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2018 Belmont Stakes Odds: Biggest Threats to Justify’s Triple Crown Bid

Justify goes for history on Saturday afternoon in the $1.5-million Belmont Stakes (G1), but his price will be short and horseplayers looking for value are going to be seeking a threat that can snuff out his Triple Crown bid.

The undefeated Bob Baffert trainee is the current -110 favorite at Bovada as he attempts to become the second Triple Crown winner in the past three years and just the 13th in history.

There are nine foes standing in his way on Saturday, and for horseplayers that have no interest in betting chalk, who is the biggest threat to Justify?

Bet on the 2018 belmont stakes here!

Trainer had Vino Rosso strategically skip Preakness

Vino Rosso (+800) was a good-looking winner of the Wood Memorial (G2) in his final Kentucky Derby prep. He had run third in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and fourth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and I thought the colt really did not take to the Tampa Bay Downs main track, which can play quirky.

He drew the 18 post in the Derby and after being outrun early made up some ground late to be ninth but did not appear to take to the track or the slop being thrown in his face.

As Todd Pletcher does, he skipped the Preakness to give the colt five weeks, a strategy that worked well with his last two Belmont winners. Last year Tapwrit had run sixth in the Derby and in 2013 Palace Malice had faded to finish 12th in the Derby and they both rebounded to win the Belmont. Pletcher also won the Belmont in 2007 with Rags to Riches and has run second six times since 2000.

The Wood was really the only race Vino Rosso ran to his potential. The $410,000 Keeneland purchase is by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, who won the 2007 Preakness and ran second in the Belmont.

Hofburg probable Second choice in Belmont betting

Hofburg (+400) will likely be the second choice in the betting and the Bill Mott trainee did have some trouble in the Derby, where he ran seventh. He raced toward the inside after getting brushed at the start and had to steady a couple of times looking for some running room.

He finally angled to the outside and made up some ground late but was not a real threat. If he is that far back in this race, he will have little chance of getting to Justify. However, with just four starts under his belt, he has as much upside as any of these.

Mott won the Belmont Stakes in 2010 with Drosselmeyer, who was making his Triple Crown debut. That colt had run second in the Dwyer (G2) in his previous start. The colt is by Tapit, the sire having produced three of the last four Belmont Stakes winners.

While Justify is going to be very tough to beat, Vino Rosso and Hofburg appear to be the biggest threats in the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.

Odds to Win 2018 Belmont Stakes
HorseOdds
Justify-110
Hofburg+400
Bravazo+800
Vino Rosso+800
Tenfold+1000
Blended Citizen+2000
Gronkowski +2500
Free Drop Billy+3000
Noble Indy+3300
Restoring Hope+3300

Article written June 8, odds as of June 9 at Bovada

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The field for the $1.5-million Belmont Stakes (G1) may be growing but Justify remains a strong favorite to win the race and become the 13th Triple Crown winner.

The undefeated Bob Baffert trainee took the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) two weeks later and heads to New York as the -125 betting favorite in the latest betting odds at Bovada.

One contender Justify will not be facing is Florida Derby (G1) winner and Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Audible, who was the early second choice in Belmont Stakes betting.

The colt has common ownership with Justify and they have elected to skip the Belmont after his trainer Todd Pletcher said he was not working satisfactorily. He will be shipped to Kentucky for a physical and likely to get a short break.

That leaves Hofburg as the second choice in early Belmont Stakes betting at Bovada at +400. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the colt did not have a good trip in a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

The colt was bumped coming out of the gate, had to steady off heels on the far turn and again at the five-sixteenths and finished up with some interest when angled toward the outside.

The colt made his stakes debut in the Florida Derby where he ran second to Audible, beaten three lengths.

Bravazo third in Belmont betting

Preakness (G1) runner-up Bravazo is the third choice in early Belmont betting at Bovada at +700. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee was sixth in the Run for the Roses and then two weeks later came with a good late rally in the slop at Pimlico to come up just a half-length short of getting to Justify at +1500.

Lukas has saddled the Preakness winner four times in his Hall of Fame career — Tabasco Cat (1994), Thunder Gulch (1995), Editor’s Note (1996) and Commendable (2000). He has started 24 runners.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who saddled last year’s winner Tapwrit, is back with two runners this year — Derby ninth-place finisher Vino Rosso, who is +800, and possibly Noble Indy, who was 17th in the Derby and is at odds of +3000 in the latest Belmont Stakes wagering at Bovada.

