How to Bet on the Belmont Stakes – Complete Guide to Belmont Stakes Betting

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how to bet on the belmont stakes

The Belmont Stakes is the final leg of the world-renowned Triple Crown.

Usually held at Belmont Park, the race is often called “The Test of the Champion” and has seen some of the most prestigious thoroughbreds take part over the years.

This year, it’s being held at Saratoga while Belmont is refurbished, but this won’t get in the way of it being one hell of a race.

Now, let’s look at how to bet on the Belmont Stakes and include information on betting markets, prop bets, past winners, calculating odds and payouts, and expert betting strategy.

What are the Belmont Stakes?

how to bet on the belmont stakes
Courtesy: Fox Sports

There are few bigger races in horse racing than the Belmont Stakes, which has been running since 1867. Given that it’s the third race of the Triple Crown, for many, it’s the highlight as it’s the last chance any of the horses will have of writing their names into history.

Apart from five races in the 1960s and the upcoming in 2024 race due to renovation work, Belmont Park has played host to the race. The track measures 1.5 miles (12 furlongs) and is the longest of the three. It’s a tough race, which favors horses with both speed and stamina to stay the distance.

The race can only be entered by 3-year-olds, including colt/geldings (126 pounds) and fillies (121 pounds), which means that horses can only compete once in their career. Since 1919, there have been just 13 horses that have completed the Triple Crown, with Justify the most recent in 2018. American Pharoah, the 2015 winner, was the first in 37 years.

Prize Money

Prizemoney for the Belmont Stakes sits at $2 million, which makes it one of the richest races in the country.

The breakdown is unique and is heavily stacked for the winner, taking home $1.2 million of the total purse, with the second dropping to $360,000.

Here is a breakdown of how the money at the Belmont Stakes is distributed.

Position Prize money
1 $1.2 million
2 $360,000
3 $200,000
4 $200,000
5 $60,000
6 $40,000
7 $20,000
8 $20,000

Even though prize money for the race is vast, it’s nowhere near that of the Kentucky Derby, which saw a big jump in 2024 to a $5 million total purse.

The Belmont is worth more than the Preakness Stakes, however, unlike the Preakness that pays the top five, the Belmont pays the top eight, meaning that most horses will get some prizemoney given the 2024 field size is 10.

Here’s a breakdown of how the Belmont Stakes compares:

Race Date Purse (2023)
Kentucky Derby May 4, 2024 $5 million
Preakness Stakes May 18, 2023 $2 million
Belmont Stakes June 10, 2023 $3 million

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Belmont Stakes Example Bet

The best way to explain how to place a bet on the Belmont Stakes is to look through an example. To do this, we’ve got the 2024 racecard below, along with the runners, riders, and odds.

Post Horse Jockey Morning Line Odds
1 Seize the Grey Jaime Torres 8-1
2 Resilience Junior Alvarado 5-2
3 Mystik Dan Brian Hernandez Jr 3-1
4 The Wine Steward Manny Franco 10-1
5 Antiquarian John Velazquez 7-2
6 Dornoch Luis Saez 5-1
7 Protective Tyler Gaffalione 30-1
8 Honor Marie Florient Geroux 15-1
9 Sierra Leone Flavien Prat 9-5
10 Mindframe Irad Ortiz Jr 7-2

The key column to note is the morning line.

Because US-based racebooks use a parimutuel betting system, you don’t know what odds you’ve taken on a horse until after the race. This is a pool system where bettors wager into the pool and then are awarded a dividend based on the total amount in the pot and the number of winning tickets.

The handicapper sets the morning line odds, usually the day or the morning before the race. These should be used as a guide based on the horse’s form and weight it will be carrying for the race. The odds usually aren’t too far off, as you can see here, but it’s important to know these aren’t the exact returns.

The final odds are ones that are calculated after the race. This is the amount each bettor will be paid per $1 stake. The odds format for this is in decimals, as the dividends are easier to calculate to get an accurate reading.

So, if we placed a $100 bet on Mystik Dan to win at 3/1, our payout would look like this:

  • $100 x 3 = $300 Total + $100 stake = $400 returned for a $300 profit

Some racebooks will show odds in American format, which would be +300 for Mystick Dan and winnings calculated the same way.

