August 11, 2022

The 2022 Triple Crown will come to a close on Saturday, June 11, with the 154th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. The race features a field of eight horses, headlined by 2022 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike. Post time is set for approximately 6:44 p.m. ET.

And although Rich Strike will be the headliner in this field, he is not the favorite. The longshot champion of Churchill Downs was tabbed with 7-2 morning-line odds, putting him third on the board behind No. 1 We The People and No. 6 Mo Donegal (5-2).

In a small, relatively weak field, there’s certainly a chance that Rich Strike – who will run out of the No. 4 position – can win his second race in a row, but at the same time we’re talking about a ridiculous drop in price for a horse that was 80-1 a month ago. Granted, that was in a wide-open, deep field featuring 20 horses, but it’s still quite a premium to pay on a horse that nobody heard of before the First Saturday in May.

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Usually, the first question handicappers ask themselves before a horse race is what they want to do with the favorite. Will they use the chalk or try to beat it? But this is a unique situation where the question becomes, what should punters do with the third-favorite?

That’s because Rich Strike will likely garner significant betting attention after his performance at Churchill Downs four weeks ago. And there’s a couple of schools of thought when it comes to what we saw at the Kentucky Derby. The first is that it was just a ridiculous outlier in a sport that throws one up every now and then – just usually not in front of the worldwide audience that the Derby attracts. Those who are bullish on Rich Strike would argue that the horse has continued to improve throughout his career, and we shouldn’t just assume that the stars just aligned for his stunner in Louisville.

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2022 Belmont Stakes: A view of Belmont Park
A view of Belmont Park
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In all likelihood, the answer is that Rich Strike’s performance at Churchill Downs was an outlier. It was awesome and served as a good reminder why horse racing is a captivating sport to watch and bet on, but it makes no sense to bet Rich Strike just because you missed out.

With Rich Strike and We The People likely to attract the most betting attention, there are bound to be some decent prices on horses further down the board:

2022 Belmont Stakes Odds

1 We The People 2-1
2 Skippylongstocking 20-1
3 Nest 8-1
4 Rich Strike 7-2
5 Creative Minister 6-1
6 Mo Donegal 5-2
7 Golden Glider 20-1
8 Barber Road 10-1

Best Belmont Stakes win bet

No. 5 Creative Minister (6-1)

Coming into Belmont off an impressive third-place finish at the Preakness Stakes, Creative Minister is an improving horse that seems to have more room to grow. The 3-year-old son of Creative Cause should like the distance and possesses the tactical speed needed to outlast this ho-hum field at the Big Sandy. Creative Minister has two wins, a second and a third-place finish in his four career starts, so there’s every reason to believe he can contend on Saturday.

Longshot to use in exotics

No. 3 Nest (8-1)

The only filly in the bunch, Nest’s running style should suit her in this race. Nest isn’t going to push the pace, but rather is comfortable stalking the field through the first half of the race and keeping within touching distance of the leader before making her move late. Nest has four wins, a second and a third in her six career starts and is coming off a game runner-up performance at the Kentucky Oaks. She’s a threat – and at a good price.

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Betting on the Belmont Stakes 2022?

If you’re going to play a favorite

No. 6 Mo Donegal (5-2)

A trendy pick at the Kentucky Derby, Mo Donegal ran into a crowd at Churchill Downs and ended up finishing fifth, which was the first time he’s missed the board in his career. A late closer, Mo Donegal should be able to pass plenty of tired horses as this distance takes its toll on the field. Trainer Todd Pletcher has won the Belmont Stakes three times and Irad Ortiz Jr. is the top jockey in New York, so there are plenty of signals pointing to a big performance from Mo Donegal.