Belmont Stakes (Belmont Park) Predictions & Betting Odds

Belmont Stakes

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Hot Rod Charlie (7/2)

Belmont Stakes Post Position and Odds

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

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
K Carmouche T Pletcher
L Saez B Cox
J Velazquez M McCarthy
F Prat D O’Neill
R Santana Jr H Mori
I Ortiz Jr T Pletcher
J Rosario J Sadler
M Franco T Pletcher

Best Bets for the Belmont Stakes

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$5 Trifecta part wheel – Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality over Hot Rod Charlie, Essential Quality, Known Agenda and Overtook over Hot Rod Charlie, Essential Quality, Known Agenda and Overtook = $60

Belmont Stakes Top Pick

Odds provided by TwinSpires. Click below to head to the sportsbook and place your bet!

Our Pick
Hot Rod Charlie (7/2)
Best Pick Odds provided by TwinSpires
Hot Rod Charlie (7/2) Bet Now

Once beaten Essential Quality will look to begin a new winning streak when he breaks from post 2 as the morning line favorite in an eight-horse field entered for Saturday’s Grade 1 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.

The champion juvenile of 2020, Essential Quality tasted defeat for the first time in six career starts when he finished a wide fourth as the Kentucky Derby favorite. Trained by Brad Cox, he is seeking to become the fourth son of Tapit to win the final and longest leg of the Triple Crown.

Immediately to his outside in post 3 is the morning line second choice Rombauer, who exits a sharp victory in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes three weeks ago at Pimlico. Before that, the son of Twirling Candy was third behind Essential Quality in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

Another who should receive plenty of betting support is the Doug O’Neill trained Hot Rod Charlie. A son of Oxbow, he finished second to Essential Quality in last fall’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. In his last two starts, he won the $1 million Louisiana Derby, before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.

Among the rest include the speedy Santa Anita Derby winner, Rock Your World, and the Todd Pletcher trained duo of Florida Derby winner, Known Agenda and the upset winner of the Wood Memorial, Bourbonic.

The Japanese runner France Go de Ina, and Overtook, the third of three from the Pletcher barn, complete the field for the 1 1/2-mile classic.

How to Watch the Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes Information
Race Belmont Stakes (Grade 1)
Location Belmont Park
Time Saturday, June 5 — 6:49 pm Eastern time
How to Watch NBC
Purse $1,500,000

Race Analysis

Essential Quality

The previously undefeated juvenile champion did not run a bad race at all when fourth as the Kentucky Derby favorite. Involved in some bumping out of the gate, he was athletic enough to gain a good position heading into the first turn, albeit a little wide. From there, he stayed wide and kept trying down the lane, beaten just over a length. Breeding wise, and the way he ran on in the Derby, make me believe he will be a horse who can handle the taxing distance of the Belmont.

He also has enough tactical speed to stay in touch early, which is generally an important factor in winning the Belmont. All in all, he is a deserving favorite, who has a big chance to win on Saturday.


This son of Twirling Candy burst into the national spotlight with an impressive rally that carried him to an easy victory in racing’s Middle Jewel. Previously only a stakes winner on the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields, it was either the sign of him putting things all together, or it was just his day to shine with a perfect race set up. There is probably a little truth to both, but I expect the 12 furlong Belmont Stakes will prove to be a much tougher place to rally.

Twice beaten by Essential Quality before, I do not expect him to run by him this time either.

Hot Rod Charlie

This one already has some very solid experience at a distance, having won the 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby with plenty left in the tank, before finishing a good third in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby. A grandson of Awesome Again, I have every reason to believe that he will run another good race, this time at the extended 1 1/2-mile trip. With good tactical speed, he should be able to sit just off the early leader and make his move on the turn.

Well-proven for class and not afraid to battle, I look for him to take the lead at the head of the Belmont lane. From there, another horse is going to have to run a big race to get by. He is the top pick.

Rock Your World

An impressive front running winner of the Santa Anita Derby, he was squeezed coming out of the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby. From there, he was never able to do much and finished well back. With a much smaller field in the Belmont, it is very likely that he will be able to get to the early lead and see how far he can carry his speed. The son of Candy Ride has talent, but after a tough experience in the Derby, I question his ability to hold off the challenges from horses with the class of Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality.

Known Agenda

The first of three from Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, this son of Curlin looked like a good thing down at Gulfstream Park this winter, dominating an allowance race before scoring in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Unfortunately drawn to the rail, he was shuffled back the first time past the stands in the Kentucky Derby and was never able to completely get in the race.

Still, he showed some interest to finish in the top half, despite a less than an ideal trip. One of the more likely horses to appreciate the 12-furlong trip, I believe he is a must use in the exotics, but I am not quite convinced that he has the speed and talent to win this race outright.


The horse that pulled off a shocking late run to upset the Wood Memorial could not validate the performance in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Bernardini saved ground after dropping to the inside, but he could only pass some tired horses down the Churchill Downs stretch, ultimately checking in 13th of 19. Perhaps off his win two starts back he deserves another chance, but of the three trained by Pletcher, this is clearly the one which I have the least faith in.


Of the three real longshots, this is the one that I like the best. Still lightly raced, he is bred to be a very good horse. In his last two, he got some experience in graded stakes racing and finished both with interest. His Peter Pan third-place finish four weeks ago was his first race after a three-month layoff. He looked good in the gallop out that afternoon, looking like a horse who wants more distance.

He certainly has the pedigree to run all day. I believe he can improve upon his return in the Peter Pan and work his way into the exotics at very nice odds.

France Go de Ina

The Japanese invader was not too far off the lead in the Preakness, but really had nothing left for the stretch drive. That was his first start in America, and only his second race of the year, so he is eligible to improve upon the effort. Having said that, I believe this is a tougher overall field than he saw at Pimlico.

The son of Will Take Charge could once again be involved early on Saturday, but I do not like his chances when the real running begins.

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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.

Email: [email protected]