How to Bet the Belmont Oaks

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 5th, 2018

Just how dominant has trainer been in the $1 million Belmont Oaks (gr. I) at Belmont Park?

Well, since the Belmont Oaks took on its current name, distance, and place on the calendar, Brown has won three of the four renewals. He also won the last two renewals of the race when it was held in September and known as the Garden City Stakes, so in essence, Brown has won five of the last six editions.

Brown will hold a strong hand once again in the 2018 Belmont Oaks thanks to #1 Significant Form and #10 Mighty Scarlett, separated by a neck when finishing second and third in the nine-furlong Wonder Again Stakes at Belmont last month. At first glance, their defeats could be considered disappointing, but take heart—the early pace was very slow (with fractions of :25.63 and :50.20 per Trakus), which gave the front-running winner La Signare an insurmountable advantage. Might Scarlett in particular ran very well to finish just 1 ¼ lengths behind the winner after racing in mid-pack early on—according to Trakus, she ran her final three furlongs in a blazing :33.99 seconds.

Then again, what’s to stop #7 La Signare from shaking loose on an easy lead once again? She was masterfully ridden by Joel Rosario in the Wonder Again and looms as the lone front-runner in the Belmont Oaks, a race in which speed has been very effective—front runners and pace trackers have had a notable advantage in past editions despite the ten-furlong distance. La Signare had previously shown her class with a strong runner-up effort behind future graded stakes winner Toinette in a Keeneland allowance race, so it’s not like her performance in the Wonder Again was a fluke. To the contrary, if she gets a similarly easy lead in the Belmont Oaks, she could be difficult to run down.

Speaking of #5 Toinette, the daughter of Scat Daddy has won three straight races this year for trainer Neil Drysdale, including the Edgewood Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, in which she exploded in the final furlong to close five lengths and catch the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. I) winner Rushing Fall in a tight finish. Toinette and the multiple Grade 3 winner #8 Thewayiam are among the other logical contenders in this competitive Belmont Oaks, and that’s without mentioning the three European shippers, including the proven Group 1 competitors #4 Capla Temptress and #6 Athena.

Keeping in mind that the Wonder Again has been the key prep for the Belmont Oaks, and also that foreign-trained runners have had trouble beating their American counterparts, I’m going to avoid going too deep in the exotics and instead play a variety of exactas focusing primarily on Significant Form, Mighty Scarlett, and La Signare:

$5 exacta: 1 with 7,10 ($10) $4 exacta: 7,10 with 1 ($8) $3 exacta: 7,10 with 7,10 ($6) $3 exacta: 1 with 5,8 ($6)

Good luck!