How to Read Belmont Stakes Odds and Calculate Payouts

Let’s look at how parimutuel betting systems work so you can understand how racebook payouts work.

We first need to know the total amount wagered on each horse. So, let’s assume this race has eight runners with a total amount wagered on each horse as follows:

  • Horse 1 = $5,000
  • Horse 2 = $8,000
  • Horse 3 = $12,000
  • Horse 4 = $1,000
  • Horse 5 = $10,000
  • Horse 6 = $15,000
  • Horse 7 = $9,000
  • Horse 8 = $4,000

The cumulative amount wagered on this race is $64,000. The racebook will then take a commission from the total pot, which ranges depending on where you bet. For this example, we will set the commission at 10%, which is about average.

This means that our total pot has shrunk from $64,000, minus the $6,400 commission, to $57,600.

The next stage is to find the dividend of each horse. To do this, we divide the total amount in the pot by the amount wagered on each horse.

  • Horse 1 = $57,600 / $5,000 = 11.52
  • Horse 2 = $57,600 / $8,000 = 7.20
  • Horse 3 = $57,600 / $12,000 = 4.80
  • Horse 4 = $57,600 / $1,000 = 57.60
  • Horse 5 = $57,600 / $10,000 = 5.76
  • Horse 6 = $57,600 / $15,000 = 3.94
  • Horse 7 = $57,600 / $9,000 = 6.40
  • Horse 8 = $57,600 / $4,000 = 14.40

The numbers here are the dividends for each horse, essentially the odds. Let’s assume we place a $100 bet on Horse 6 to win, and they duly oblige. Our returns would look like this:

  • $100 * 3.94 = $394.00 Total – $100 stake = $294.00 profit

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Belmont Stakes 2023 Real World Example

We’ve taken the result from the 2023 Belmont Stakes to show how this works in the real world.

Position Horse name Win Place Show
1st Arcangelo $17.80 $7.20 $4.90
2nd Forte $4.30 $3.30
3rd Tapit Trice $4.10

This is how a pay table will look for any race in the US. These numbers are dividends based on a $2 bet, showing the total return (not the profit).

So, if we’d bet on Arcangelo to win, our $2 bet would return $17.80 and make us a profit of $15.80. This means that for every $1 wagered, we would return $7.90 ($15.80 / 2).

The same principle applies to all horse racing betting markets, including the place and show bet. Therefore, a $2 bet for Tapit Trice to win would return $2.10 ($4.10 – $2).

How to Bet on the Belmont Stakes Step-by-Step Guide

To show how to bet on the Belmont Stakes as a step-by-step guide, we’re going to use BetOnline, which is one of the best horse racing platforms in the industry. As the race draws nearer, more markets will become available, and the main racecard will move from a futures bet to active.

  1. Open an Account

    Before you place a bet, you need an account. To get started, click through our link above and once on their website click the green “Join” button. You can complete this step using online and mobile betting sites.
    Open an Account
  2. Complete Account Forms

    To create an account, you need to fill in the forms on the screen. This includes information like name, address, email address, and password. The process is very quick and should take no more than a couple of minutes.
    Complete Account Forms
  3. Make a Deposit

    Once the account has been created, head back to the sportsbook and log in. Click the “Cashier” button at the top of the page and choose any payment method. Use the BetOnline promo code linked to the offer you want to claim.
    Make a Deposit
  4. Locate the Racebook

    Head back to the main page and use the menu section at the top to locate the racebook. Click this link and use the menu section down the left to find the racetrack’s name. It’s worth noting that the Belmont Stakes won’t be listed as a race but instead under the name of the track, Saratoga.
    Locate the Racebook
  5. Place a Bet

    When the race is accessible, use the top section of the racecard to find the race number and choose the market you want to bet on. Enter your stake into the column for the market next to the horse you want to bet on. Click on “Add to Bet Slip” and confirm the stake.
    Place a Bet

Belmont Stakes Betting Markets

The growth of online sportsbooks has marked a huge increase in the range of markets. There are literally dozens to choose from, although some sites have more coverage than others.

Below, we’ve created a list of all the betting markets you can access with the Belmont Stakes and provided a short overview of each work.