Preakness third-place finisher Tenfold is listed at odds of +1000. The colt was only beaten a neck for the place spot and was making just his second start in stakes company after a fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his previous outing.

Gronkowski lining up in New York

Gronkowski has landed with trainer Chad Brown and will make his U.S. debut at Belmont Park. A winner of four of his six starts, the colt is listed at odds of +2500 for the Belmont.

Free Drop Billy has been confirmed for the Belmont Stakes according to his trainer Dale Romans. A promising juvenile last year, he has been a disappointment this year and was 16th in the Kentucky Derby. He is listed at +5000 in Belmont wagering.

Others that may start in the Belmont include Seahenge, who was seventh in the Pat Day Mile (G3) in his U.S. debut, Bandua, an undefeated Dermot Weld trainee who won his two starts in Ireland, and the Baffert-trained Restoring Hope, who was 12th in the Pat Day Mile in his last start.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.

Odds to Win 2018 Belmont Stakes
HorseOdds
Justify-125
Hofburg+400
Bravazo+700
Vino Rosso+800
Tenfold+1000
Blended Citizen+1400
Gronkowski +2500
Noble Indy+3300
Free Drop Billy+5000

Article written May 29, odds as of May 29 at Bovada

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Justify came through the sea of slop and fog at Pimlico unscathed and is heading to New York in three weeks seeking to become the 13th Triple Crown winner and is a short-priced favorite to do so.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will be looking to make history on Saturday, June 9 in the Belmont Stakes and opened as the EVEN money favorite in the early wagering at Bovada.

After an impressive 2 ½ length victory in the Run for the Roses, many expected the colt to trounce the weaker Preakness field. However, Derby runner-up Good Magic took it to the colt in the early going and they battled into the stretch before Justify put that foe away. He had to hold off the late charge of Bravazo and won by a half-length, returning his backers $2.80.

The colt earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 97, a career low. He earned a career-best 107 in his Santa Anita Derby win and his figure in the Kentucky Derby was a 103.

Is the colt vulnerable as he seeks to become just the second Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978?

Do owners call Audible’s name in Belmont?

The big question in the coming week is the status of Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Audible. The colt is the second choice in early Belmont Stakes betting at Bovada at +450 but may not start.

Audible is owned in part by WinStar and China Horse Club, the same connections as Justify. Would they want to risk losing a Triple Crown to another contender they own part of?

Good Magic is the third choice in the betting at +600 but his trainer Chad Brown said before the Preakness that he was not pointing the colt toward the Belmont.

Three others that ran in the Derby and skipped the Preakness will head to New York, including Hofburg, who was seventh. The colt is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and will be making just his fifth career start. The colt is at +700 in early Belmont betting at Bovada.

Derby ninth-place finisher Vino Rosso (20-1) for trainer Todd Pletcher and 16th-place finisher Free Drop Billy (50-1) for Dale Romans are also pointing toward the Belmont.

Preakness runner-up +1200 in Belmont odds

Bravazo, the fast-closing second in the Preakness after his sixth in the Derby, is also headed to New York, according to his trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The colt is listed at odds of +1200.

Tenfold ran well in his third-place finish in the Preakness at +2600 and his trainer Steve Asmussen said he is looking for a rematch with Justify. The colt is +1200 in early Belmont Stakes wagering at Bovada.

My Boy Jack (+900) is possible but his connections are also looking at perhaps moving him to turf. Gronkowski (+6600) is possible as well.  He was the winner of the European Road to the Derby, but a fever knocked him out of the race. He has been shipped to the U.S. and will be trained by Chad Brown.

Blended Citizen won the local prep, the Peter Pan (G3) at Belmont Park, and is currently at +1600.

We could see a few additions over the next week and it appears as if we may end up with a large field for the final jewel of the Triple Crown.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.

Odds to Win 2018 Belmont Stakes
HorseOdds
JustifyEVEN
Audible+450
Good Magic+600
Hofburg+700
My Boy Jack+900
Bravazo+1200
Tenfold+1200
Blended Citizen+1600
Vino Rosso+2000
Solomini+2500
Machismo+3300
Instilled Regard+4000
Free Drop Billy+5000
Gronkowski+6600

Article written May 21, odds as of May 21 at Bovada

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