Belmont Stakes Odds And Leading Contenders

Written By Fairway Jay on June 3, 2021 - Last Updated on July 25, 2021

The 2021 Belmont Stakes looks most competitive, with five leading contenders in the eight-horse field. Four of those runners have Grade I wins to their credit, and they range in odds from 2-1 to 6-1.

On paper, it appears that one of those leading favorites will win — Essential Quality, Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer, Hot Rod Charlie, Rock Your World or Known Agenda.

But a look at more recent Belmont Stakes history shows that over the past 15 years, there have been 10 horses to win the Belmont Stakes at post-time odds of 6-1 or greater. Eight of those winners had odds of 10-1 or greater.


1Bourbonic15-1Kendrick CarmoucheTodd Pletcher
2Essential Quality2-1Luis SaezBrad Cox
3Rombauer3-1John VelazquezMike McCarthy
4Hot Rod Charlie7-2Flavien PratDoug O'Neill
5France Go de Ina30-1Ricardo Santana Jr.Hideyuki Moriwill
6Known Agenda6-1Irad Ortiz Jr.Todd Pletcher
7Rock Your World9-2Joel RosarioJohn Sandler
8Overtook20-1Manny FrancoTodd Pletcher

The Belmont Stakes is known as “The Test of the Champion,” and the 1 1/2-mile race requires speed and energy, but in the end, horses with stamina and well-rationed energy distribution often decide the race.


According to Horse Racing Nation and its Super Screener methodology and horse evaluations, Essential Quality is the most reliable horse in the field and top board hitter. He’s working exceptionally well off his fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and has won five of six starts, with four graded stakes victories, including two Grade 1 races.

Rombauer has continued to improve since late last year. He finished third behind Essential Quality in the Grade II Blue Grass Stakes but showed stronger late-pace figures after a slower early pace to the race. Rombauer skipped the Kentucky Derby and then won the Preakness Stakes at 11-1 odds with Flavien Prat riding. But Prat goes back to Hot Rod Charlie for the Belmont, and three-time Belmont Stakes winner John Velazquez rides Rombauer.

Hot Rod Charlie has finished in the money in four straight graded stakes starts over four different racetracks, with a win in the Grade II Louisiana Derby. He finished a solid third in the Kentucky Derby and has been one of the most consistent colts on the Derby trail. Hot Rod Charlie possesses that ideal balanced energy distribution profile, but the question of stamina is a big one to answer.

Rock Your World was so impressive in winning the Grade I Santa Anita Derby over now-disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit. He got squeezed out of the gate in the Kentucky Derby, and the race was essentially over for him before it began. Rock Your World should go to the front in the Belmont Stakes and be pressed by Hot Rod Charlie and longshot France Go de Ina in what is projected to be a modest pace. Rock Your World is well-bred to get this added distance, and strong stretch rider Joel Rosario could claim his third Belmont Stakes victory.

Known Agenda won the Florida Derby with a strong turn of foot but got shuffled back from the rail in the Kentucky Derby. He moved well coming home to finish ninth, and he offers potentially the best value of the leading contenders. He’ll likely close a fair amount less than his opening odds of 6-1, and the son of champion Curlin is New York-based trainer Todd Pletcher’s top chance to win his fourth Belmont Stakes. Bred to go the added ground, Known Agenda will be ridden by leading Belmont jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. again as he tries for his third Belmont Stakes victory.

If you’re looking for a bigger long shot to add to your entertainment interest, then Todd Pletcher-trained Overlook is the play. He’s a grinder and well-bred top to bottom. He’ll be closing from the back and has been maturing and improving.


The 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park is Saturday, June 5. Post time is 6:49 p.m. EST, and national TV coverage of the races starts at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with NBC taking over Belmont Stakes coverage from 5:00-7:15 p.m.

Fans can also tune in online and watch the race streamed live on or TVG, where legal online betting on horse racing is available in more than 30 states.

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Fairway Jay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports and betting analyst and provides insight and information you can bet on to engage and assist the avid fan. His tee-to-green coverage and racing contributions have been provided to Churchill Downs, Twinspires, TVG, Forbes, TheLines, numberFire and PlayUSA platforms. Follow on Twitter: @FairwayJay

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