Belmont Stakes Predictions 2020: Odds, Picks, & Handicapping

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The Belmont Stakes traditionally has been the third and final horse race of the legendary Triple Crown Series. An event that is normally run at 1 1/2 mile on dirt, but due to unprecedented times due to COVID-19, each of these things has changed.

Now, the Belmont Stakes, which occurs on June 20, 2020, will be the first of the three races, with the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes coming at later dates. Furthermore, the race itself will be shorter than previously intended, running at 1 1/8 mile. This was done to protect the horses since there wasn’t the proper time to prep for a 1 1/2 mile race.

This unique situation means making Belmont Stakes predictions may be more difficult than ever. But long-time horseplayer, Michael Sherman, gives us his Belmont Stakes predictions and picks below.

Current Belmont Stakes Odds

Post Position Horse Morning Line Odds
1 Tap It To Win 6-1
2 Sole Volante 9-2
3 Max Player 15-1
4 Modernist 15-1
5 Farmington Road 15-1
6 Fore Left 30-1
7 Jungle Runner 50-1
8 Tiz The Law* 6-5
9 Dr. Post 5-1
10 Pneumatic 8-1

Belmont Stakes Betting

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Belmont Stakes Predictions 2020

The Belmont Stakes will be contested this year at 1 1/8mi. That distance at Belmont is a one-turn race, nowhere else in the country is this distance run around one turn. Let’s begin with the class of the race and the rightful favorite, Tiz the Law.

Tiz the Law (6-5) was known early on, breaking his maiden at Saratoga impressively and following that up with an even more impressive win in the Champagne going 1M at this track. On that day he did have trouble at the start and at another point in his trip.

Tiz the Law beat a horse that day in Green Light Go that if you asked me at the time, would have been a Derby contender this year. He forewent the BC to run in a more reasonable spot for Tagg, losing at 3/5 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Cup for 2yo. That was over a sloppy track that day, but I would have liked Tagg to have shown the confidence to run him in the BC Juvenile.

On Tiz the Law’s Derby Path, he won two more graded stakes races by a combined total of over 7 lengths, his last at today’s distance around two turns. For those who thought he may regress from his effort in the Holy Bull were mistaken.

It appears as anytime you may question this horse or if he will bounce, he will just surprise you and he would be no surprise in this rendition of the stakes. Tiz the Law’s stalking style should suit him well to make his move and pull away with some pace in front of him to his inside.

Tap It to Win (6-1) is a horse from the rail who may be a potential pacesetter. He was the most impressive winner at Belmont on June 4 which saw all of the winners on the main that day on or near the lead. Although his win was impressive I believe he was assisted by a bias that day and while he may very well be your pacesetter in these stakes, let’s not give more credence to his last than need be.

Sole Volante (9-2) will have run just 10 days prior to this Belmont, and although this horse may have some pace to run into I believe he will be too far back to make any noise here.

Max Player (15-1) to his inside interests me greatly. What’s interesting about this Belmont is that after Tiz the Law, this appears to be a pretty competitive race. My objective is to find several horses to box in an exacta with Tiz the Law, and Max Player is one of them.

Max Player’s debut and subsequent win at Parx saw him run down horses and finish well going two turns. He stretched out an additional eighth in the Withers but Davis gave him the ride he needed and waiting until he needed to fire. The cutback here to a one-turn 9-furlong race should enhance his move and closing kick and he may be flying late in the long Belmont stretch.

Modernist (15-1) is another horse I would use in exactas with Tiz the Law. He is a G2 winner and has won two races from the rail, most notably changing running styles slightly. His maiden win although impressive was predictable given the field. If you look closely at the one-turn mile race at the Big A on 12/7, it saw him improve off a layoff as well as make a middle move in a race that got slower later.

The change in tactics and versatility allow me to believe that Mott has him ready for whatever this race may throw at him tactically and pace wise. His most recent bullet over the track should give you the indication of his fitness and propensity for being forwardly placed. To make a further case for him, consider his most recent, breaking from pp 14 and still being within a few lengths of the lead going much longer. The cutback should help as well.

The two horses to the outside of Tiz the Law, Dr. Post (5-1) and Pneumatic (8-1), spot the field in class and experience. Dr. Post has had trouble in a few of his races, prevailed in his last but not impressively. His chances and Pneumatic’s chances would improve if they are able to outrun the horses to their inside to contest the lead which I do not see happening given their experience and ability so far.

Belmont Stakes Handicapping

In the early stages, I do see Tap It to Win breaking well and establishing an early pace. I believe Modernist will be a good stalking second followed by Dr. Post and/or Pneumatic. This is their only chance I believe to try to steal early. There will be plenty of horses running late.

Right behind Tap it to Win, Modernist, and potentially the outside horses, Tiz the Law should sit a good trip 3rd or 4th, with 1 to 2 lengths from the lead. Their positions should remain unchanged down the backstretch and as they enter the sweeping far turn at Belmont, remember we are still 5f from the wire, the first horse to make his move should be Max Player.

Sole Volante should move right after him, being a few lengths further behind. Tap it to Win should first be contested for the lead by Modernist around the 3/8ths pole before Modernist could potentially lead the field or be in contention for the lead at the top of the stretch with Tiz the Law.

At this point, I do not see Tap it to Win in the running at the top of the stretch, but Max Player should be gaining momentum. As they come down the long stretch I can foresee Tiz the Law battling with Modernist as Max Player gains momentum. What happens in the last 1/16 mi to 1/8 mi will come down to a little racing luck and grit, but I believe the race will play out this way which justifies the wagers I will be making.

Belmont Stakes Prediction

Exacta Bets:

  • 8-3 (Tiz the Law, Max Player)
  • 8-4 (Tiz the Law, Modernist)
  • 3-8 (Max Player, Tiz the Law)
  • 4-8 (Modernist, Tiz the Law)

The breakdown of this race was completed by long-time horseplayer, Michael Sherman. If you would like to learn more, feel free to read about horse race handicapping.

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