  • Win bet: The win bet is where you bet on the horse to win the race. They must finish first, and any other result will be deemed a loss.
  • Place bet: The place bet is where you choose a horse to finish first or second. The order they finish is irrelevant as long as they are in the top two spots and will pay the same regardless.
  • Show bet: This is where you bet on a horse to finish with the top three positions. Like the place bet, they can finish in any order and will be paid the same.
  • Across the board: An across the board bet is a win, place and show bet on one ticket.
  • Each-way bet: An each-way bet is a popular UK betting market that covers the win and the place. The bet is split in two, where half the stake is on the win and half the place.
  • Exacta: An Exacta requires the bettor to pick two horses to finish first and second in the correct order.
  • Quinella: The Quinella requires the bettor to pick two horses to finish first and second in any order.
  • Trifecta: A Trifecta is where the bettor must pick three horses to finish first, second, and third in the correct order.
  • Superfecta: An extension of the Trifecta, the Superfecta requires the bettor to pick four horses to finish first, second, third, and fourth in the correct order. This is a tough bet to call, but it pays incredibly well if successful.
  • Daily Double: Choose the winners of two consecutive races at the same meeting. This market is usually linked to the first two races but can be applied to any races within the meeting as long as they run concurrently.
  • Pick 3/4/5/6: Pick bets are an extension of the Daily Double, where you pick the winners of multiple consecutive races within the same meeting. The number represents how many races you need to choose.
  • Box bet: Exotic bets can be boxed to allow multiple combinations in finishing positions.
  • Key bet: This is where you can lock one horse into a position and have multiple horses to finish in any of the remaining positions for the bet. For example, in a Quinella, you could “key” one horse to win and pick three other horses to finish second.
  • Futures: Bets on races that occur more than 24 hours before the start of the race.

Belmont Stakes Prop Bets

One of the best things about races like the Belmont Stakes is the increased exposure. Racebooks are keen to jump on this and create a host of prop bets that you usually wouldn’t find on most domestic races.

In this section on how to bet on the Belmont Stakes, we’ve created an overview of prop bets that are specifically linked to the race and explained how they work.

  • Winning time: This is the official time of the winning horse you bet on the over or under of.
  • Margin of victory: Bet on the length of the margin of victory. Some betting sites will have bracketed results for this, and others will have an over or under line.
  • Triple Crown winner: You can bet on this before the start of the Preakness Stakes, which is the first leg of the Triple Crown. The winner will be decided here as the Belmont Stakes is the final leg.
  • Lead changes: This market is all about the number of times the lead changes in the race. Most sites will only have this market to include the final three furlongs, as scoring earlier in the race can be hard.
  • Head to head: The racebook will choose two horses in the race to go head to head. You only need to pick the highest finishing horse from the pair. They do not need to win the race to win this market.
  • Top finish by a filly: You can bet on whether a filly will finish in the top three positions or on the filly to finish the highest from the whole field.
  • Winning trainer: Instead of the winning horse, you can bet on the winning trainer. This only works if there is a trainer with multiple horses in the race otherwise, you may as well just choose the horse.
  • Will there be a photo finish? Simply bet on whether there will be a photo finish in the race.
  • Field size: Bet on the number of horses to start the race. Note that this will be determined by starters and not finishers. So, if a horse starts but pulls up and does not finish, they will still count. This is a good market to back early before horses get scratched.
  • Color of the winning horse: Bet on the color of the winning horse. This could be brown, black, white, or grey.

For the biggest range of regular and prop bets, check out BetOnline right now. 

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Past Belmont Stakes Winners

The Belmont Stakes has been the stage for some of the most remarkable feats in thoroughbred racing. One of the most iconic winners is Secretariat, who in 1973 not only won the Triple Crown but also set a world record for a mile and a half on dirt, a record that still stands. His 31-length victory remains one of the most astonishing performances in horse racing history.

Another notable Triple Crown winner was Seattle Slew in 1977. Unlike Secretariat, Seattle Slew was undefeated when he won the race, priced at odds of just 1/10, which is remarkable given the quality of the field.

In 1978, Affirmed captured the Triple Crown, famously battling with Alydar in all three races, with their Belmont Stakes showdown being one of the closest and most exciting races in the sport’s history. The most recent Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, in 2015, ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought and captivated a new generation of racing fans.

The table below showcases the winners of the Belmont Stakes since 2023.

