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The $1.5 million Belmont Stakes is the final leg of the American Triple Crown and is also the longest of the classic races at 1 1/2 miles in distance. The oft-proclaimed “Test of the Champion” is held at Belmont Park — which has the largest main track in North America — and is run three weeks after the Preakness Stakes.

The 155th edition of the Belmont Stakes takes place June 10 and headlines the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that features a total of 16 stakes events from Thursday, June 8 through Saturday. A field of nine was entered during Tuesday’s post-position draw, headlined by four-time Grade 1 winner Forte, Preakness winner National Treasure, and Grade 1 winners Tapit Trice and Angel of Empire.

Betting favorites have won four of the last five editions of the Belmont Stakes, including Mo Donegal last year. In this Belmont Stakes betting guide, we offer an overview of the field and examine which horses have the best chance at conquering the marathon race. 

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2023 Belmont Stakes Field: Post Positions, Odds, Jockeys, Trainers

Here is the list of the Belmont Stakes contenders set to start, including their post positions, jockeys, trainers, and morning-line odds.

🐎 Post PositionTrainerJockeyMorning Line Odds
1. Tapit Shoes Brad CoxJose Ortiz20-1
2. Tapit TriceTodd PletcherLuis Saez3-1
3. Arcangelo Jena AntonucciJavier Castellano8-1
4. National Treasure Bob BaffertJohn Velazquez5-1
5. Il Miracolo Antonio Sano Marcos Meneses30-1
6. ForteTodd PletcherIrad Ortiz, Jr. 5-2
7. Hit ShowBrad CoxManny Franco10-1
8. Angel of EmpireBrad CoxFlavien Prat7-2
9. Red Route One Steve AsmussenJoel Rosario15-1

Will the Wildfire Smoke Affect the Belmont Stakes?

The Belmont Stakes and the entire Saturday card are expected to take place as scheduled.

Racing and training was canceled at Belmont Park on Thursday, June 8 due to poor air quality brought on by the Canadian wildfires. Following significant improvement in air quality conditions throughout New York State, and in consultation with the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), the New York Racing Association, Inc. announced that live racing will resume at Belmont on Friday, June 9.

Moving forward, NYRA will continue to actively monitor air quality conditions and forecasts to ensure the environment remains safe for racing participants and fans over the weekend. Post time for the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes is 7:02 p.m. ET.

Who is the Belmont Stakes Favorite?

Reigning juvenile champion Forte was installed as the 5-to-2 favorite on the morning line for the 2023 Belmont Stakes. The son of Violence was also made the morning-line choice for the Kentucky Derby but was scratched by veterinarians the morning of the race due to a foot bruise.

Forte is the morning-line favorite to win the 2023 Belmont Stakes.
Belmont Stakes favorite Forte, working out at Churchill Downs on May 2 (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Forte was placed on a mandatory 14-day veterinary list after being scratched from the Kentucky Derby on May 6 and was not allowed to run in the Preakness Stakes two weeks later.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Forte will be making his first start since besting eventual Kentucky Derby winner Mage in the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 1. The dark bay colt will aim to give Pletcher his fifth career Belmont Stakes victory this Saturday and attempts to join 2021 Belmont winner Essential Quality as the only horses to capture both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and the final leg of the Triple Crown.

“He’s training really well. He obviously didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby but he hasn’t missed any training,” co-owner Mike Repole said of Forte. “We’re excited. We still think he’s the best 3-year-old in the crop and I think on Saturday he’s going to prove that.”



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Get to Know the Field for the 2023 Belmont Stakes

Even with Kentucky Derby hero Mage bypassing the final leg of the Triple Crown, this year’s Belmont Stakes lineup lacks for nothing in the way of quality with four Grade 1 winners in the field.

Preakness Stakes winner National Treasure aims to show that his victory three weeks ago was just a sign of things to come. Champion Forte looks to earn the classic victory most thought he was in line to earn before being scratched the morning of the Kentucky Derby – where he was the morning-line favorite – due to a foot bruise. Forte’s Grade 1-winning stablemate Tapit Trice aims to bounce back from a seventh-place effort in the Run for the Roses while Angel of Empire, the third-place finisher in Kentucky Derby, can earn a bit of redemption for his sire Classic Empire, who was scratched as the favorite out of the 2017 Belmont Stakes with a foot abscess.

