Essential Quality is the 2-1 morning-line favorite to win the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday on NBC. Essential Quality was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby but finished fourth. Preakness winner Rombauer is the second choice on the morning line at odds of 3-1. A field of eight will go to the post at approximately 6:49 p.m. Eastern Time. Let’s look at Saturday’s Belmont Stakes odds and picks.
2021 Belmont Stakes Odds
Post position, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Morning-line odds
1. Bourbonic, Todd Pletcher, Kendrick Carmouche, 15-1
2. Essential Quality, Brad Cox, Luis Saez, 2-1
3. Rombauer, Michael McCarthy, John Velazquez, 3-1
4. Hot Rod Charlie, Doug O’Neill, Flavien Prat, 7-2
5. France Go de Ina, Hideyuki Mori, Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1
6. Known Agenda, Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz Jr., 6-1
7. Rock Your World, John Sadler, Joel Rosario, 9-2
8. Overtook, Todd Pletcher, Manny Franco, 20-1
Essential Quality will go from the No. 2 post for trainer Brad Cox. The horse has been training well since the Derby and Cox said Essential Quality should like the mile and a half distance. “(Jockey Luis Saez) has always had a lot of confidence in him that distance would never really be an issue with him,” Cox said to the media, “Tapit has had three winners of the Belmont, so we’re definitely hopeful (Essential Quality) can add to Tapit’s legacy.”
Rombauer is the second choice in the Belmont and will look to become the first horse to win the Preakness and Belmont since Afleet Alex in 2005 except for Triple Crown winners American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. “He's a well put-together horse. He's well balanced,” said trainer Michael McCarthy to the media “He's not overly big. His mechanics are great and he's a horse that when you lead him over there, he has his mind on running. I think his best weapon is what's in between his ears.”
Hot Rod Charlie is the third choice in the betting at odds of 7-2. He was third behind Medina Spirit in the Derby and trainer Doug O’Neill said the horse should handle the distance of the Belmont fine. “With the distance, I think it will suit him well,” O'Neill said to the media, “He's won going 1 3/16 in the Louisiana Derby. I think his gate speed and versatility will be an asset as well.”
Rock Your World is next in the betting odds at 9-2. He won this first three starts but then finished a disappointing 17th in the Kentucky Derby. Trainer John Sadler said to the media that the extra distance should help Rock Your World. “We always thought the longer the better for him,” Sadler said. “When we went from six [furlongs] to a mile and a mile and an eighth we thought 'oh boy.' Then we ran in the Derby and obviously we got eliminated at the start. He's come back and done real well since the Derby. We think he can run a long way.”
The other horse listed at single-digit odds is Known Agenda at odds of 6-1. Trainer Todd Pletcher will be looking to win the Belmont for the fourth time. Known Agenda was ninth in the Derby, but Pletcher said the horse has come back strong. “I'm happy with him. His energy level has been super,” Pletcher said to the media, “I like the way he's handled the main track here so I'm looking forward to it.”
Belmont Stakes Picks
There are five contenders and three longshots in this year’s Belmont Stakes. None of the three longshots hold a lot of appeal, so it is all about the contenders. You could make a case for any of the five contenders, but I think there is a difference between Essential Quality and the other four horses. He was thought to be the sure winner of the Kentucky Derby but a bad trip hurt his chances and he finished fourth. I think he will redeem himself in this race and prove his worth, so I will make Essential Quality my top pick. For an exacta box, I will go with Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie.
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