Belmont Stakes Preview, Odds: Essential Quality, Rombauer Top Faves In Final Triple Crown Race

Posted By Dave Bontempo on June 4, 2021

A balanced eight-horse field — reflecting the parity that will prevent a Triple Crown winner — emerged from Tuesday’s draw for Saturday’s 153rd Belmont Stakes.

Preakness-winning Rombauer is the morning-line second favorite at 3-1 betting odds. Rombauer toppled Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit on May 15 to eliminate a Belmont Triple Crown watch.

Essential Quality, who ran fourth in the Derby, is the favorite at 2-1.

Hot Rod Charlie, third in the Derby, is at 7-2 odds.

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How to be on the Belmont Stakes in Iowa

Odds won’t be final until post-time because bets are part of a pari-mutuel pool.

You can access the action online via TVG, which provides streaming, handicapping and wagering capability. Post time is 5:48 p.m. CST on Saturday, June 5.

OTB sites in Iowa

You can also make wagers in conjunction with live racing at Prairie Meadows Racetrack.

The state’s lone thoroughbred track in Altoona not only accepts Belmont bets but runs live cards at 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Several other casinos in Iowa are licensed to allow pari-mutuel horse betting. They are:

  • Iowa Greyhound Association/Q Casino, Dubuque
  • Horseshoe Casino, Council Bluffs
  • Wild Rose casinos in Clinton, Emmetsburg and Jefferson

Here is a look at the field from Tuesday’s draw.

2021 Belmont Stakes field

The $1.5 million event returns to its customary 1.5-mile distance. It was shortened to 1 1/8 miles last year because of the COVID-19-induced racing reshuffling of the Triple Crown schedule. This is a novel distance for the horses, who will likely try to use a controlled gallop to get into position and time a late finishing burst.

That concept will be underscored by the size of the field, which is smaller than anticipated. Rebel’s Romance, the UAE Derby winner, was expected to join the field. But a hind-leg infection caused him to be removed from the lineup.

Here are the 2021 Belmont Stakes post positions and some observations about the early favorites and their opening betting odds (The odds won’t be official until post time.):

  • Essential Quality: 2-1
  • Rombauer: 3-1
  • Known Agenda: 6-1
  • Hot Rod Charlie: 7-2
  • Rock Your World: 9-2
  • Bourbonic: 15-1
  • Overtook: 20-1
  • France Go De Ina: 30-1

Horse predictions at final Triple Crown race

Rombauer looked well-rested at the Preakness Stakes three weeks ago, having skipped the Kentucky Derby. He overtook Midnight Bourbon and Medina Spirit in the homestretch to win definitively.

Rombauer likes to stalk the pace and make a late move. He enters with a recent Beyer figure of 102, the highest in the field. The Beyer figure measures a horse’s one-race performance into a formula that includes the track record for the distance and a variant of whether the surface was speed-favoring or heavy, accommodating closers on a given day.

Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie skipped the Preakness and their last race was the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago. That was the same time period between races for Rombauer and it could be significant. Both of these horses were poised to go past front-running Medina Spirit and Mandaloun in the Kentucky Derby stretch but didn’t have it.

Known Agenda, who had the disastrous rail in the Kentucky Derby, tries to parlay his Florida Derby win into a Triple Crown-race victory. The Florida Derby winners have made a solid impact in the subsequent Triple Crown races.

Nyquist (2016), Always Dreaming (2017), Maximum Security (2019) and Tiz the Law (2020) crossed the line first in three Kentucky Derbys and had one second. Known Agenda has the “eligible to improve” label. So does Rock Your World, who was pinched back at the start of the 20-horse Kentucky Derby and had no chance.

Both horses should get a far more alert break and at least be able to run their true races here.

Bourbonic is the late-firing Wood Memorial winner, France Go De Ina was seventh in the Preakness and Overtook was only third in the much-smaller Peter Pan Stakes.

The silver lining: the race was over the Belmont track.

Bourbonic, France Go De Ina and Overtook appear outclassed, but that’s why they run the races.

Prairie Meadows weekend horse betting schedule

Watch and wager on the live simulcast of the Belmont Stakes race and more at Praire Meadows:

Friday, June 4

  • Noon: Advance wagering on the Belmont Stakes card available on Level 4.
  • 5 p.m.: The Track Apron and pari-mutuel windows on the Track Apron open.
  • 6 p.m.: Live racing at Praire Meadows begins.

Saturday, June 5

  • 10 a.m.: Belmont Stakes wagering available on Level 4.
  • 5 p.m.: Track Apron and the pari-mutuel windows open.
  • 5:32 p.m.: Belmont Stakes begins (time is approximate).
  • 6:15 p.m.: Live racing begins (time is approximate).
Photo by John Minchillo / AP
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and iGaming player, among others. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal sports betting.

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