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2022 Belmont Stakes Post Positions: Winner and Losers from the Draw

On Tuesday morning the field was drawn for the 2022 Belmont Stakes and there is plenty to dissect. Below, Matthew DeSantis breaks down the winners and losers from the 2022 Belmont Stakes post draw.
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2022 Belmont Stakes Post Positions: Winner and Losers from the Draw

There is an old adage that post positions do not matter except for when they do. In a large field like what we saw five weeks ago at the Kentucky Derby, post position matters a great deal as horses can get squeezed, bumped, and shuffled back in the first 100 yards and their race is over before it ever started. In the eight-horse field for the 2022 Preakness Stakes, slightly less is at stake given that most of these horses are accustomed to running against similar-sized fields. However, there are still post positions that are more desirable than others and tactical positioning in comparison to your biggest rivals. Let's break it down and look at The Belmont Stakes odds.

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Winner: We the People (2-1) (Bet $100 to win $200)

Things got even easier for the installed morningline favorite. We the People is the sole early speed in this race and he was assigned the No. 1 post position, which will give him the rail and the ability to save ground. Breaking from the far inside against smaller fields is much less of an issue than at the Kentucky Derby and his superior tactical speed will ensure he easily gets away from his biggest competitors. Whether he is good enough to wire the field or whether his jockey, Flavien Prat, chooses to unleash or harness that tactical speed are questions we won't know until post time. However, what is not in question is that We the People has this race set up for him to win.

Loser: Closers - Mo Donegal (5-2) (Bet $200 to win $500), Rich Strike (7-2) (Bet $200 to win $700), Barber Road (10-1) (Bet $100 to win $1000)

On the flip side, with We the People getting the perfect post and having no competition for early speed, horses that rely on closing significant ground late may not have much to run into. Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike benefitted from an insane early pace at Churchill Downs that opened the race up for horses at the back of the pack. Additionally, Mo Donegal and Barber Road, who finished fifth and sixth in the Derby respectively, also relied on that hot pace to make up ground late while having much wider trips than Rich Strike. Only one of these three horses, Mo Donegal, has proven the ability to close against reasonable fractions when he tracked down and beat Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting at the Grade II Wood Memorial. That race has an eerily similar setup to the Belmont Stakes with the main difference being that We the People does not appear to get lost on the lead the same way Early Voting does.

Winner: Creative Minister (6-1) (Bet $100 to win $600)

Breaking from the No. 5 post position, Creative Minister will have some options as he has run from off the pace as well as from the front. He is unlikely to contest We the People's early lead, but he should get a nice trip stalking or leading the rest of the horses if We the People decides to open up a significant lead. The crazy part about this race is that Creative Minister if he chooses to sit second still might not have much company since nearly the entire field are closers or mid-pack horses who typically stay off the lead. Creative Minister also represents the only horse this Triple Crown season who will have run three races in five weeks, but of course, he didn't run in the Kentucky Derby as he was featured on the undercard at Churchill Downs that day.

Loser: Bettors

When the morning lines were released, this felt like a very chalky race. If you believe We the People will use his early speed to wire the field then you will be betting on a 2-1 favorite. If you think closers can still reel in the untested three-year son of Constitution then you're left with Mo Donegal (5-2) and Rich Strike (7-2) both of whom are candidates to get bet down. Some bettors are excited about the filly, Nest (8-1), and while I agree her morning line odds might be slightly high, I am less bullish on her than many. Creative Minister at 6-1 probably is your best value play at this point. Aside from the Belmont Stakes, the rest of Saturday's graded stakes card at Belmont is comprised of small fields with overwhelming favorites. Great for fans who want to see top-end talent, but bad for making money at the betting window.

Winner: Pedigree

Running 1.5 miles on dirt is uncommon in North American racing and most horses are not bred for races like the Belmont Stakes, which is why it's referred to as the Test of Champions. However, for people who pay attention to pedigree, many of the entrants in this year's edition of the race make perfect sense. Four of the last six winners of the race had the horse Tapit in their siring line either as their sire or grandsire. Tapit, and his son Constitution, have become two of the most reliable sires in breeding for distance. Unsurprisingly, three of this year's runners have Tapit in their pedigree with We the People and Barber Road both having him as their sire's sire while Tapit is the sire of Creative Minister's dam. Curlin, who finished second to the filly Rags to Riches in the 2007 Belmont Stakes is the other commonality in the field with Nest, Skippylongstocking, and Rich Strike all featuring him in their pedigree line. With so few horses bred to run 1.5 miles, paying attention to pedigree is critical.

Check back later this week to get Matthew's Belmont Stakes long shot plays as well as picks and analysis for all the graded stakes action on Friday and Saturday.

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Horse Racing

Matthew DeSantis is a horse racing handicapper with a fondness for lightly raced horses with improving speed figures. You can find him at the track playing surface changes and second off the layoff.


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