For the first time since 1931, the Belmont Stakes will be the first jewel of horse racing's Triple Crown. It is scheduled to take place on Saturday at 5:42 p.m. ET (coverage starts at 3 p.m. ET on NBC) without the usual crowd of spectators. Despite those two unusual facts, there are some DFS games available so below you can found information about the race as well as some suggestions and predictions.
Personally, I am more of a football and baseball kind of guy when it comes to DFS, but I am not new to the sport of kings. My parents' house was a stone's throw away from the historical Pimlico racecourse. I was making box trifectas long before I ever played a single DFS entry. However, with this pandemic, I have also been tweeting frequent predictions for FanDuel's Gulfstream Park horse racing freebies.
Which brings us to FanDuel's current offering for this weekend. You can go to FanDuel and enter their free contest. All you need to do is to pick three horses out of the field in order to win your share of $50,000, including $10,000 for first place. What horses should you pick? Saddle up, and I'll tell you.
To start with, let's look at the odds for this race. I always prefer a larger field because that increases the odds and in turn the payouts. However, my suspicion is that the dominance of Tiz the Law scared away many rival owners. As you can see from the opening line odds below, Tiz the Law is a heavy favorite:
Tiz the Law (3-2)
Dr Post (9-1)
Tap It to Win (12-1)
Sole Volante (14-1)
Max Player (18-1)
Farmington Road (22-1)
Jungle Runner (50-1)
For those new to horse racing, be aware that these are only the opening lines. By the time the horses hit the starting gate, the odds might have shifted 100 times over. However, I can promise you that Tiz the Law will remain the heavy favorite. And that's important because favorites win about a third of the time, place (2nd) more than half the time, and show (3rd) nearly 70 percent of the time. Interestingly, I don't usually bet favorites when I'm at the track. However, for FanDuel's format, I will be picking Tiz the Law to win.
I know, not exactly a bold choice. But I will explain below my confidence in Tiz the Law. He will be joined in my trifecta bet and/or FanDuel entry by Tap It to Win and Max Player.
Outside of FanDuel, I also will be throwing a $1 Superfecta down on Tiz the Law, Tap it to Win with a bottom box of Dr Post and Max Player. If I had to guess, it means I'll get the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th horse because that's what always happens to me when I bet a Superfecta. But take that for what it's worth.
For those familiar with horse betting, I will be boxing Max Player and Tap it to Win in a quinella as well, but I know that Tiz the Law is likely to mess that up. Either way, let's go through each horse and tell you why that could be the one you ride to victory.
Career record: 3 starts, 2 wins, 0 seconds, 0 thirds
Career earnings: $76,635 Earnings per start: $25,545
Pedigree: Quality Road — Mary Delaney, by Hennessy
Running style: Stalker
Jockey:Irad Ortiz Jr.
Notes: Dr Post comes to the Belmont on an upswing, having won both of his starts as a 3-year-old. Furthermore, unlike some of the other horses in this race, he should be extremely well-rested, as he has been only lightly raced. His stalking capability should suit him well for this race. He captured the 1 1/16-mile Unbridled Stakes on April 25 after some early bumping. Also noteworthy, he is trained by Todd Pletcher, who has won the Belmont three times.
Career record: 6 starts, 1 win, 2 seconds, 0 thirds
Career earnings: $110,000
Earnings per start: $18,333
Pedigree: Quality Road — Silver La Belle, by Langfuhr
Running style: Closer
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Notes: Farmington Road is another Pletcher horse. However, this horse's chances of hitting the wire first are pretty slim and were not helped when the Belmont drew very few speed horses. Nonetheless, he is a nice pick to round out a trifecta having finished third or better in half his races. Especially for those looking to make Superfecta bets, he is a great selection to round out the bottom of your tickets.
Career record: 8 starts, 2 wins, 0 seconds, 0 thirds
Career earnings: $110,415
Earnings per start: $13,802
Pedigree: Candy Ride — Minx, by Tapit
Running style: Closer
Notes: Those who love the Cinderella story, Jungle Runner is for you. Jungle Runner started his racing career well, but like most of us probably wishes for a re-do of 2020. In his three starts this year, he has been defeated by a combined 63 1/4 lengths. However, he's trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who won the 2015 Belmont Stakes with Creator. Furthermore, Jungle Runner is owned by Calumet Farms, who has a legacy of excellence. That legacy includes two Belmont Stakes wins, which came when Whirlaway (1941) and Citation (1948) closed out Triple Crown triumphs with wins here.
Career record: 3 starts, 2 wins, 1 second, 0 thirds
Career earnings: $173,500
Earnings per start: $57,833
Pedigree: Honor Code — Fools in Love, by Not For Love
Running style: Stalker/closer
Notes: Max Player has not raced since Feb. 1, making him a definite wild card. However, he has shown enough promise to push all-in on him. He made his 3-year-old debut in the 1 1/8-mile Withers Stakes at Aqueduct and closed strongly to win easily by 3 1/2 lengths. Since then he's been training steadily at Belmont Park and has already won at the Belmont Stakes’ shortened distance. Furthermore, I always factor jockeys into my predictions, and Joel Rosario has won the Belmont twice, including most recently on Sir Winston last year.
