
While Demling has no quibbles with the favorite status of Essential Quality (2-1), he plans to hold tickets with Hot Rod Charlie (7-2), Rock Your World (9-2) and one of the biggest long shots in the entire field. You can see his picks here.
How to make 2021 Belmont Stakes bets
Demling has specific recommendations for exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagers so you can cover all your bases at the Belmont Stakes 2021. He’s sharing them over at SportsLine.
So which horses do you take? And in what combinations? Visit SportsLine to get Demling’s picks for exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets for the 2021 Belmont Stakes.