Year Winning Horse Jockey Trainer Morning Line Odds Prize Money Won
2013 Palace Malice Mike E. Smith Todd Pletcher 15-1 $600,000
2014 Tonalist Joel Rosario Christophe Clement 8-1 $800,000
2015 American Pharoah Victor Espinoza Bob Baffert 3-5 $800,000
2016 Creator Irad Ortiz Jr. Steve Asmussen 15-1 $800,000
2017 Tapwrit Jose Ortiz Todd Pletcher 5-1 $800,000
2018 Justify Mike E. Smith Bob Baffert 4-5 $800,000
2019 Sir Winston Joel Rosario Mark E. Casse 10-1 $800,000
2020 Tiz the Law Manny Franco Barclay Tagg 6-5 $800,000
2021 Essential Quality Luis Saez Brad Cox 2-1 $800,000
2022 Mo Donegal Irad Ortiz Jr. Todd Pletcher 5-2 $800,000
2023 Arcangelo Javier Castellano Jena M. Antonucci 8-1 $900,000

Belmont Stakes Betting Strategy

The Belmont Stakes can be a tough race to call. It attracts the best of the best from the 3-year-old horse racing world and, therefore, gives merit to all the runners as to why they might win.

Like all races, applying a solid betting strategy is still important. When we look at how to bet on the Belmont Stakes, we must remember that any bets must be profitable. Use the strategy below to have the best chance of coming out as a winner.

Dutching

Dutching is a strategy that allows bettors to spread their risks across multiple horses. This is particularly effective in a race like the Belmont Stakes, where unexpected outcomes are common.

For example, in a race with two strong contenders, say, at odds of 3/1 and 5/1, a bettor could allocate their stakes across both horses to ensure a profit regardless of which horse wins. This technique was applicable in the 2021 race, where backing both Essential Quality and Rombauer could have resulted in a guaranteed return.

The use of a Dutching calculator is paramount for this. You can enter the odds for each horse and the total stake, and it will tell you exactly how much to bet on each for an equal return. The earlier you can place a bet (using futures betting markets), the better your chance of creating a profitable Dutch.

Don’t Underestimate Research and Analysis

The importance of research and analysis cannot be overstated. This involves thoroughly studying each horse’s track record, jockey performance, and even the track conditions on the day.

For example, in the 2018 Belmont Stakes, Justify was the favorite at odds of 4/5, and his history of performance in similar conditions made him a strong bet. Bob Baffert’s expertise in preparing horses for big races further added to Justify’s appeal.

Shop Around for the Best Odds

Finding the best odds is a strategy that involves seeking out the most favorable betting lines across various bookmakers. This can significantly impact potential returns.

In the 2020 race, Tiz the Law was a clear favorite, but his odds varied across bookmakers, ranging from 4/5 to 6/5. Identifying and betting with the bookmaker offering the highest odds would have maximized returns when he won.

Also, look for promotions like boosted odds and horse racing rebates. Most racebooks jump on the fact that many bettors are casuals when it comes to the Belmont Stakes, so ramp up the promotions as a result.

Past Winner Characteristics

Finally, analyzing the characteristics of past winners can offer insights into potential winners. Trends such as performance in previous Triple Crown races, the experience of the jockey and trainer, and even breeding can be informative.

Notably, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018 were favorites with odds of 3/5 and 4/5, respectively, and their victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes were strong indicators of their potential success in the Belmont Stakes.

FAQs

What is the Belmont Stakes?

How do I place a bet on the Belmont Stakes?

To bet on the Belmont Stakes, you can use online betting platforms, visit Saratoga, or go to an off-track betting location.

What are popular bet types for the Belmont Stakes?

What are some effective Belmont Stakes betting strategies?

How should I choose a horse to bet on for the Belmont Stakes?

How does the Belmont Stakes differ from other Triple Crown races?

Is international betting on the Belmont Stakes possible?

Does post position affect a horse’s chances in the Belmont Stakes?

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Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert
Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert

Jonathan is a freelance writer working with Techopedia. He has been working within the gambling sector for over 15 years and has been fortunate enough to work with brands that include Gambling.com, CheekyPunter.com, BasketballInsiders.com and Betfair. He specializes in US and UK-based sports and casino content for Techopedia.