The horse race that usually caps off the Triple Crown will instead kick it off this year. The Belmont Stakes is set for June 20th and will be run without fans for the first time, today we’ll look at our picks and parlays for the big race.
The 152nd Belmont Stakes 2020
The 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes will be unlike any other in history. First off, the date has been pushed back to June 20th and will now be the start of the Triple Crown races as opposed to the finish. Both the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Derby have been moved to the fall. Another big difference will be the lack of fans in the stands. While this won’t affect the outcome, it will make the viewing experience a little less enjoyable.
The most significant change to come to this race will be the length of this year’s run. The Belmont Stakes will be run at a mile and one eight as opposed to the mile and a half distance it usually covers. The power that be have decided that it would be dangerous to run these 3-year-old horses so far after being dormant for months. The purse has also been cut by a third to ‘just’ $1M with the lack of casino revenue being blamed.
This is not the first time the Triple Crown schedule has been adjusted. From the years 1923 to 1932, the Kentucky Derby actually took place after the Preakness. So there is some precedent for this situation, but not quite as extreme.
The impact this schedule change will have on the Triple Crown remains to be seen, but there will be issues. With the Belmont and Derby pushed into the fall, trainers will have some hard calls to make. The Triple Crown season is usually five weeks and gives the best chance to fill out the 20 horse field for the Derby. This leaves a smaller group to run the Preakness. The Derby winner is the only horse that has to run the Preakness to keep their triple crown aspirations alive, while the rest are rested for the Belmont Stakes.
If a horse is to win the Triple Crown in 2020, they will have to win in June and then three months later for the Derby and another for the Preakness. So, five weeks is now almost five months. This makes a Triple Crown winner very unlikely this year as the abridged schedule favors truly dominant horses.
Pushing the final legs back so far means that weaker horses have more time to develop over the summer and more downtime to rest. A field full of well-rested horses is an oddity and will up the competition the latter two events.
The schedule also pushes the Triple Crown races right up against the Breeders Cup, which takes place the first weekend in November. With a $7M purse to be won, and the opportunity to race older horses, owners might have to pick and choose which big pots they want to chase.
2020 Betting Odds
Tiz The Law +200
Dr. Post +1600
Honor A.P. +1800
Sole Volante +1800
Wells Bayou +2200
Farmington Road +2500
Gouverneur Morris +2500
Max Player +2500
2020 Belmont Stakes Betting Picks
If we go by the current odds, there are really only three horses that have any real hope to win this race—Charlatan, Tiz The Law, and Nadal.
Charlatan did not miss a beat when the Kentucky Derby was canceled. Instead, the Arkansas Derby stepped in and allowed owners a chance to run their horse. Charlatan was a big favorite to win and came through for his backers. Be aware; however, that Charlatan ran in the weaker division in the three races he has won. His level of competition has been rather weak, in fact. Bob Baffert, one of the most accomplished trainers of all time, might go 4 for 4 with a win.
Tiz Law’s trainer Barclay Tagg has also announced that his horse will be at the starting gate on race day. A winner of four of five races, including the Florida Derby, Tiz Law is locked in and is a strong candidate to win the Belmont Stakes. He has not lost a race this year, and his ownership group has already won a Derby and Preakness in 2003, becoming the first Big Apple horse to win since 1923.
Nadal rounds out our trio of top condensers after winning his division of the Arkansas Derby. While the competition will be more robust at the Belmont Stakes, Nadal did beat a better field than Charlatan in similarly impressive fashion. That takes Nadal’s record to four for four with two wins in Arkansas and two in California.
As I see it, Nadal’s odds should be closer to those of Charlatan and Tiz The Law based on past performances.
Nadal was the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, in fact, and now is listed as third for some reason.
Baffert trains both Charlatan and Nadal, and each won their Arkansas Derby heats. Charlatan raced in an easier division and finished slower than Nadal. Some might say that Charlatan did not need to run as hard, but the numbers don’t lie. Nadal also broke Charlatans record for fastest 1.5 miles at the Arkansas Derby, just minutes after it was set.
The point is, these two horses match up so well, why is Nadal odds +325? This is Nadal’s home track as well, and at that price, he makes sense. That’s it for our Belmont Stakes picks and parlays. Great to have some racing action back!