What To Bet Right Now at Belmont

WHAT TO BET RIGHT NOW AT BELMONT PARK

There are few race meets as important as the Belmont Fall Championship Meet, which contains all of New York's key prep races for the Breeders' Cup. Besides just stakes races, Belmont also offers top-notch racing day-in-and-day-out throughout the season and plenty of excellent opportunities for horseplayers to make money.

Every serious horseplayer plays Belmont during the fall of every year, so it will pay quick and important dividends for handicappers who can keep abreast to the goings-on, tips, trends, and winning track profiles at Belmont that always prevail, in order to win.

Belmont's fall meet continues through September until the end October, concluding just as the Thoroughbred racing calendar marches steadily onward toward the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Belmont has the best racing to offer at this time of year, including the best 2-year-olds, and the best turf racing of the season. Plus, the Belmont Park fall meet is called the "Championship Meet" for a good reason. Belmont runs the biggest amount of important fall stakes races that lead up to the Breeders' Cup, and also includes so many different classes of stakes races in nearly every division.

Nobody does the "Breeders' Cup preview" concept better than Belmont Park, which has overloaded its "Super Saturdays" so full of stakes races, that they now require two Super Saturdays. The final Belmont Super Saturday of 2015 will be on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Foremost amongst Belmont's fall stakes races are the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" events, which offer automatic berths into the Breeders' Cup. These races will be nationally televised events offering prime watching and wagering opportunities on many horses that will be making their next starts in the Breeders' Cup.

Remaining Belmont Park Breeders' Cup "Win And You're In" Schedule

Date:Race:Prep for:2015 Purse:
Oct. 3Jockey Club Gold CupClassic or Dirt Mile$1,000,000
Oct. 3Flower BowlFilly & Mare Turf$500,000
Oct. 3ChampagneJuvenile$500,000

Other important races being run Oct. 3 include the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap at a mile (Dirt Mile), the G1 Frizette (Juvenile Fillies), and the Grade 3, $500,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-old turfers.

BELMONT MAIN TRACK WINNING PROFILE - PACE AND POSTS

Belmont runs almost exclusively one-turn races on dirt at all distances, ranging from 5 furlongs to 9 furlongs. Belmont Park 1¼-mile races, and 1½-mile dirt races are rare (except the Belmont Stakes, of course). Therefore, a horse's two-turn record is not as important as its one-turn record for the purposes of evaluating Belmont's main track route races.

On the Belmont main track, speed is an extremely handy commodity. Sure, late runners will have every opportunity to close at Belmont with its wide sweeping turns and long stretch, but the Belmont Park winning track profile always seems to put a premium on early speed and is known for daily track biases that only strengthen the advantage of speed and pace-pressing horses. When those track biases do appear, they can stay in place for up to a week at time when the weather goes through a long stretch without changing.

So far at the 2015 fall meet, the track biases have been all over the place. There have been a lot of fair tracks, but also an outside bias noted several days between Sept. 12-16, a speed bias on Sept. 25, and an anti-speed bias on Sept. 18.

Here is a list of track biases noted at Belmont early in the 2015 fall meet so far:

Belmont Track Biases (Sept. 11 - Sept. 27)
Sept. 25 - Speed bias
Sept. 18 - Off-the-pace advantage
Sept. 16 - Outside preferred
Sept. 13 - Outside bias
Sept. 12 - Outside rally wide bias

On the Belmont main track, always assume the prevailing bias will favor speed horses, and horses able to stay within 2 1/2 lengths of the early pace in sprints, and within 4 lengths of the early pace in routes.

Main Track Posts

So far at the 2015 Belmont fall meet, the inside posts have done extremely well on the main track in both sprints and routes. This in in spite of an outside bias on the main track for three days early in the meet. Even so, the inside posts have enjoyed a strong advantage so far.

In dirt sprints, the rail has won at 14% so far, and nearly every winner has come from posts 1-7. Horses breaking from outside post 7 are only a combined 2-for-36 for a 5.5% win percentage.

In dirt routes, the inside advantage has been even stronger so far at the 2015 fall meet. The rail has won 23%, and all but one dirt route has been won by a horse from posts 1-5. Horses breaking from posts 6 and outward have compiled a terrible win record of a combined 1-for-30.

Belmont Dirt Post Position Stats
(Sept. 11 - Sept. 27)

 

Dirt Sprints

 

 

Dirt Routes

 

Post

W-S

%

 

W-S

%

1

6-43

14%

 

5-22

23%

2

2-43

5%

 

4-22

18%

3

5-43

12%

 

2-22

9%

4

7-43

16%

 

5-22

23%

5

12-42

29%

 

5-20

25%

6

4-36

11%

 

1-17

6%

75-3116% 0-90%
81-186% 0-20%
90-70% 0-10%
101-520% 0-10%
110-30%   
120-30%   

Of course, nothing beats a good old horse-for-the-course when handicapping Belmont dirt races. Certain horses love the Belmont dirt surface and others cannot do their best running there. Part of this preference for the local oval has to do with the track layout as well, with Belmont's wide sweeping turns helping some horses and hurting others. The horse for the course angle is always a big handicapping positive, but it seems even more potent as a betting angle at Belmont Park.

