Belmont Derby Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds (Belmont Park)

Belmont Derby Predictions

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Bolshoi Ballet (5/2)!

Belmont Derby Predictions, Post Position and Odds

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

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 PALAZZI 8/1
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T Gaffalione M Casse
2 BOLSHOI BALLET 5/2
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R Moore A O’Brien
3 SAFE CONDUCT 20/1
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J Lezcano P Serpe
4 SAINTHOOD 6/1
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J Rosario T Pletcher
5 DU JOUR 4/1
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F Prat W Mott
6 HARD LOVE 6/1
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M Franco J Thomas
7 TOKYO GOLD 8/1
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J Velazquez S Kobayashi
8 CELLIST 5/1
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J Leparoux G Arnold II
9 HIDDEN ENEMY 20/1
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L Saez S Asmussen

Led by Bolshoi Ballet, the beaten favorite in the English Derby, seven American runners, and two European runners will battle it out over 1 1/4 miles on the turf in Saturday’s $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational.

Prior to his disappointing finish in England’s top race for 3-year-olds, the Aiden O’Brien-trained Bolshoi Ballet had won his first two starts at 3 very impressively. Both coming at the 10-furlong distance and in his native Ireland, the son of Galileo easily scored in the Group 3 Ballysax in April and the Group 3 Derrinstown in May.

Of the Americans, Du Jour comes in the most accomplished. A winner of three straight, the son of Temple City just missed in his career debut which came on the turf. After two starts on the dirt, he returned to the turf and reeled off wins in a maiden special, an allowance, and the Grade 2 American Turf most recently.

Another American stakes winner in the field is the Rusty Arnold trained Cellist. The son of Big Blue Kitten scored his second turf win in four career starts last time with a front-running score in the Audubon Stakes six weeks ago at Churchill Downs.

The Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational is the first leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple series for 3-year-olds. The series will continue with the Grade 1, $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 7 and the $1 million Jockey Club Derby on September 18 back at Belmont.

Best Bets for the Belmont Derby

Here are my plays ($48 in total)

$2 Trifecta Key – Bolshoi Ballet over Hard Love, Tokyo Gold, Cellist and Hidden Enemy = $24

$2 Exacta Box – Bolshoi Ballet, Hard Love, Tokyo Gold and Hidden Enemy = $24

Belmont Derby Top Pick

Our Pick

Bolshoi Ballet (5/2)

Best Pick

Odds provided by TwinSpires

How to Watch the Belmont Derby

Belmont Derby Race Information
Race Belmont Derby (Grade 1)
Location Belmont Park
Time Saturday, July 10 — 5:12 pm Eastern time
How to Watch Fox Sports 1
Purse $1,000,000

Race Analysis

Bolshoi Ballet


Already a two-time group stakes winner this year, this son of Galileo seems to have a lot going for him. He is proven for class over in Europe and both of those stakes wins in Ireland came at the 10-furlong distance. That alone gives him a big edge on the Americans. Last time he failed as the favorite in the English Derby, but the ground was probably not to his liking that afternoon. Back at the 1 ¼ mile distance and running in a softer spot, he probably needs only to run back to his form in Ireland to win this.

Du Jour

He will be making his first start for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott after rattling off three straight impressive turf scores for his former trainer Bob Baffert. Most recently, he beat a deep field in the Grade 2 American Turf on the Kentucky Derby card at Churchill Downs. While he is the most accomplished American runner in the field, one thing he does not have is experience at the distance. He has never raced beyond 8 ½ furlongs before, so the 10 furlongs of the Belmont Derby could prove tough, especially against a field like this. I will try to beat him.

Cellist

The winner of the Audubon Stakes has done little wrong in his four-race career. Unraced at 2, the son of Big Blue Kitten has run on nothing but turf and has consistently improved with each start culminating with a nice stakes win last time at Churchill Downs. Things will only get tougher on Saturday, though, as he moves up in both class and distance. He controlled a slow pace last time, but he is a versatile runner who does not need the lead. He’s not my top pick, but can’t be dismissed either.

Sainthood

This Todd Pletcher trainee became a stakes winner last time in the taken off the turf Pennine Ridge and has actually yet to start on the grass. He does have turf throughout his pedigree, however, but still, this represents a tough place to make your turf debut. Having said that , he does have some things going for him, as he has proven himself on both dirt and synthetic surfaces, and as a Kentucky Derby runner, he has already been the 10-furlong trip. I am siding with others, but he is a dangerous wild card.

Hard Love

This one will be making his graded stakes debut on Saturday, but he has already proven himself a very capable turf runner. A son of Kitten’s Joy, he has won three times with one second in four career starts. Trained by Jonathan Thomas, who won this race a few years ago with Catholic Boy, he comes in off a nice allowance victory against a solid field of older runners last time at Belmont Park. He’ll be tested for class, but I believe he is a turf horse with a future and maybe the top threat to the top pick.

Tokyo Gold

The distance certainly will not be an issue for this Japanese-owned French-bred. A stakes winner in two different countries, the gray colt comes in off his best race yet when he proved much the best in the Group 2 Italian Derby in May. Twice a winner at 2, he seems to be rounding into his best form with three races under the belt now as a sophomore. He may lack the overall class of Bolshoi Ballet, but he should not be discounted having competed well in France before his win in Italy. He joins the top pick as a very strong European duo.

Palazzi

This son of Pioneer of the Nile has proven to be a pretty solid late runner since switching to the turf six starts back. Having said that, he will need to prove he can beat this class of horse. A stakes winner at Sam Houston, he has been unable to break through against graded company so far, and this could be his toughest test yet. With his consistent late run, he is certainly one of several in with a chance, but I do prefer others.

Safe Conduct

When the Pennine Ridge came off the turf, this son of Bodemeister did not fare too well in the slop. It was his stakes debut after winning against allowance rivals while running shorter on the Belmont turf. Despite winning twice in three tries on the grass, I find him hard to recommend against this bunch, although he does have enough early speed to be in the picture until the real running begins.

Hidden Enemy

Although he has only won once in eight-lifetime starts, this longshot has consistently run well and has competed against a number of good horses. A son of the great Galileo, he is bred to move up with the added ground he will get on Saturday. Bottled up with nowhere to go last time behind a slow pace, look for him to improve off that fourth-place effort in the Audubon. He is more likely to get up for a share than actually win, but all in all, he is a very interesting longshot.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

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.

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