Jun 8, 2018; Elmont, NY, USA; Justify trains on the main track in preparation for the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.

Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

REARDON: How I'm Betting on the Belmont Stakes

Mark Reardon
June 08, 2018 - 4:56 pm

Here we are once again on the brink of history—Justify is just one win away from becoming only the 13th horse to win the coveted Triple Crown. He’s the 24th horse to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but there’s a reason that before American Pharoah swept all three races in 2015 it had been 37 years since that had happened.
Between the time Affirmed won in 1978 and American Pharoah won in 2015, 13 horses won the first two legs but failed in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes. Justify’s trainer Bob Baffert trained three of them: Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002).
Do I think Justify can win Saturday afternoon in Elmont, New York? I do---but I also think he either wins the race or finishes completely out of the money. It’s a grueling mile and a half race and Justify had horses like Bravazzo also in this field bearing down on him near the end. The Preakness was a much shorter race, so given the distance and the fact that Justify didn’t race at two it’s perhaps an even more daunting task.  Justify is a perfect 5 for 5 this year, but all good things always come to an end. And once again to cash a ticket in this race that amounts to anything we’ll have to find some likely upset candidates.
I bet the # 8 horse Vino Rosso in the Derby—and he finished a well beaten 9th. He has three wins in six starts and is one of the two closers in this race. He needs a pretty fast pace to set up a late charge, but if that happens watch out. The other closer Blended Citizen also seems to be peaking at the right time and is must use in exotics.
So, here’s the bet:
I’m going to include Justify in my exotics but in case he runs a terrible race I won’t key him in my trifecta wager. Instead I’ll take the # 8 horse Vino Rosso and put him in in the Win, Place and Show position with 5 other horses—Justify (1) Bravazo (3) Hofburg (4) Tenfold (7) and finally Blended Citizen (10).  The bet looks like this:
8 w 1, 3, 4, 7, 10 w 1, 3, 4, 7, 10   $20 wager
1,3,4,7,10 w 8 w 1,3,4,7,10           $20 wager
1,3,4,7,10 w 1,3,4,7,10 with 8       $20 wager
Total cost $60
I’m looking forward to another historic day at Belmont Park, but will place my wagers based on the possibility of an upset.
Good luck!