The first two legs are gone, and we are left with just the most prestigious race of the year: the Belmont Stakes. The 135th running of the Belmont Stakes is set to take place at Belmont Park in New York this Sunday (May 4). With 15 furlongs to go, the favorite is just a three-quarter of a length away from victory.
The Belmont Stakes is one of the five pre-eminent races in North America, along with the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes, and the Travers Stakes. Since the 1970s, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes have been known as the “Great American Race” because of their significance in the American mainstream.
The 2015 Belmont Stakes will be run over a distance of 1,600 meters (one mile) at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY. The race is part of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. The other two legs are the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
Odds are always important, especially when placing wagers. The fact that this is a Triple Crown race means that there are some incredible odds attached to this event. Fortunately, making sense of the odds is easy because they are available in many places. Here, we will examine some key numbers and stats relating to the odds on the 2015 Belmont Stakes.
The favorite for the 2015 Belmont Stakes is a 3-year-old colt by Bernardini named Justify. He was purchased for $125,000 at the 2014 Keeneland Sales on October 29, 2014 by the Gary and Mary Westfall. Justify’s previous owner was John Travolta who purchased the horse for his wife Kelly at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Oaks. It is important to note that Travolta’s wife is Kelly Preston, the co-founder of My People TV and the daughter of late media mogul Johnny Carson.
The Westfalls have an impressive racing pedigree. They are the offspring of the late Hall of Famer Pat Day. Day was the trainer of Mineshaft and Medaglia and the maternal grandfather of Justify. Medaglia was named the 2015 American Horse of the Year in 2014.
Justify will be trying to become the first 3-year-old to win the Belmont Stakes since 1977 when it was run over 1,700 meters (one mile). He was named after the 18th century English judge and racehorse owner William Scott.
The last time an English horse won the Belmont Stakes was in 1933 when Gay Crusader won the race over 1,800 meters (one mile). Since then, it has been dominated by American horses. Over the years, the distance of the race has been gradually reduced. For many years, the race was contested over 1,800 meters, and then in the 1960s and 1970s it was contested over one mile. The current 1,600 meter (one mile) distance was set in 1974.
The field for the 2015 Belmont Stakes consists of 13 horses. Two of the pre-race favorites, Revolutionary and Tapeworm, will run against each other for the first time in the longest running race in American thoroughbred racing. Revolutionary, owned by John Oxley, is a 4-year-old son of Distinctly Noble out of the mare Aisha. Distinctly Noble also produced the stakes-winning Animal Emperor in 2013. Animal Emperor went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Super Derby that year. Also, Oxley’s Revolutionary won the Florida Derby in 2014. In the morning line, he is favored over Tapeworm, who is owned by William S. Farish. Farish is a legendary figure in thoroughbred racing. He is best known for his near-pioneer contributions to the sport. Farish also serves as the president of the Jockey Club, which manages the New York Racing Association and conducts the racing season.
Another prominent entry in the field is Ridgewood, owned by Michael Tabor. Tabor is most well known for being one of the nine partners who established the legendary Tabor Stable, which has produced numerous champions over the years. Ridgewood is a 3-year-old son of Candy Store out of the mare Rags to Riches. Candy Store was a 14-1 longshot when he won the 2014 Kentucky Derby, and he went on to become the first three-year-old to capture the Preakness Stakes. Ridgewood is another proven performer who could very well bring home the race honors for Tabor Stable this year.
The final member of the top five is My Lucky Number, owned by Khalid Abdullah. Abdullah is best known as the founder of the iconic Stoneham Farm, which is located in Charlestown, New York. My Lucky Number is a 5-year-old horse by Unbridled’s Song out of the mare Madcap Melody. Madcap Melody also produced a runner-up finish in the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Unbridled’s Song is another very competitive horse who could cause some upsets in the race.
The rest of the field is made up of mostly unproven contenders. The biggest name among them is Untapable, who is attempting to follow in the footsteps of his sire Invincible, a Grade 1 winner himself. Untapable is owned by Joel Stonoger, who purchased the colt for $90,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Derby. Untapable is among the favorites to win the race, especially since he is competing for the second straight year against Tapeworm. The other pre-race favorite is Summerville, an undefeated 4-year-old who won the Santa Anita Handicap in 2014. Summerville’s victories include the Delta Downs Handicap, the Hollywood Derby, and the El Camino Real Derby. He is owned by a partnership between Mike McCarron and Mike Pegram.
Odds And Ends
It is important to keep in mind that the odds for this year’s Belmont Stakes are considered steep because of its prestige and historical significance. However, that does not mean that you should not wager on it or that it is not worth putting your money on. It just means that the odds are in your favor.