2021 Belmont Stakes predictions, best bets: Expert makes picks for win, place, show, trifecta, superfecta


Essential Quality is back in the mix as the 2021 Belmont Stakes gets set to run on Saturday with a 6:49 p.m. ET post time. The entire month leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Essential Quality was the favorite to win the Run for the Roses — only to falter late and finish a fading fourth in Louisville. The colt was held back from the Preakness Stakes, but he now undergoing final work to enter what should be an entertaining and fast Belmont Stakes 2021.

Essential Quality is the 2-1 favorite in the latest 2021 Belmont Stakes odds. Preakness winner Rombauer, the only Triple Crown event winner in the Belmont field, is at 3-1, followed by Hot Rod Charlie at 7-2. With so much to consider before Saturday’s race, a little expert help can go a long way before making your 2021 Belmont Stakes picks.

The 153rd Belmont Stakes returns to its traditional spot as the final jewel of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing after a 2020 that saw the entire world upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Known as the Test of the Champion, the Belmont Stakes has identified each of the 13 Triple Crown-winning horses in history. Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018) all crossed the Belmont finish line to cement their claim as Triple Crown champions.

The Belmont Stakes is traditionally 1 1/2 miles in length, but that wasn’t always the case. It was initially run at 1 5/8, 1 1/4, 1 1/8, and 1-3/8 miles before settling on 1 1/2 miles — a full lap around Belmont Park — for the 1926 race. The only other time the Belmont Stakes has deviated from the full distance since was in 2020, when it was run at 1 1/8 miles and as the first leg of the Triple Crown instead of its customary final spot.

Given all the history, there’s a method to picking which horses to focus on for exacta, trifecta, and superfecta bets in a Belmont Stakes like this, and SportsLine’s Jody Demling knows what it is. He can help you make the best 2021 Belmont Stakes picks possible.

A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling enters the Belmont Stakes 2021 after a major heater in 2020: At one point last year, he picked the winners of six straight races: the Saudi Cup, Gotham Stakes, Rebel Stakes, Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes.

At last year’s Belmont, Demling said Tiz the Law was clearly the class of the field, and Barclay Tagg’s horse pulled away for a convincing 3 3/4-length victory. In 2018, he was all over Justify, jockey Mike Smith, and trainer Bob Baffert to make horse racing history at Belmont Park. The result: Justify became just the 13th Triple Crown winner ever, and anyone who followed Demling’s lead cashed in too.

Demling is at his best in the biggest horse races in the world. He has hit nine of the last 13 Derby-Oaks doubles at Churchill Downs. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both races all but four times in the last 13 years. He’s also called nine of the last 17 Preakness winners, keenly understanding when the Kentucky Derby winner was poised for victory or a massive upset. Anyone who has followed him is up huge. Now, he’s sharing all of his 2021 Belmont Stakes bets here.

Top 2021 Belmont Stakes expert picks

Here’s a refresher on how to bet the Belmont 2021 from SportsLine’s Jody Demling: 

Exacta: Pick the first- and second-place finishers in the correct order. A $2 exacta returned $19.60 at the 2020 Belmont Stakes with Tiz the Law and Dr. Post.

Trifecta: Pick the first-, second- and third-place finishers in the correct order. A $0.50 trifecta returned $49.75 at the 2020 Belmont Stakes with Tiz the Law, Dr. Post and Max Player.

Superfecta: Pick the first-, second-, third- and fourth-place finishers in the correct order. A $0.10 superfecta returned $55.65 at the 2020 Belmont Stakes with Tiz the Law, Dr. Post, Max Player and Pneumatic. 

While Demling has no quibbles with the favorite status of Essential Quality (2-1), he plans to hold tickets with Hot Rod Charlie (7-2), Rock Your World (9-2) and one of the biggest long shots in the entire field. You can see his picks here.

How to make 2021 Belmont Stakes bets

Demling has specific recommendations for exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagers so you can cover all your bases at the Belmont Stakes 2021. He’s sharing them over at SportsLine. 

So which horses do you take? And in what combinations? Visit SportsLine to get Demling’s picks for exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets for the 2021 Belmont Stakes.





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