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Justify the betting favorite, but far from a sure thing to win Belmont Stakes


Justify’s odds to win the Belmont Stakes as well as the other contenders in the “Run for the Carnations”

Justify the betting favorite, but far from a sure thing to win Belmont Stakes | News Article by

The Belmont Stakes can go one of two ways: a respected by less-followed Triple Crown event, which may or may not have a deep field of top three-year-olds. Or, like the upcoming June 9 race, it will have the eyes of the sporting world locked on it as an elite contender makes a run at horse racing’s most coveted title: the Triple Crown.

Luckily, for horse racing betting, we get the latter when Justify tries to become just the second Triple Crown champion since Affirmed in 1978 with wins in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and potentially the Belmont.

Here’s a look at Justify’s odds to win the Belmont Stakes as well as the other contenders in the “Run for the Carnations”.

Justify (-125)
At first glance, the odds seem short for this horse which blew away the competition at the Kentucky Derby and battled for a victory at the Preakness. Justify, while dominant, does have some question marks heading into the Belmont Stakes.

The first two races of the Triple Crown were raced in terrible conditions, with wet tracks at both the Derby and Preakness and thick fog in the previous race. Justify is no stranger to the slop and has thrived on it, but we’ve yet to see him tested on a clean fast track.

There are some injury concerns around Bob Baffert’s prize pupil as well. He won the Preakness despite a cracked hoof and doesn’t have much time to heal up before heading to New York for the June 9 race.

This is a longer race than the previous two Triple Crown events, running 1 ½ miles compared to the 1 1/4 mile in the Kentucky Derby and 1 3/16 mile run in the Preakness. Justify did slow a bit coming out of the final turn and had to really dig in to edge a series of trailing horses to get the win.

Hofburg (+300)
Holfburg finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby and was touted as a live long shot at Churchill Downs after placing second at the Florida Derby back in late March. Trainer Bill Mott won the 2010 Belmont Stakes and decided to rest his horse for a shot at the longer distance.

Despite a lack of experience, the jump to 1 ½ miles is in his blood, with sire Tapit fathering three past Belmont champions: Tapwrit in 2017, Creator in 2016, and Tonalist in 2014. That gap in Belmont wins for Tapit’s offspring came courtesy of none other than Triple Crown champ American Pharoah in 2015.

Bravazo (+500)
Bravazo finished in second place to Justify in the Preakness Stakes, making a very late push to edge a packed field at the wire and just finishing behind the Triple Crown contender. He ran sixth at the Kentucky Derby and has shown in six of his 10 career races.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is very excited about his horse’s performance at the Preakness and demeanor heading into the Belmont. Jockey Luis Saez should also get a lot of the credit, having positioned Bravazo for a strong stretch run on the outside in what were dismal racing conditions.

Tenfold (+1,200)
There’s a significant jump in pricing between the three race favorites and this Steven M. Asmussen horse, which placed third in the Preakness Stakes. Tenfold was right in the mix of things for a thrilling finish in that race, and is a tempting play at these longer odds.

He’s been lightly raced and followed two wins with a fifth-place showing in the Arkansas Derby before finishing third at Pimlico. He had the longest odds on the board for the Preakness Stakes, at 26-to-1, so perhaps oddsmakers are grading this horse completely wrong.

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