Below, we analyze why each Belmont Stakes entrant can win and why each has questions that need to be answered if they hope to pass the “Test of the Champion” over the massive Belmont Park oval on June 10.

PP: 1 Tapit Shoes (Chestnut colt)

  • Sire: Tapit
  • Dam: Awesome Flower, by Flower Alley
  • Trainer: Brad Cox
  • Owners: Spendthrift Farm, Steve Landers Racing, Martin Schwartz et al.
  • Jockey: Jose Ortiz
  • Record and earnings: 5-1-1-1, $82,878
  • Morning Line Odds: 20-to-1
  • Last Race: Second in Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn.
  • Why You Should Bet Him: This son of Tapit is a half brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Cyberknife, so there is ample class in his bloodlines to pull from. Was beaten just a head by Red Route One in the Bath House Row Stakes on April 22, a race which ended up being a Plan B for the colt when an allowance race he was originally pointed for at Keeneland didn’t go.
  • Why You Should Save Your Money: By Brad Cox’s admission, this is a major jump in class for Tapit Shoes as the Belmont Stakes will mark his first foray into graded stakes company.
  • What They’re Saying: “He is a half to Cyberknife, he is by Tapit and I think he’s a horse who is moving forward. He does have to take a big jump forward. He’s a horse who is getting better mentally all the time and he did show the ability to be  involved early last time out, and that could be a benefit for the Belmont. We’re definitely putting him in the deep end of the pool to see if he can swim.” —  Trainer Brad Cox

PP: 2 Tapit Trice (Gray colt)

  • Sire: Tapit
  • Dam: Danzatrice, by Dunkirk
  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher
  • Owners: Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable
  • Jockey: Luis Saez
  • Record and earnings: 6-4-0-1, $883,650
  • Morning Line Odds: 3-to-1
  • Last Race: Seventh in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Why You Should Bet Him: On paper, Tapit Trice was born to thrive in Belmont Stakes. In addition to being by the leading stallion Tapit – who already has sired four Belmont winners – and being conditioned by his Hall of Fame trainer, he has the ability to settle into that rhythmical stride and click off fractions of 12’s as long as needed. Has again impressed in the mornings with a steady stream of solid workouts since his Kentucky Derby run.
  • Why You Should Save Your Money: His habit of walking out the gate was his undoing in the Kentucky Derby when he found himself at the back of the 18-horse field – too much to make up even with the hot pace. And contrary to popular belief, the Belmont favors horses with tactical speed rather than stone-cold closers as the pace going 1 1/2-miles is often a tepid one.
  • What They’re Saying: “He seems to really like the main track here. He hasn’t missed a beat since the Derby. We always thought the mile and a half would suit him. I think the main thing is making sure that he gets into that comfortable rhythm and doesn’t give himself too much to do early on. The Belmont is not necessarily a closer’s race, but it seems like he’s really coming up to it the right way.” — Trainer Todd Pletcher

PP: 3 Arcangelo (Gray colt)

  • Sire: Arrogate
  • Dam: Modeling, by Tapit
  • Trainer: Jena Antonucci
  • Owner: Blue Rose Farm
  • Jockey: Javier Castellano
  • Record and earnings: 4-2-1-0, $$167,400
  • Morning Line Odds: 8-to-1
  • Last Race: Won the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park by a head.
  • Why You Should Bet Him: Arcangelo successfully stretched out to 1 1/8-miles in the Peter Pan Stakes and has progressed since beginning the year with a fourth-place run at Gulfstream on Jan. 14 where he finished  behind eventual Grade 2 Louisiana Derby-winner Kingsbarns.
  • Why You Should Save Your Money: Arcangelo will be trying two turns for the first time in the Belmont Stakes and is among the more inexperienced members of the field.
  • What They’re Saying: “It’s not a secret he hasn’t gone two turns yet and that’s the obvious conversation. They’re all special, and not the be cliché, but my job is to stay out of his way. It’s special – if it’s 10 in the gate or 11 in the gate of that entire foal crop, that’s a very small percentage. So, I definitely don’t lose sight of that and I’m very blessed to have this opportunity and for the team to have this opportunity.” — Trainer Jena Antonucci

PP: 4 National Treasure (Bay colt)

