Belmont Stakes 2022 odds: Best bets, long shots, lines and positions

By Andy Serling
FOX Sports Horse Racing Analyst

The ground for the 154th Belmont Stakes, the latest jewel in the Triple Crown, is set to roll out of the gate at 6:44 p.m. ET Saturday at beautiful Belmont Park.

All eyes will be on Rich Strike. Although not the favorite in the morning line, the upset Kentucky Derby winner who stood outside the Preakness to await the champion’s test will be the big storyline. Only Mo Donegal and Barber Road, fifth and sixth respectively, return from the Run for the Roses.

We the People, making their first start in a Triple Crown race, are the current morning line favorite at 2-1. Can he extend his speed to the demanding 1 ½ miles of the Belmont Stakes?

Let’s take a look around and lay out what we hope will be a winning betting strategy.

Here are the position positions, betting odds and my best bets for the race.

1. We the People (2-1 to win the morning line)

The likely control speed is coming off a solid victory in the Peter Pan, the warm-up race for the Belmont Stakes. Several horses have successfully used the prep race as a stepping stone to big race success, the latest being Tonalist in 2014.

This victory, however, was taken on a wet track which was advantageous for the fast horses and probably overstated his performance. With clear skies expected on Saturday, We the People will not benefit from the same favorable circumstances and could be vulnerable. More on that later.

2. Skippy Longstocking (20-1 to win)

An improving horse that finished fifth in the Preakness. He still doesn’t feel good enough to make an impact here.

3. Nest (8-1 to win)

The lone filly in the race took second place in the Kentucky Oaks behind Secret Oath, fourth in the Preakness. Her trainer, Todd Pletcher, is experienced with fillies at Belmont, having won in 2007 with Rags to Riches. While she would need to improve to be competitive, Pletcher enjoyed remarkable success in the Belmont Stakes, picking up three wins and outscoring long shots on numerous occasions.

The fact that he has the confidence to lead her here increases her chances. His regular rider, Irad Ortiz, will ride Pletcher’s other rider, Mo Donegal. But Nest loses nothing by picking up Irad’s brother Jose, who takes a winning run in the Preakness.

4. Rich Strike (7-2 to win)

The long-time Kentucky Derby winner is here to prove it was no fluke. There is an argument that he is an improving horse who savors the longest distance in the Derby. It would serve him well at Belmont, the longest race in the series.

There’s also an argument that he benefited from a blistering pace, got a good ride from his jockey, and will never catch lightning in a bottle again. Although I wouldn’t bet him at short odds to find out, there is no doubt that he is the most intriguing horse in this race.

5. Creative Minister (6-1 to win)

The only horse to run all three Triple Crown race days, winning an allowance at Churchill Downs on Derby day before finishing third in the Preakness.

He’s improved with every start of his four-race career, possesses enough early speed to sit close to We the People, and with another forward move, just might be the horse to beat. His coach, Kenny McPeek, upset the Belmont Stakes 20 years ago with Sarava at 70-1. At anywhere near his current price of 6-1, he’s my pick to win the Belmont.

6. Mo Donegal (5-2 to win)

Pletcher’s other runner is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. In his previous debut, he defeated the eventual winner of Preakness Early Voting in the Wood Memorial.

He enjoyed the same fast pace in the Derby as Rich Strike but closed less effectively. In all honesty, while Rich Strike saved valuable ground on the final corner, Mo Donegal pulled wide and was a little hampered by Barber Road as he tried to rally.

Given Pletcher’s immense success at Belmont and that horse’s career record, he is the horse to beat. Whether it is worth betting at these low expected odds is another question.

7. Golden Glitter (20-1 to win)

Far behind We the People in the Peter Pan, its best ray of hope is not really golden. Bronze would even be an upheaval. It’s just not fast enough.

8. Barber Road (10-1 to win)

The sixth in the Kentucky Derby gets a driver change for Joel Rosario, the reigning champion jockey who scored an upset in this race three years ago, giving Sir Winston a brilliant run.

However, his former rider Reylu Gutierrez rode him to perfection, and it’s hard to see the change making much of a difference. He’s just not fast enough to be too competitive here, and his best bet is that the extra distance will somehow elevate him more than many of the others. I don’t bet that happens.

It’s decision time! We’ve nailed the Preakness Stakes, so let’s try to get back at a gallop.

To create value by making my bets, I have to decide which of the cheaper horses is vulnerable.

For me, it’s We the People. Maybe an improving, fresh-legged horse will lead this field from start to finish, but I bet against that. I think his performance last time out was improved by a fast home run.

While I respect Pletcher’s two racers, Mo Donegal and Nest, I like the Creative Minister upgrade to win this race. I will box him exactly with Mo Donegal and Nest, which means I will win if Creative Minister finishes first or second with either of those runners.

If you want to keep it simple, bet Creative Minister Winner.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the Belmont Stakes

Enjoy the Belmont Stakes. I’ll be back after the race with a recap and some thoughts on when and where we’ll see these riders advancing. The race never stops. Saratoga is only a month away.

And, as always, good luck!

Andy Serling is the senior racing analyst for the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and appears regularly on America’s Day at Races/Saratoga Live on FOX Sports. He also analyzes daily racing on Talking Horses on NYRA’s simulcast network, among other duties covering Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct. In his more respectable days, he traded options on the now defunct American Stock Exchange. Follow him on Twitter @andyserling.

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