2022 Belmont Stakes Longshots: Finding Value in a Small Field
2022 Belmont Stakes Long Shots: Finding Value in a Small Field
The smaller the field size, the fewer big long shots you typically fine, but there is always some value to be found, so I am here to tell you which long shots to use and which to avoid when building your tickets.
We have already started to see the ripple effects of the victory of Rich Strike at 80-1 at this year's Kentucky Derby at the betting window. At the 2022 Preakness, several long shots that had no chance of winning (Happy Jack and Armagnac) were taking significant money, which allowed for some of the favorites to go off at substantially better odds than you might get otherwise. The fact Early Voting paid off at 5-1 was a gift!
Going into the Belmont, the casual fan may still be looking for lightning to strike again with a big price and as a result, some of the favorites might end up being much more playable than they appear on the morning line. However, for this exercise, I want to give you the long shots (6-1 or higher) to use and which to avoid in the 2022 Belmont Stakes. Let's break it down and look at The Belmont Stakes odds.
2022 Belmont Stakes Longshot Picks
USE: Creative Minister (6-1) (Bet $100 to win $600)
The Ken McPeek horse is the only one in the field who will have run three times in five weeks as he ran on the Kentucky Derby undercard, the Preakness Stakes, and now the Belmont. However, he is still a lightly-raced horse making only his fifth career start and appears to be incredibly fresh. What I love about Creative Minister is that he should get a great trip and will likely be the closest horse to the early leader, We the People. If We the People falters, Creative Minister should be an ideal position to capitalize and I believe he has yet to run his best race. His third-place finish at the Preakness was very encouraging considering how well he was running late. The Belmont Stakes might not set up well for closers, so using a stalking horse at a nice price is a great recipe.
AVOID: Skippylongstocking (20-1)
Skippylongstocking finished 5th three weeks ago at the Preakness Stakes in a perfectly reasonable performance. However, he was nearly overtaken by Simplification at the wire, which is noteworthy since Simplification suffered pulmonary bleeding during the race. The fact Skippy was being tracked down by a horse that was bleeding at 9.5 furlongs does not bode well for a great performance at 12 furlongs. The possible exception is the weather as Skippylongstocking's sire, Exaggerator, won some big races on the slop. There is a 40% of showers in New York on Saturday, so keep that nugget in your back pocket, but if the conditions are dry and fast, you can feel confident in skipping over Skippy in your tickets.
USE: Barber Road (10-1) (Bet $100 to win $1000)
Barber Road, Rich Strike, and Mo Donegal are all stone-cold closers who will need to make up significant ground down the stretch, but only one of them is coming at a price. Barber Road finished sixth at the Kentucky Derby and the biggest difference between him and Rich Strike was the quality of their trips with Rich Strike saving ground and getting a clear path inside while Barber Road (and Mo Donegal) had to swing ridiculously wide through traffic. I would not use Barber Road to win, but he adds great value underneath and seems to have a knack for always hitting the board. Fewer horses and an easier trip will ensure a better finish for this 3-year-colt whose sire's sire is Tapit, who has been in the siring line for four of the last six Belmont Stakes winners.
AVOID: Nest (8-1)
A lot of people I respect like this filly who was last seen finishing second to Secret Oath at the Kentucky Oaks. Two weeks later, Secret Oath went on to finish fourth against the boys at the Preakness Stakes in a solid but unspectacular effort. Trained by Todd Pletcher, a three-time winner of the Belmont Stakes, Nest has an intriguing pedigree for this distance as her dam's sire is A.P. Indy who was the sire of Rags to Riches who was the last filly to win the Belmont Stakes in 2007. Additionally, Nest's sire, Curlin, was the horse defeated by Rags to Riches in that year's edition of the Belmont Stakes. And who was the trainer of Rags to Riches? None other than Todd Pletcher.
However, Nest has been nowhere near as dominant within the 3-year-old filly division as Rags to Riches was back in 2007 and the race does not set up particularly well for her. She will have quality speed in front of her in the form of We the People and Creative Minister with much better closers behind her in the form of Mo Donegal, Rich Strike, and Barber Road. Finally, while the 8-1 morning line odds looks nice, I would imagine all of the connections to Pletcher and Rags to Riches will lead to her odds plummeting so you'll be lucky to end up with 4-1 odds by post time. Look elsewhere for value.
Check back throughout the rest of the week for Matthew's picks for the grade stakes races on Friday and Saturday at Belmont!
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.