The Belmont Stakes has captured worldwide betting attention as Justify races for a possible Triple Crown on Saturday.
The morning line is 4-5, which wouldn’t be terrible for a Triple Crown winner. American Pharoah closed at 3-5 on the tote board three years ago, and he paid $3.50 to win.
If you like Justify, don’t shy away from the win bet because of the short odds. It’s a good play simply because there are more contenders in the field that will attract money.
As is always the case at the Belmont, the biggest issue with Justify and any other entry is whether the horse fits the 1½-mile race. This figures to be the only time these horses race at that distance. Considering the workload that Justify has had with six races in 111 days, questions about his stamina are worth asking. His Beyer Speed Figure in the Preakness was a career-low 95, so there is the real possibility Justify will back up in this race.
To make a little more money than just the win bet on Justify, let’s attack the $1 trifecta key. In my formula, you select one horse that you think will win, place or show. If Justify’s best races are behind him, as some believe, let’s instead key Hofburg, the No. 4 horse.
After a difficult trip in the Kentucky Derby, when he was closing on the outside down the stretch, Hofburg skipped the Preakness, and trainer Bill Mott continued his works at Saratoga in preparation for the Belmont. Everyone who has seen this horse says he looked the part.
So let’s key Hofburg first to win the race, and in second and third let’s go with Justify, Bravazo, Tenfold, Vino Rosso and Noble Indy. Then I will key Hofburg second with those other five horses first and third. Then the same process with Hofburg keyed third and the other five in first and second. The three tickets would cost you a total of $60.
That leaves me $20 to bet my Montana buddy Mick Ruis to win and place with Bolt d’Oro in Saturday’s Met Mile.
Brent Musburger’s betting column appears Saturday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His show on the Vegas Stats & Information Network can be heard on SiriusXM 204 and livestreamed at reviewjournal.com/vegas-stats-information-network.