2020 Belmont Stakes Odds, Preview & Predictions

This year’s Triple Crown will begin with the Belmont Stakes, instead of the Kentucky Derby, which has now been slated to take place in September. One other change on Saturday is that the 3-year-olds will be competing on a 1⅛-mile dirt track, instead of the normal 1½ miles that the Belmont Stakes is run on. The purse has been scaled back, too, cut from $1.5 million to $1 million. We also note that the points gained from this event will be added to the Road to The Kentucky Derby point standings. Welcome to the ERA of Covid-19.

So far, of the top 14 horses on the Road to The Kentucky Derby point list, just three have been entered in this race, including the favorite, Tiz the Law. Modernist and Sole Volante are also on the list. Okay, how about we look at the horses that are involved in this race? I will discuss each one in the order that they will be in the starting gate. After taking a look at each horse, I will have my pick to win it all, along with a Trifecta Play. Let’s get to it.

1) Tap It To Win (+600)

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: John Velazquez

Tap It To Win could have a little momentum here as he just won on this track, back on June 4th and he nearly set the track record in the process. It was at just 1 1/16 miles, which is slightly less than this race but was still an impressive showing. Tap It To Win has won both of his races this year and he has won three of his five career races on a dirt track. The trainer is Mark Casse, who won two-thirds of the 2019 Triple Crown with Sir Winston and War Of Will. It is hard enough to win one Triple Crown race, let alone two in a row with two different horses. John R. Velasquez will be on top of Tap It To Win and he has 49 wins in 270 races this year overall but just three wins in 46 graded stakes races. This horse is in the number one slot and has the speed to set the tempo but can he hold it through the entire race? We shall see.

2) Sole Volante (+800)

Trainer: Patrick Biancone

Jockey: Luca Panici

Sole Volante won both his races in his rookie year last year and he has two wins in four races this year. He didn’t have any races on the dirt path last year but all four of his races this year have been on dirt. He is currently 14th on the Race To The Kentucky Derby points list with 30. Some feel that Sole Volante could be the main contender to take down Tiz the Law, especially since he has excellent closing speed. Speaking of speed, Sole Volante has two triple-digit Brisnet Speeds this year and the only other horse with two triple-digit speed figures as a 3-year-old is Tiz the Law, who is the favorite. Sole Volante has a good bloodline as he is the son of Karakontie, who won the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile. Patrick Biancone is the trainer and he has eight wins on 63 starts this year. Riding Sole Volante will be Luca Panici, who has 16 wins in 189 races this year, including five wins in 65 races on dirt tracks. One thing to watch here is that Sole Volante raced just 10 days ago, which could affect him later in the race.

3) Max Player (+1800)

Trainer: Linda Rice

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Max Player is in the middle of the pack in terms of odds but he got a nice draw, which is the 3rd gate. He is the son of Honor Code, who was the 2015 Eclipse award winner. Some good bloodline there. Max player has three career starts and has won two of them. This year, he is one-for-one in his starts as he won the Grade 3 Withers Stakes back in February. That was his only Grade stakes race in his career and his only race on a dirt track but the bad news is that it was not against a very deep group and it also wasn’t a very impressive showing overall. Riding him will be Joel Rosario, who won the Belmont Stakes last year with Sir Winston. Joel is one of the best jockeys in the business and he has finished 3rd or better in 17 of his races this year that were graded stakes on dirt tracks. Four of them were wins. Linda Rice is the trainer and she has had a solid year with 86 third-place or better finishes in 178 races. 28 of them were wins. Could Max Player be a nice long shot to look at? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

4) Modernist (+1800)

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

After posting no wins in two starts last year, Modernist came back to with two in his three races this year so far. He won the Risen Star (Grade 2) as a longshot back in February and then came back with a solid 3rd place showing at the Louisiana Derby in March. So far, all of his career starts have been on the dirt path, so he should feel comfortable in this race and as you saw, he does have a bit of momentum after his last two races. Bill Mott is the trainer and he will be going for his 5000th career win overall in this race but we do note that he has just one win in 28 graded stakes races this year. Junior Alvarado has 42 wins in 196 starts this year, including two wins in 12 graded stakes races on dirt. Modernist needs to get out of the gate quickly as he has been prone to get boxed in and unable to catch up at times. that has been what has happened in his three career losses.