  • Sire: Quality Road
  • Dam: Treasure, by Medaglia d’Oro
  • Trainer: Bob Baffert
  • Owners: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, et al. 
  • Jockey:  John Velazquez 
  • Record and earnings: 6-2–1-2, $1,335,000
  • Morning Line Odds: 5-to-1
  • Last Race: Won the Preakness Stakes by a head.
  • Why You Should Bet Him: Trainer Bob Baffert is known for drilling fitness into his horses and National Treasure looks to have bounced out of his Preakness win with energy to spare. 
  • Why You Should Save Your Money: National Treasure was able to get away with a pedestrian pace in the Preakness, which marked his first graded win. Even if he gets his things his own way in the Belmont, his bloodlines say he might not want to go that far.
  • What They’re Saying: “I think everybody is going to be thinking about the same thing, that favorable pace that we had in the Preakness. So, I’m anticipating the pace is going to start to change different things. But, so the one thing I want to do with my horse is I want to get him into the nice rhythm, whatever he is, whether he’s close to the lead or coming from behind.” — Jockey John Velazquez

PP: 5 Il Miracolo (Chestnut colt)

  • Sire: Gun Runner
  • Dam: Tapit’s World, by Tapit
  • Trainer: Antonio Sano
  • Owner: Alexandres, LLC
  • Jockey: Marcos Meneses
  • Record and earnings: 10-2-3-0, $103,125
  • Morning Line Odds: 30-to-1
  • Last Race: Won an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park on May 11.
  • Why You Should Bet Him: Family, family, and more family. Gun Runner, the 2017 Horse of the Year, continues to be one of the top stallions in North America and Tapit’s influence on Belmont Stakes winners has been record-setting.
  • Why You Should Save Your Money: Il Miracolo has yet to win beyond one mile and he has been no threat in his four prior tries against graded stakes company, including a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.
  • What They’re Saying:  “He won his last race going a mile at Gulfstream. He showed good speed. It’s a very strong race and the horse is a little green right now, but I hope he can run well and run a strong race.” — Trainer Antonio Sano

PP: 6 Forte (Dark bay colt)

  • Sire: Violence
  • Dam: Queen Caroline, by Blame
  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher
  • Owner: Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable
  • Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr. 
  • Record and earnings: 7-6-0-0, $2,409,830
  • Morning Line Odds: 5-to-2
  • Last Race: Won Grade 1 Florida Derby by one length
  • Why You Should Bet Him: It’s been a long, strange trip for Forte the last several weeks as he was scratched as the favorite the morning off the Kentucky Derby due to a foot bruise, then was not allowed to race in the Preakness Stakes due to being placed on the vet’s list by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Everything that has transpired in his absence, however, has flattered him as he defeated Kentucky Derby winner Mage in both the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby and toppled Preakness winner National Treasure last fall when taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). May still be the best of his division.  
  • Why You Should Save Your Money: Since he was scratched out of the Kentucky Derby, Forte hasn’t raced in 10 weeks since his Florida Derby victory – although he was fully cranked up fitness win to start in the first leg of the Triple Crown. That layoff combined with a pedigree that makes one question if he’ll stay the 12 furlongs are his biggest red flags heading into the Belmont Stakes. 
  • What They’re Saying: “It seems like he’s maintained his fitness level. I feel bad for the connections and for the horse not getting the opportunity to run in the Derby, but the timing was bad and we just have to turn the page and move on. I’m just thankful the horse is doing great and we’re looking forward to running in the Belmont.” — Trainer Todd Pletcher

PP: 7 Hit Show (Gray colt)

  • Sire: Candy Ride (ARG)
  • Dam: Actress, by Tapit
  • Trainer: Brad Cox
  • Owners: Gary and Mary West
  • Jockey: Manny Franco
  • Record and earnings: 6-3-1-0, $494,375
  • Morning Line Odds: 10-to-1
  • Last Race: Fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Why You Should Bet Him: Hit Show has the Tapit influence that is so key to Belmont Stakes success and he put in thoroughly respectful run to stay on for fifth in the Kentucky Derby after rating just off that first flight of horses setting a hot pace.
  • Why You Should Save Your Money: Still may be a cut below the top horses in his class.
  • What They’re Saying: “He had a big run in the Derby, he got a good trip and stayed pretty steady around there. I was hoping he would win it obviously, but he did stay on and finished fifth. He’s trained really well. Very happy with how he looks physically, he carries great flesh.” —  Trainer Brad Cox