Career record: 5 starts, 2 wins, 0 seconds, 2 thirds
Career earnings: $388,800
Earnings per start: $77,760
Pedigree: Uncle Mo — Symbolic Gesture, by Bernardini
Running style: Press the pace/stalker
Notes: Modernist is projected to be one of three horses vying for the early lead. He has the best of record of those likely to do so, having won two of his three starts this year at this year's Belmont's distance. The latter of those two include the difficult Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford. More recently, he overcame a poor ride breaking from outside 14 post position in the Twinspires.com Louisana Derby, yet still managed to Show. Modernist does not have the speed ratings usually associated with Triple Crown winners but has shown the ability to pull off the upset.
Career record: 3 starts, 2 wins, 0 seconds, 1 third
Career earnings: $101,850
Earnings per start: $33,950
Pedigree: Uncle Mo — Teardrop, by Tapit
Running style: Press the pace/stalker
Jockey:Ricardo Santana Jr.
Notes: Pneumatic does not have the speed figures or experience at this length that many of the others in this field do. However, he is the son of top sire Tapit. Tapit's sires set earnings records for three straight years, and Pneumatic has shown the ability to compete with some of the other top thoroughbreds. After two impressive wins at Oaklawn Park, he raced in the Matt Win Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 23 and was a factor all the way late into the stretch before finishing third. Furthermore, 2015 Belmont Stakes winner Creator was trained by Steve Asmussen.
Career record: 6 starts, 4 wins, 1 second, 1 third
Career earnings: $293,310
Earnings per start: $48,885
Pedigree: Karakontie — Light Blow, by Kingmambo
Running style: Closer
Notes: Sole Volante is coming into the Belmont as the least rested horse but has more wins than nearly every other entry. He began his career on the turf and exploded onto the scene this spring with an eye-catching win in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs before finishing second in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. After a three-month break, Solo Volante returned with a rallying win in a tough one-mile race at Gulfstream Park, defeating Curlin Flordia Derby runner-up Shivaree (who finished third) and Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth stakes winner and stablemate Ete Indien. He'll return to the starting gate after only nine days against a tougher field. Despite that fact, Breeders' Cup Mile winner Karakontie's son is a strong choice to pair in exactas, and stands more than an upset chance in the 152nd Belmont if the early pace is fast enough to set up his custom late surge.
Tap it to Win
Career record: 6 starts, 3 wins, 1 second, 0 thirds
Career earnings: $124,672
Earnings per start: $20,779
Pedigree: Tapit — Onepointthreekarats, by Medaglia d'Oro
Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace
Notes: Tap it to Win has benefitted from the delaying of the 2020 Triple Crown. This Live Oak Plantation homebred caught the eye of many locals with a visually impressive win in his second career start last summer at Saratoga. However, he then stunk it up in two stakes tries in the autumn when he was defeated by a combined 64 3/4 lengths and fell off the 2020 Triple Crown radar. Trainer Mark Casse patiently handled this well-bred horse and he responded with two solid wins this year including a 1 1/16-mile, one-turn allowance at Belmont Park on June 4 by five lengths over highly regarded Mystic Guide. He is a son of top sire Tapit and from a female family that includes the dam of champion Songbird. Tap It to Win set the pace in his most recent victory, and expect him to do it again after a three-week break. This colt looks like an eventual graded stakes winner and he’s a must-use in exotics given the relative lack of early pace entered in this race. Mark Casse won last year's Belmont Stakes with Sir Winston, part of his stellar 2019 that also includes a win at the Preakness with War of Will. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez has two Belmont Stakes wins, coming in 2007 aboard the filly Rags to Riches, and in 2013 on Union Rags. Strong breeding, well-trained, and a great jockey. Starting to see why I like this horse?
Of course, we saved the best for last.
Tiz the Law
Career record: 5 starts, 4 wins, 0 seconds, 1 third
Career earnings: $945,300
Earnings per start: $189,060
Pedigree: Constitution — Tizfiz, by Tiznow
Running style: Stalker
Notes: Let me reiterate this — I don't usually like betting the favorites. However, Tiz the Law is an extremely deserved favorite entering the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes. He's not lacking in a single area. He has the pedigree, past performances, connections, and success over the track that handicappers love. Tiz the Law was in front of the 2020 Triple Crown bandwagon immediately last summer and has not looked back. He romped to victory in his career debut at Saratoga and then won the one-turn mile by four lengths at the Champagne Stakes at Belmont in October. His only misstep came afterward at a sloppy track at Churchill Downs to finish out 2019, but even then he managed a close third. Even more impressive are Tiz the Law's two wins this year. One was a three-length victory at Gulfstream Park in the Holy Bull Stakes, and the other was a 4 1/4-length breeze to victory in the Curlin Florida Derby. He now cuts back to one turn at a track at which he's previously won a Grade 1 stakes. Trainer Barclay Tagg has numerous Triple Crown race victories to his credit and is just one of many reasons I am locking up Tiz the Law.
Enjoy the Belmont!
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.