5) Farmington Road (+2500)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Todd Pletcher is a name that we all know as he is one of the best trainers ever in the world of horse racing. He has 4925 in 21,598 races in his career, including 78 wins in 401 races this year. He has also won the Belmont Stakes three times with Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013, and Tapwrit in 2017. This is not his best horse, though, as Farmington Road is very much a longshot to with this race. Farmington Road has six races in his career, but just one win, and that came this year. It was a maiden race and not a graded stakes race. He did finish 2nd at the Oaklawn Stakes (Grade 2) back on April 11th and 4th at the Arkansas Derby (Grade 1) on May 2nd, but still, he could be outclassed in this one by a much stronger field. Riding him will be Javier Castellano, who has 5,259 wins in his carer, including 39 wins in 263 races this year. He has just one win in 23 races on graded stakes dirt tracks this year. No wonder that Farmington Road is such a longshot.

6) Fore Left (+3300)

Trainer: Doug O’Neil

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Fore Left? Sounds like a golfing term and not a name for a horse. Still, he is in this race and has the 2nd longest odds in the field. Fore Left has nine races in his career, with four wins and he won his lone race this year. His with this year came in the Group III UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan Race Course in Dubai on Feb. 6. It was eight furlongs and this one is nine. He can jump out to the lead, but it will be interesting to see if he can maintain it throughout. Fore left will most likely run out of gas near the end. We note that in two grade one stakes in his career he has posted ESpeeds of 70 and 51. Not good at all. Doug O’Neil is the trainer and he has just one win in 14 graded stakes races this year. Jose Ortiz is one of the better Jockeys around and he has 45 wins in 304 races this year, with two of those wins coming in the 15 races he ran that were graded stakes and on dirt paths. I will not be placing anything on Fore Left in this one.

7) Jungle Runner (+5000)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez

Horses do have some cool names and Jungle Runner is one of the better. What is he, Tarzan’s horse? Still, the name may be the only thing good about a horse that has the longest odds in the field. Jungle Runner has two wins in eight career races but he has no wins in three races this year. He hasn’t even finished in the top four this year. All three races this year have been on dirt tracks and his two career wins have been on dirt, but still, he is not expected to do much here in the Belmont Stakes. He was beaten by 22 lengths in the Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park and beaten by 18 lengths at odds of 56-1 in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park. Yikes. Steven Asmussen is the trainer and he does have 8872 wins in his career, including 163 wins in 934 races this year, but this is clearly not his best horse. He has four wins in 46 graded stakes races this year. Reylu Gutierrez will be atop Jungle Boy and he has no top-three finishes in three graded stakes races on dirt tracks this year. In his career, he has 1,925 starts overall, but just 11 in a graded stakes race. He has won one of them but still, Gutierrez is not a top-notch jockey. Jungle Runner may feel like he is running through the jungle in this one, rather than a wide-open dirt track.

8) Tiz the Law (-120)

Trainer: Barclay Tagg

Jockey: Manuel Franco

All I can think of here is Judge Dredd and “Mr. I Am The Law”. Tiz the Law I the heavy favorite to win this race and he will try and do so from the 8th gate. He has won both races this year and four of his five races in his career. He has three career wins in four graded stakes races on dirt tracks. Mr. I am The law is clearly the fastest horse in this race and he has posted ESpeeds of 112 and 117 in his two races this year. Now, that is some serious speed. Tiz the Law’s last race was the Florida Derby (Grade 1), back on March 28th, which he won by 4.5 lengths. Barclay Tagg is the trainer and he has six wins in 30 starts this year, including two wins in six graded stakes starts. Both graded stakes wins this year were obviously with Tix the Law. Manuel Franco has 68 wins in 336 races this year, including three wins in 12 graded stakes dirt track races. Speed, speed, and more speed. Can Tiz the Law use all that speed he has to grab his 5th career win overall. We shall see.

