2021 Belmont Stakes Betting & Odds

The Belmont Stakes is a Grade I thoroughbred stakes race and one of the most important horse races in the entire world. It’s the third and final race in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and has proved to be a challenging test.

The wide turns and long homestretch make the track one of the most recognizable and revered in all of horse racing. Because of the race’s presence as the third leg of the Triple Crown, nearly every legendary horse in the sport has raced at Belmont Park.

Excitingly, Virginians now have several different ways to bet on the Belmont Stakes with horse racing betting apps right in their home state. Get prepped on how to bet on the 2021 Belmont Stakes in Virginia using the information on our page below.

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2020 Belmont Stakes recap

The 152nd edition of the Belmont Stakes was unlike any other version of the race in its venerable history. Race officials enacted numerous changes to the event to keep spectators and participants safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the biggest changes was a ban on in-person spectators at the race. Consequently, the 2020 Belmont Stakes did not host any onsite betting of any kind. Race officials also moved the event to a week later than its traditional time. The 162nd Belmont Stakes ran on the third Saturday in June 2020, rather than the second.

The timing of the race was interesting because it was the first major sporting event after the COVID-19 shutdown began in earnest in New York. It was also the first of the Triple Crown races due to lengthy postponements from officials from the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

The fact that it was the first race in the pinnacle series of horse racing led race officials to make a couple of other notable changes. The first change was to shorten the race from its traditional mile-and-a-half to a mile-and-an-eighth. The shorter race was deemed a fairer test of the horses in the field since they did not have the seasoning of the first two events under their belts.

The purse for the shortened race was also less than in previous years. The high finishers of the event divided up $1 million as the prize, which was half a million dollars less than the 2019 Belmont.

When race officials announced the plans on how they would proceed, they expected to have 16 entrants in the field. However, due to the timing and some key injuries, only 10 horses ultimately ran the 152nd Belmont Stakes.

Of those 10, Tiz the Law stood above the rest of the competition as the Belmont Stake odds on favorite. His experience and racing history suggested that he was a cut above the field. He didn’t disappoint, winning by nearly four lengths over second-place finisher Dr. Post. By default, Tiz the Law set the track record for one-and-one-eighth miles with his time of 1:46.53.

2020 Belmont Stakes Odds

Post PositionHorseJockeyCurrent Odds
1Tap It to WinJohn Velasquez6-1
2Sole VolanteLuca Panici9-2
3Max PlayerJoel Rosario15-1
4ModernistJunior Alvarado15-1
5Farmington RoadJavier Castellano15-1
6Fore LeftJose Ortiz30-1
7Jungle RunnerReylu Gutierrez50-1
8Tiz the LawManny Franco6-5
9Dr. PostIrad Ortiz Jr.5-1
10PneumaticRicardo Santana Jr.8-1
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How to bet on the Belmont Stakes

For a state with so few options for legal gambling, Virginia is blessed when it comes to betting on horse racing. There are three different methods that Virginians have at their disposal for betting on the Belmont Stakes. Let’s start off by looking at the Belmont Stakes betting sites available in Virginia.

Horse racing betting apps

The first way to bet on the Belmont Stakes is through one of the horse betting apps that accepts action from residents and visitors to Virginia. There are, in fact, four different horse betting apps that will take wagers through your smartphone. It’s not even necessary to leave your house to place a bet.

For Virginians, the popular choice is TVG. None of the other three sites can offer the same level of value and experience that the TVG Network has for loyal clients. TVG has years of experience in analyzing and promoting horse betting. Company experts have been doing so around the clock since the company’s inception in 1999.

TVG is more than just a horse betting site as well. The site is a full-service network with coverage of all things horse betting 24 hours a day. It’s unlikely you will find a more expert group of commentators and analysts for horse betting than you will at TVG.

Betting at Colonial Downs

Some bettors want a more visceral experience than a betting app can offer. The best option for that is a trip to the lone racetrack in Virginia that still offers live racing regularly.

Colonial Downs offers live flat racing in the summertime at its facility in New Kent. The track is still getting back onto its feet with live racing, but the number of dates to see and bet a live horse race in Virginia is on the rise.

