Excitement regarding the 2021 Belmont Stakes has begun to build. Almost every horseplayer on the planet knows the names Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie, and Rombauer, the three favorites to win this year’s Test of Champions. Up until this week, though, many horseplayers struggled to find a longshot contender. But this past week, contenders with awesome odds have emerged. Check out an update on where the money is headed along with why Bob Baffert won’t have a starter in the 2021 Belmont Stakes.
Also, check out top plays and Horse Racing Odds from Belmont Stakes for Saturday, June 5.
When: Saturday, June 5
Where: Belmont Park, NY
2021 Belmont Stakes Odds
How will Baffert’s suspension affect the 2021 Belmont Stakes?
The New York Racing Association banned trainer Bob Baffert from entering horses in races at any of their tracks. It means that Medina Spirit, the in-limbo winner of the Kentucky Derby, won’t run in the Belmont Stakes. Concert Tour also won’t run.
Although Baffert not running a horse in the Belmont is a big deal, the bigger deal is what happens if the ban lasts for one or two years. This past Monday, the NYRA banned trainer Linda Rice from entering horses for at least 2 years. Rice is appealing the ban. If she’s unsuccessful, her career as a thoroughbred trainer could be over. Baffert’s barn is based at Santa Anita in Southern California. He will run horses at the Del Mar meet this summer. But Baffert may not be allowed to enter horses in the massively pursed Saratoga meet races. Saratoga runs the Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers Stakes, in early August. If Baffert can’t run horses in Belmont’s, Aqueduct’s, and Saratoga’s biggest races, his barn will take a huge hit.
As far as the Belmont Stakes is concerned, neither Concert Tour nor Medina Spirit was going to have a race impact. Concert Tour wants no part of 1 3/16 miles, much less 1 ½. Medina Spirit is a tired pony after winning the Derby and running in the Preakness. Baffert’s owners will miss out on the races on the Belmont Stakes undercard, though. That could be a big deal for the Derby record-winning trainer and his business.
Todd Pletcher changes his mind on Malathaat
Undefeated and Kentucky Oaks winning filly Malathaat won’t run in the Belmont Stakes. Todd Pletcher confirmed her withdrawal earlier in the week.
In 2007, Pletcher saddled Rags to Riches to a Belmont victory. Not only was Rags to Riches the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in over 100 years, she also beat hall of fame runner Curlin in the process.
Ironically, Curlin is Malathaat’s sire. If Pletcher had entered the imposing miss, she would have been one of the favorites. Todd said it made more sense to wait for the big three-year-old filly only races at Saratoga, the Grade 1 Alabama, and Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks.
Essential Quality and Rombauer on track for Belmont starts, Rebel Romance and Promise Keeper emerging as top contenders
The two favorites, Essential Quality, and Rombauer, so far have looked the part. Both are serious Test of Champions contenders.
A couple of underdogs have emerged as top upset contenders. Godolphin owned and Charles Appleby trained Rebel Romance could be a monster. The Dubawi sired runner easily won the Grade 2 UAE Derby over dirt in his last. If he’s anything close to his grandfather, the great Dubai Millennium, he could crush the Belmont Stakes’ field.
Todd Pletcher trained Promise Keeper won the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes in his last. If Todd enters, Pletcher said he may run Promise Keeper in the Ohio Derby, the underdog has a big shot.
Keep your eyes peeled for more information on both Rebel Romance and Promise Keeper.