9) Dr. Post (+700)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

The Doctor is in and many feel that he could be the toughest challenge for Tiz the Law. Dr. Post is 3rd on the odds list and he has been trained by the fabulous Todd Pletcher, who has won three Belmont Stakes in his career. He also has Farmington Road in this race and that gives him two shots at recording his 5000th career win. The Doctor has won both of his races this year, but in his three career races, he has yet to run in a graded stakes. We do note that both wins this year have been on dirt tracks and in his last race (Unbridled Stakes) he posted an ESpeed of 101. Riding Dr. Post will be Irad Ortiz Jr. and he has 147 wins in 564 races this year, including an amazing seven wins in just 12 races in graded stakes with dirt tracks. That’s a nice percentage. Dr. Post has some solid speed, Ortiz is a good jockey and Pletcher is a heck of a trainer but will that all be enough to pull off the big win in this one? You’ll have to read on to find out.

10) Pneumatic (+1000)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Pneumatic has had a solid rookie year so far with two wins in his three races. His only graded stakes race was at the Matt Winn Stakes (Grade 3) in May and he finished 3rd in that race, posting a solid ESpeed of 98 in the process. We do note that both of his wins came on dirt tracks. Riding Pneumatic will be Ricardo Santana Jr., who has 87 wins in 468 races this year so far, including four wins in 24 graded stakes races on dirt tracks this year. Just like Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen has a pair of horses in this year’s Belmont Stakes but unlike Todd, Steve doesn’t really have a chance to win the race with either horse. Or does he? Asmussen did win the 2016 Belmont Stakes with Creator. Can he pull off a shocker here? We will see.

Final Prediction:

Ok, time to get down to the nitty-gritty. We have discussed all the horses, talked about “Mr. I am the Law”, A doctor, Tarzan, and a horse that should be playing golf. Let’s get a little serious and try to put all of what we learned to good use and make a few bucks. Jungle Runner, Modernist, Fore Left, and Farmington Road have no shot at all. Even though Asmussen has won this race before, I do not see him picking up a win with Pneumatic, who has just one graded stakes race in his career. Max player could be a surprise challenger in this race with Joel Rosario riding him. He has had a solid season so far and Linda Rice is an excellent trainer, but I do not see him as the overall winner. Sole Volante could have a good showing but I feel he will run out of gas down the stretch after racing just 10 days ago. I feel that this race will come down to Tiz the Law, Dr. Post, and Tap It To Win. Dr. Post has an advantage with Todd Pletcher as his trainer and Irad Ortiz Jr has seven wins in just 12 races in graded stakes with dirt tracks this year but he will come up a bit short in this one. I feel the same about Tap It To Win, who is 2nd on the odds list. He just doesn’t have the speed to stay with Tiz the Law, who will rule over the rest of the field on his way to a win in the Belmont Stakes. Tiz the law is clearly the fastest horse in this race and despite starting from the 8th gate, he will blow by the rest of the field on his way to what should be an easy win.

Race Winner: Tiz the Law (-120)

Trifecta: Tiz the Law (1), Dr Post (2), Tap It To Win (3)

Long Shot Pick: Max Player (+1800)

Some Info Gleaned From Equibase, Bleacher Report and Washington Post

Odds are Courtesy of Betonline.ag

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David Hess

David has always had a fascination with numbers and sports, so he combined the two to become a handicapper and a writer for us here at Winners & Whiners, along with StatSalt. All the information that David puts in his articles are well-researched and his predictions are well-thought out. He is a big fan of all the major pro sports and the colleges making David a very versatile and a constantly winning handicapper. David has been writing for the past 10 years and has been handicapping for over 20 years. He will help you beat the Man, so be sure and follow along.