Furthermore, you can also make use of the numerous historical horse race machines located at Colonial Downs. These devices allow you to make bets on races long past, and function not unlike a slot machine.

Off-track betting

If traveling to Colonial Downs is untenable, there are still some other opportunities to make bets on the Belmont in the flesh in Virginia. Virginia is home to four different off-track betting (OTB) locations.

If you’ve never been to an OTB, they are a bar and grill that can help you with your horse betting. They offer simulcast racing, betting, and the opportunity to consume a few adult beverages.

Visiting an OTB might also be a good idea if you find the notion of betting on the ponies intimidating and want some social support. Like most sports bars, there will always be plenty of people around to encourage you – especially if you buy them a beer.

Here are the four OTBs in Virginia:

  • Breakers Sports Grille – 9127 W Broad St, Henrico
  • Buckets Bar and Grill – 228 N Battlefield Blvd, Chesapeake
  • Ponies and Pints – 110 N 18th St, Richmond
  • The Windmill OTB Sports Grill – 2360 Virginia Ave, Collinsville

Types of bets for the Belmont Stakes

Once the next Belmont Stakes rolls around, you’ll find that you have a host of options for betting on the race.

A quick scan of all the different types of bets that you can find at Colonial Downs or one of Virginia’s OTBs might seem overwhelming. However, as you begin betting, remember two facts about betting on the ponies:

  1. You can bet however you like. If you can dream up a bet or a combination of bets, there will be someone who is more than happy to host it and give you action.
  2. For the most part, the only horses that matter in a race are the ones who finish in the top three spots. With one exception, bets do not pay out for horses outside of that list.

There are many different types of horse bets, but most of them break down into one of two categories. Horse bettors spend most of their time making either straight bets or exotic bets.

Straight bets

Straight bets focus on a single horse’s performance. There are no other factors that affect a straight bet outside of where the horse finishes his or her race. These bets, along with being called straight, are also the simplest horse wagers.

  • A win bet is a bet that the horse will win. There are no exceptions or nuances to this bet. It’s a win and get paid, or don’t, and don’t.
  • A place bet is a bet that the horse will finish in at least second place. A horse places if he or she wins outright, too.
  • A show bet is a bet that the horse will make the top three. Where he or she ends up is irrelevant as long as it’s one of the top spots.

Because these bets are not necessarily mutually exclusive to one another, it is both possible and common to wager more than one or all of these bets on the same horse. For instance, a win/place bet is a wager that would pay both bets if your horse managed to win, while a place/show bet would pay both if the horse could come in first or second.

A win/place/show bet, therefore, is a wager that your horse will satisfy the conditions of all three bets. He can only do so if he wins outright, but a horse that is a clear favorite in his or her race might be a pretty good bet to sweep the categories.

Exotic bets

The good news about exotic bets is that they’re not that exotic. They just mean that the bettor is betting on more than one horse at a time.

Since horse races always have three horses that pay off, it makes sense that bettors would want to bet on all three. Thus, there are several exotic bets that you can employ to bet on the Belmont, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, or whatever other race you want to wager in Virginia.

The simplest of the exotics is the exacta bet. An exacta bet has the bettor choose which two horses will win and place in the race. The order that the bettor chooses is vitally important, as the bet only pays if the player is exactly correct.

A trifecta is structurally identical to an exacta bet. However, as you may have guessed, you are now picking the top three horses to finish.

Finally, a superfecta demands that you pick the top four finishers in the race. This bet is the only one in all of the horse betting that cares about the fourth-place finisher.

Modifiers

You might be feeling constrained by these bets’ requirements. Specifically, it may seem daunting to select which horses will finish in the top positions and which order they’ll finish.

Well, there’s nothing that can be done about picking the top horses to finish. After all, that’s the essence of horse betting. However, there are some ways to mitigate or eliminate the need to pick the exact order of the finish every time.

Box

A box bet allows you to account for the different combinations that multiple horses can cross the finish line. In other words, you can use a box bet on your exacta, trifectas, and superfectas to make the order that your chosen horses finish irrelevant. Understanding modifiers is easier with examples, so consider the following:

You want to make a trifecta wager on three horses. Let’s call them Horse #1, Horse #4, and Horse #5.

