Belmont Stakes Odds: Exaggerator's price to determine the value
Eric Donovan, NYRA's excellent linemaker, has Exaggerator at 9-5. I have him at 3-5 in DRF. Never had such big a disparity like this before.— Mike Watchmaker (@DRFWatchmaker) June 8, 2016
I'll be caustic and say neither is correct because I don't think Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator will be 9-to-5 in the Belmont Stakes but nor do I think the Kentucky Derby runner-up will be odds on. The good news for wagering purposes is my fair odds line on Exaggerator is 6-to-5, and I think he'll be 7-to-5 at off time. For FREE Brisnet.com Ultimate Past Performances of this year's Belmont Stakes, CLICK HERE.
Odds on is rare air for a Belmont Stakes without a Triple Crown on the line. In fact, it's rarer than the Triple Crown itself, as it hasn't happened since 1976 when Bold Forbes won at 9-to-10.
In that time, A.P. Indy was 11-to-10, Point Given was 1.35-to-1, and Afleet Alex was 1.15-to-1. All three won, but none were odds on. A.P. Indy would have been the favorite in the Derby but missed both it and the Preakness. Point Given finished fifth and Afleet Alex third in the Derby before both won the Preakness. Exaggerator is more accomplished in the sense he was second to an undefeated champion in the Derby (whereas Point Given was 5th to Monarchos and Afleet Alex finished behind bombs Giacomo and Closing Arguement), but I don't think that's enough to tip scale into odds on territory.
Any wiggle room on the favorite's price might come from what the bottom three choices--maiden Trojan Nation and maiden winners Seeking the Soul and Forever d'Oro--go off at. Donovan made them 30-to-1 on his line, but that was likely out of "respect" and not making anyone's horse 50-to-1 or worse in a Grade 1 race. I have no such restrictions and made that trio 50-to-1 each.
Gettysburg was the fourth horse Donovan made 30-to-1, and that feels like the right price on an afterthought entry but a known entity on the Triple Crown trail. Everyone else comes down to a matter of taste, and if you like anyone but Exaggerator, I think you'll be happy with your price.
For the odds of every Belmont Stakes favorite since 1979, including whether that horse had won either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes as well as who actually won the race, how many horses s/he beat, and what s/he paid to win, see the chart below.