PP: 8 Angel of Empire (Bay colt)

  • Sire: Classic Empire
  • Dam: Armony’s Angel, by To Honor and Serve
  • Trainer: Brad Cox
  • Owner: Albaugh Family Stables
  • Jockey: Flavien Prat
  • Record and earnings: 7-4-1-1, $1,369,375
  • Morning Line Odds: 7-to-2
  • Last Race: Third in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Why You Should Bet Him: Angel of Empire doesn’t take a back seat to many in his division in terms of class. He followed up his Risen Star Stakes (G2) victory with an impressive open-length win in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and came running late to get up for third in the Kentucky Derby, beaten just a half length for place money. Will add blinkers in the Belmont Stakes. 
  • Why You Should Save Your Money: He typically closes from well off the pace – as he did in the Kentucky Derby – but he’ll likely need to be more involved early in the Belmont Stakes since he won’t get the wicked pace scenario that materialized in the Run for the Roses. 
  • What They’re Saying: “I kind of thought all winter and into the spring, that he was a horse that would get better with distance. He finished up well (in the Kentucky Derby) and he galloped out one even terms with the winner. I thought he would be a touch more involved earlier in the race, but they did go so quick. He will probably be somewhat closer in the Belmont because….they’re probably not going 45 and change.” — Trainer Brad Cox

PP: 9 Red Route One (Chestnut colt)

  • Sire: Gun Runner
  • Dam: Red House, by Tapit
  • Trainer: Steve Asmussen
  • Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds
  • Jockey: Joel Rosario
  • Record and earnings: 10-2-2-1, $732,525
  • Morning Line Odds: 15-to-1
  • Last Race: Fourth in the Preakness Stakes
  • Why You Should Bet Him: The Belmont’s 1 1/2-miles distance is an unforgiving one for horses with stamina shortcomings in their pedigree and Red Route One’s bloodlines and running style suggest 12 furlongs is well within his scope .
  • Why You Should Save Your Money: Red Route One is now 0-for-7 against graded stakes company and he wasn’t anywhere close to threatening the top three in the Preakness Stakes.
  • What They’re Saying: “You’re not guaranteed to get pace in the Belmont. You win races because of pace, and you benefit from it periodically. And then other times you don’t. He’s kept very good company his whole career and was probably beaten (4 ¾) lengths in the Preakness in a race I don’t think set up ideally for him. Does he beat them under different circumstances? Who knows? But I do like the opportunity to run him a mile and a half.” – Trainer Steve Asmussen

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Belmont Stakes History

The most celebrated Belmont Stakes winners are the 13 Triple Crown winners: 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). Last year’s Belmont Stakes saw Mo Donegal fend off an inside rally from stablemate Nest to win the final leg of the Triple Crown by three lengths in a final time of 2:28.28 over the fast main track. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Secretariat‘s historic 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, a masterclass of a performance that completed his sweep of the Triple Crown. Secretariat’s final time of 2:24 for the 12 furlongs is still two seconds faster than any Belmont winner has produced since.

“What’s so amazing is when I pulled him up, he wasn’t breathing too hard,” Ron Turcotte, jockey of Secretariat, recalled about that legendary run. “And when I took my saddle off of him, he wasn’t even wet. He didn’t even break a sweat after what he had just did. It was just amazing.”

Favorites in the Belmont Stakes

Of the 154 editions of the Belmont Stakes, 66 have been won by the betting favorite (42.86 percent).

Highest Priced/Lowest Priced Belmont Stakes Winners

Highest: Sarava $142.50 (2002)

Lowest: Count Fleet $2.10 (1943)

Winning Post Positions (Since 1905)

1 – (24) 2 – (13) 4 – (10) 6 – (8) 8 – (7) 10 – (1) 12 – (1) 3 – (15) 5 – (15) 7 – (14) 9 – (4) 11 – (3) 13 – (1)

Stats courtesy of the New York Racing Association

About the Author
Alicia Hughes

Alicia Hughes

Senior Writer
Alicia Hughes is a senior writer and award-winning horse racing journalist at Gaming Today. She previously served as a digital content editor for TVG and racing editor for The Blood-Horse following 12 years at the Lexington Herald-Leader. A graduate of Pace University in New York and a diehard New Jersey Devils fan, Hughes is a past president of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association.

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