So, if you bet a normal trifecta, you might tell the clerk to give you 4-1-5 as a trifecta. Your bet, therefore, requires the following conditions to pay off:

  • Horse #4 – Win
  • Horse #1 – Place
  • Horse #5 – Show

If you got the three horses right but #5 managed to nose by #1 to slip into the place spot, you’d lose your bet, even though you had the three top horses correctly selected. However, if you had bet 4-1-5 as a trifecta box, you’d be good to go. Any combination of those three horses crossing the finish line first would result in a win for you.

Now, the horse betting app, racetrack, or OTB will charge you as if you’d made a separate trifecta for every possible combination that your chosen horses could finish. So, in our example above, we might’ve paid $2 for the straight trifecta bet, because that’s the only combination that would work for us. However, in the box bet, we have to pay six times as much, because there are six different ways three horses can cross the finish line.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to pay a bit more, you can include more than three horses in your trifecta wager if it’s a box. So, if you’re pretty sure that you have the vanguard of the race narrowed down to four horses, for instance, you don’t necessarily have to choose which of the four will get those top three spots.

Be aware that the price will jump considerably as you add more possibilities to it. The cost of getting a surer bet can rapidly become more than the win can promise, so be careful.

Finally, you may see a mention on sites, at the track, or in OTBs about a quinella bet. A quinella is just another name for an exacta box, but either term is probably okay to use if you want to make that wager.

Wheels and keys

All of the previous types of bets on horse racing have demanded that you specifically identify the horses you think will finish the race first. However, some races are simply not as clear-cut, and you might want to keep your options open.

Enter the wheel bet. A wheel bet allows you to predict that any horse in the race can finish in a particular spot. In fact, in some cases, you can bet that somebody will finish, and leave it at that.

Wheel bets work particularly well if you want to increase your payout where there are sure things. For instance, let’s say that you’ve identified a race in which one horse is likely to win, and another horse is likely to place.

One of the other horses in the race will have to show, but you don’t have any idea which one it will be. On the one hand, you could just make an exacta bet on the two sure bets and be done with it.

However, you could also choose to make a trifecta wheel bet, and let that third spot be decided by fate. This choice is another way to work against the exotic bet requirement regarding the order of the finish.

Once again, fleshing out the example is probably the best way to show what’s happening. So, let’s say that an upcoming race has the following field:

  • Horse #1 1:1
  • Horse #2 9:1
  • Horse #3 25:1
  • Horse #4 8:1
  • Horse #5 12:1
  • Horse #6 1:4
  • Horse #7 95:1
  • Horse #8 45:1

This field is a two-horse race between horse #1 and horse #6. The oddsmakers have all but stated explicitly that horse #6 will win, and horse #1 will place.

On the other hand, there are some big numbers on the board in terms of the odds. Since we’re not going to get paid very much for 6 to win and 1 to place, it would be nice to take a shot at a bigger payout on the show bet.

So … we bet “6-1-all” for our trifecta. We want 6 to win, 1 to place, and somebody to show. However, by betting all, we’ve opened the door to the possibility that horse #7 (95:1) or horse #8 (45:1) has a career-defining race and makes it into third place. If either one can do so, our trifecta payout will be greatly increased in comparison to a show from horse #2 (9:1) or horse #4 (8:1).

Betting on the entire field is known as a full wheel bet. You can also make a partial wheel bet if you want to limit your exposure.

So, for instance, let’s say that in the previous example, there’s no way that horse #7 is going to get close to the top three. So, you can exclude him from your wheel by telling the clerk or the site that your wheel bet covers the rest of the field.

You can also do exotic bets where the only horse that you definitively identify is your pick for the winner. Some or all of the other horses in the race can finish however they like, so long as your pick wins.

This type of bet is called a key bet since you’re designating one horse as the key to your wager. These bets are a type of wheel bet, so they are part of this section. However, some racetracks and betting facilities might identify key bets separately from wheels, so it’s important to be aware of the lingo.

Most notable wins in Belmont Stakes history

The Belmont Stakes is the oldest race in the Triple Crown and one of the oldest annual horse races in the US. So, it’s no surprise that there have been many notable wins and races in the 150+ years.

