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Post Positions Set For Wide Open Belmont Stakes

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • The Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 5 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
  • Essential Quality is a 2-1 morning line favorite to win the third leg of the Triple Crown.
  • One of his biggest challenges will come from Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer.

With two different winners in the first two legs of horse racing’s Triple Crown there isn’t a lot of drama to be found at the 2021 Belmont Stakes. That said, it looks to be a wide open and highly competitive race which is always a bonus from a betting perspective. On Monday, the post position draw was held for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes and the ‘morning line’ opening odds on the race were put up. Look for some more betting analysis and selections later this week but in this post we’ll give you our ‘quick take’ on the Belmont field.

Here is the full field rundown in order of post position:


Throw out the three longshots–Bourbonic, Overtook and France Go de Ina–as they are both extremely outclassed here. Not thrilled with Florida Derby winner Known Agenda who turned in a substandard effort in the Kentucky Derby en route to a 9th place finish. Todd Pletcher has saddled a couple of Belmont Stakes winners in the past decade and Known Agenda is likely his best chance of winning (Bourbonic and Overtook are also from Pletcher’s stable)

OVERTOOK finished third in the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes in early May and despite being ‘in the money’ didn’t turn in a great effort as he essentially watched Promise Keeper and Nova Rags battle it out down to the final furlong. Never good to a see a horse ‘settle for show’ so early in the race. Before that, he took second in the Grade III Withers showing a similar lack of urgency. He was in the ‘lead pack’ in the stretch but never really looked capable of contending for the win.

BOURBONIC won the Grade II Wood Memorial as a 72-1 underdog which says more about the class of the field than anything positive about him. The 13th finish in the Kentucky Derby doesn’t bode well for his ability to step up in class. He picked up places late over horses that had ‘left it on the track’ and faded meaning that he was less of a factor than even this ho hum result would suggest. He could pull a similar trick in the Belmont so he might be worth a look underneath in exotics.

FRANCE GO DE INA looks outclassed here. Was in a competitive position late in the Preakness but couldn’t seal the deal finishing 7th. In his only other stakes experience he finished 6th in the March 2021 UAE Derby. Zero interest in using him in any fashion and it would take a strange series of events for him to even finish in the money.

KNOWN AGENDA isn’t a horrible horse but with the exception of his Florida Derby win in March hasn’t shown much at all his stakes race experience. Finished 9th in the Kentucky Derby and wasn’t as much of a factor as even that finishing position would suggest. In his defense, he started from the pole at Churchill Downs and that’s a very tough assignment. That said, not much to suggest that he can hang with the class of this field.

ESSENTIAL QUALITY is a deserving favorite coming off his first career loss in the Kentucky Derby. Essential Quality was repeatedly bumped at the start of the Kentucky Derby by Rock Your World but continued to battle throughout despite struggles with the heavy traffic caused by the 20 horse field. Would eventually fade late and settle for fourth but given all of the adversity he faced during the race it was a gutsy effort to finish as high as he did. Before that, five wins in five starts for trainer Brad Cox including wins in the Breeders’ Futurity, G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, G3 Southwest and the G2 Blue Grass Stakes. Connections made the decision to bypass the Preakness suggesting that they–like I–think this distance and field size is made to order for him. Was a bit overhyped heading into the Kentucky Derby but might be undervalued here.

ROMBAUER has never really had a horrible performance in 7 career starts and put it all together in winning the Preakness. My take on him is that he’s a good horse that needs the right pace to win and not sure he’ll get it here. As good as he was at Pimlico for the Preakness you have to think that he could be due to ‘regress to the mean’ a bit. Probably won’t use him up top but definitely worth a look underneath in exotics.

HOT ROD CHARLIE has been excellent as a three year old and really performed well in the Kentucky Derby despite a very challenging trip. If he had a bit smoother sailing at Churchill Downs could have won the race. The smaller field should be to his benefit. At 7-2 it’s tough to conclude that he’s ‘under the radar’ but he sure isn’t getting the accolades that his resume would suggest.

ROCK YOUR WORLD had done nothing but win including a victory in the G1 Santa Anita Derby before getting trounced in the Kentucky Derby finishing 17th. Repeatedly bumped with Essential Quality early just couldn’t recover after a problematic start. He’s a horse that wants to move to the front early and there was no chance of that at Churchill. Given the distance here along with the size of the field it suggests a pace that could be to his liking. Could be the ‘horse for the course’.



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