Belmont Derby: Wizard of Westwood Looks to Have the Most Speed of the Race

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated July 5, 2023
8 min read

Belmont Derby Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the Belmont Derby at Belmont Park!










D Davis

K McPeek





L Saez

M Casse





J Alvarado

W Mott





J Castellano

M Casse





J Ortiz

T Pletcher





R Mullen

C Appleby





J Velazquez

M McCarthy





I Ortiz Jr

C Brown





J Rosario

C Clement





F Prat 

C Brown





O Murphy

A Balding

Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Belmont Derby Picks and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$20 Win, Place & Show - Wizard of Westwood = $60

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Wizard of Westwood (12/1).    

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Belmont derby predictions

The Foxes and Silver Knott, a pair of multiple group stakes winners in Europe, visit the U.S. to headline a field of eleven young turf horses in Saturday’s $750,000 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park. 

The Foxes finished fifth last time in the Group 1 Epsom Derby, but before that, the Irish-bred son of Churchill was a determined winner of the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York.

Silver Knott, meanwhile, has already run in America two times for top turf trainer Charlie Appleby. 

The son of Lope de Vega just missed in last fall’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and then finished a close third in last month’s Grade 2 Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park.

Chief among their challengers in the Grade 1, 10-furlong Belmont Derby are the two horses who finished ahead of Silver Knott in the Pennine Ridge.

The winner was Kalik, an Ontario-bred son of Collected. Trained by Chad Brown, he has won three in a row on the grass, including two straight impressively at Belmont Park.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Far Bridge has finished second in his last two after winning his first two career starts. 

He was beaten a nose in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs, before encountering traffic trouble when second last out in the Pennine Ridge.

Belmont Derby Predictions and Race Analysis

The Foxes

This Irish-bred son of Churchill will certainly have no problem with the 1 1/4-mile distance of Saturday’s Belmont Derby. In fact, he will be dropping in distance from a fifth-place finish last time in the English classic, the 12-furlong Epsom Derby. 

He was getting very good late in his juvenile season for trainer Andrew Balding, and he has carried over that good form in 2023. 

A solid second in the Group 3 Craven to begin the season, he followed that up with a good score in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at 10 1/2 furlongs. If he is sharp in his U.S. debut, he is a major threat to win the whole thing.

Silver Knott

Charlie Appleby has had great success bringing his good European turf horses to America and winning some of our best turf races. He could do it again on Saturday with this classy son of Lope de Vega. 

A strong second last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he returned to the States last month and was beaten just a length while trying to rally into a slow pace in the Pennine Ridge Stakes. 

I do wonder if he is as good at 3 as he was last year compared to the rest, but still, he is an obvious threat, who could win this with just a small move forward off the last.


Trained by Chad Brown, this Collected colt has been nothing but good since switching to the grass four starts back. A good second as a 2-year-old, he has rattled off three straight to begin the year. 

His last two are his best yet, as he went right to the lead to dominate an allowance race at Belmont, before coming back four weeks later to defeat some strong competition in the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge. 

In both, he got an easy pace to run on, and that probably won’t happen on Saturday. He is certainly a threat to win another, but I do like a few others better here.

Far Bridge

This son of English Channel is a bit unlucky to have only two career wins in four tries. Nipped by a nose two starts back in his stakes debut, he had a rough trip when second last time behind Kalik. 

Trained by Todd Pletcher, he is bred to run long on the grass, and this will be his longest attempt yet. Clearly an up-and-coming turf star, he should once again make his presence felt on Saturday. 

Perhaps this time he will also have a little more luck. In a loaded field, this colt is one of the most likely winners of the Grade 1 Belmont Derby.


This three-time stakes winner has won half of his eight career turf starts and has been competitive in the others. A son of Constitution, he also has never been better. 

Two starts back, he earned his biggest career win by rallying late to nip Far Bridge in the Grade 2 American Turf. He validated that upset with a much easier win last time in the Audubon Stakes, also at Churchill Downs. 

Trained by Mark Casse, he should have no problem with the 10-furlong trip on Saturday. This will be his toughest test yet, though.

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The second of two from the powerhouse Chad Brown barn, this son of Kingman could be any kind after an extremely impressive debut. 

In his only career start, he was sent off at 2/1 and dominated the field in a Belmont Park maiden race, winning by nearly five lengths. 

As good as he may turn out to be, I am not ready to fancy his chances after only that 8 1/2-furlong maiden win, as he steps up to a strong 10-furlong Grade 1.

Wizard of Westwood

This California shipper looks to have the most speed of the race, and it is a race without much early pace. Trained by Michael McCarthy, he’s started five times in his career and has not run a bad race yet. 

After a trio of near misses in stakes races at Santa Anita, the son of Tu Brutus led all the way to win the Cinema Stakes last time out. Take note that the victory was at the same 10-furlong distance which he will see in the Belmont Derby.

Given his pace advantage and the likelihood of attractive odds, I will be taking a shot on him Saturday. He is the top pick. 


After a pair of competitive races to begin his career this Lope de Vega colt has won two straight since coming to Belmont Park. 

Trained by Christophe Clement, one of the top turf trainers in the business, he comes into Saturday’s Belmont Derby off a determined allowance victory while going 9-furlongs early last month. 

He is one of many in the field to have the potential to be a really good grass horse. He could step up, but has not yet shown quite enough to pick him in this difficult spot.

Cyber Ninja

A son of Arrogate, out of a Kitten’s Joy mare, this Bill Mott-trained runner has gotten off to a promising start to his turf career. 

In his second career start, he switched to the grass and came running late to just miss by a head while running one mile at Keeneland. Last out he easily handled maiden competition at Belmont Park when stretched out to 11-furlongs. 

He certainly has the potential to be a graded stakes horse on the lawn, but this Grade 1 affair will probably prove a bit much coming from maiden races.

Boppy O

This experienced son of Bolt d’Oro has a 3-of-10 overall for trainer Mark Casse. This will already be his eighth stakes try on the turf.

A graded stakes winner as a juvenile, he earned his first stakes victory of this year last time in the one-mile Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park. 

A consistent sort, he has enough tactical speed to be involved early on Saturday but may be troubled by both the distance and the class of competition.

Mendelssohns March

Placed first in his career debut at Fair Grounds, this son of Mendelssohn tried dirt a couple of times before returning to the grass in the last two for trainer Kenny McPeek. 

He was a troubled ninth when beaten less than five lengths in the American Turf two starts back, before finishing second in the Audubon Stakes. 

Both races were at Churchill Downs and won by Webslinger. You can do worse than this longshot, who has some early speed, but I like others better.

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How to Watch the Belmont Derby

  • What: Belmont Derby (Grade 1) 
  • Location: Belmont Park
  • Time: Saturday, July 8 - 5:49 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: Fox Sports
  • Purse: $750,000
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Brian Zipse

Horse Racing Betting Analyst

Horse Racing
Betting Picks
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Communications
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