Ask the average sports fan about the Belmont, and the first name that will likely pop up is Secretariat. The Triple Crown winner’s performance at Belmont Park in 1973 remains legendary to this day. Some have called it one of the greatest sports performances of all time, and the fact that it occurred during a horse race makes it all the more impressive.

What Secretariat accomplished still resonates to this day. His 2:24 flat time at the most common Belmont length, a mile and a half, remains the record on the track.

His margin of victory is even more stunning. He outran the rest of the field, which included archrival Sham, by an astonishing 31 lengths. Secretariat’s time record might fall one day, but his margin of victory likely never will.

Of course, as the last leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes have served host to Secretariat and the twelve other horses to have achieved that highest of goals in horse racing. In fact, should Tiz the Law manage to win the remaining races, it would be the first time in more than a century that a Triple Crown was awarded outside of Belmont.

Of course, along with the 13 Triple Crown wins, Belmont has also played host to some great disappointments. 23 horses have come to Belmont Park with hopes of clinching the Triple Crown, only to fall short.

One of those near-misses doubled as the race with the biggest longshot win in Belmont Stakes history.

The Road to the Belmont Stakes

Running a horse in the Belmont Stakes is easier than you might think. The race is explicitly for top three-year-old Thoroughbreds.

All horses who race for the Triple Crown must be nominated and accepted by the Triple Crown organization. To be accepted, the horse’s team must submit what amounts to the horse’s resume and a nominal fee.

Also, a team wishing to enter a horse in the Belmont Stakes must pay a supplemental fee on top of the Triple Crown membership. Ultimately, however, these fees are not significant expenditures for major horse owners and/or trainers.

The Belmont Stakes has a decidedly more open process for gaining access to the race than its fellow Triple Crown race, the Kentucky Derby. Unlike the Kentucky race, it’s usually just a matter of paying the money before the due date.

History of the Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes horserace extends its history back to 1867. The race, which ran at the Jerome Park Racetrack in the Bronx, was the brainchild of stock market speculator Leonard Jerome and his financial backer, August Belmont Sr.

The race moved to two more venues in the succeeding years before finally settling at the newly-built Belmont Park in 1905. It has remained at that location in Elmont, on Long Island, ever since.

Aside from a two-year layoff due to the Hart-Agnew Law in 1911 and 1912, the Belmont Stakes has run continuously every year since then.

All three Triple Crown venues maintain a tradition of draping a blanket of flowers over the withers of the year’s winner. At the Belmont, the blanket is a 40-pound arrangement of Colombian white carnations. Thus, the Belmont is sometimes called the “Run for the Carnations.

Winners also receive the August Belmont Trophy for the year of their championship. The trophy is an ornate silver bowl commissioned in 1896 by August Belmont Jr. as a commemoration of his father. While winners have to give back the trophy at the end of the year, they also get a smaller silver miniature to keep permanently.

As is the case at other Triple Crown events, the winners’ list is dominated by stallions. However, three fillies have won the Belmont in the past. Its inaugural race in 1867 was won by Ruthless, a filly.

Belmont Stakes FAQ

When are the Belmont Stakes in 2021?

The 2021 Belmont Stakes will occur on June 5, 2021.

How many horses run in the race?

Generally speaking, the Belmont tops out at 12 horses in the starting gate. However, that number is often lower because of the length of the race and the need to save some horses from burning themselves out.

How much does the winner of the Belmont Stakes get?

The purse for the Belmont Stakes has been $1.5 million in recent times. However, with the slowdown from COVID-19, winner Tiz the Law only took home $535,000 out a $1 million purse for his efforts.

How long does the Belmont Stakes last?

Since the Belmont is usually the longest of the three big races in the US, it usually takes the longest to run. Common finish times for winners at a mile-and-a-half have typically been around 2 minutes, 30 seconds. However, Tiz the Law’s shorter race only took 1:46.53.

Who was the fastest horse to win the Belmont Stakes?

Based upon the time for the distance and his margin of victory, Secretariat remains the fastest horse to win the Belmont Stakes. He still holds the record for the distance and margin of victory nearly 50 years after the fact.