BELMONT TURF RACING

On the Belmont turf, both the inner turf and the outer turf courses are big, wide, and fair, and feature long stretch runs. Outside turf posts are a concern between one mile and 1 1/8 miles, but less so at other distances. Horses breaking from the far outside in one-mile races and 1 1/16-mile races can be most negatively affected by outside posts.

At one mile on the Widener turf course, posts 8-12 should be expected to win for about a combined 5% at a mile, while posts 9-12 should win about 6% at 1 1/16-miles. On the inner turf course at 1 1/16-miles, horses from posts 8 and outward also can be expected to win only about 5% at a time. At 1 1/8-miles, posts 8 and out may win only about 7%.

Notably, weather has a big impact on Belmont Fall turf racing, and it's something worth looking out for. For the first half of the Belmont Fall Championship Meet, temperatures can still be quite hot at times, and the courses can really get baked firm by a lack of rain. During the latter portions of the Belmont fall meet into October, however, things will begin to soften up as the area is often affected by raw fall showers that keep the courses a bit moist, even under "firm" conditions.

Most grass horses will make more than one turf start at the Belmont fall meet. Many will even make three starts and some will make four turf starts. Differing turf conditions later in the meet mean that horses that ran well early in the meet often don't run nearly the same way in their turf starts later in the meet, and horses that ran bad often don't run nearly as lousy. This angle is a particularly effective moneymaker when you see front-running horses that benefited from the course conditions early in the meet that you can downgrade as likely underlays during the second-half of the meet when the turf plays much less kind to speed. At the same time, you can also catch overlay prices on live turf closers and stalkers who tend to win more often later in the meet, after they've already flopped earlier in the meet.

Turf Sprints

When betting the turf sprints, the public will be all over horses trained by turf sprint queen Linda Rice. Therefore her horses will offer little value on the tote board. However, a lot of other trainers are starting to catch-up to Rice with high win percentages in turf sprints, so always scan the trainer stats in your past performances and check a trainer's win percentages and ROI specifically in turf sprints. Plenty of other trainers can also win these races with regularity, and the winners for those other trainers will usually pay better prices than Linda Rice horses.

When it comes to post positions, logic would dictate that inside posts would be preferential in turf sprints, due to the short run-up to the first turn and the fact that ground-saving trips always seem to work well in more traditional turf races. However, not only aren't inside posts better in New York turf sprints, but in fact, the OPPOSITE is actually true. Outside posts are the best post position draws in Belmont turf sprints. Inside posts are the worst, unless it's a short field or a horse has the natural speed to send from those inside posts and get to the front.

This is not just a short-term trend. The outside posts have always done better in terms of win percentages than the inside posts consistently at each Belmont spring and fall meet. The anti-rail bias is particularly prevalent in Belmont turf sprints on the Widener (outer) turf course, where the rail Post 1 customarily wins at only 4-5% at both 6 furlongs and 7 furlongs.

BELMONT TRAINER TRENDS

The big-name trainers at Belmont who ship to Keeneland that will split their stables into two different strings, include Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown, Bill Mott, Kiaran McLaughlin, Christophe Clement, Mike Maker, Wesley Ward, and Shug McGaughey. These trainers will win a significant percentage of their Belmont races in September, and then win many less races at Belmont once October rolls around.

The October portion of the Belmont fall meet is when the races begin to get taken over more and more by New York-bred events and the trainers that dominate them like David Jacobson, Rudy Rodriguez, Bruce Levine, and Gary Contessa. Come October, those trainers barns will be loaded with horses fit and ready to win that were pointed for the October part of the Belmont Fall meet. The above-named major national trainers like Pletcher, Clement, McGaughey, etc. tend to point more for the September Belmont races and then split-up their attention in October between Belmont and Keeneland.

It is safe to assume that Todd Pletcher will continue to dominate Belmont for the foreseeable future. The same should also be true for Chad Brown, especially on the grass at the Belmont fall meet. Brown has firmly emerged as one of the premier trainers on the national scene year-round and is lethal in grass routes and with maiden special weights.

Who's Hot And Who's Not
The big human story at this point in the 2015 Belmont fall meet is Chad Brown, who continues to be hot on the heels of his giant summer meet at Saratoga. Brown leads the trainer's race with 9 wins to date though Sept. 27. His 9 wins include 7 turf wins, again making him extremely tough to beat in those races, especially in allowance, stakes, and straight maiden routes.

Here are some jockey and trainer betting tips for the rest of the meet, beyond just the obvious advice like continuing to bet Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown in their wheelhouse categories (Pletcher on dirt and with 2-year-olds, Brown on the turf).

Bet: Kiaran McLaughlin wins at a typically high win-percentage and should continue his winning ways at Belmont. When betting McLaughlin horses, the longer the race, the better. He is already 2-for-2 with 2-year-olds, and 2-for-2 in stakes races, and 4-for-7 overall in dirt races, so continue to bet him in all of those categories.

Bet: Tom Albertrani is hot. He has won 6 of 18 to start the meet for a 33% win percentage, including 4-for-10 on the grass. Keep betting him, because his $17.50 average win payoff is far-and-away the best amongst all top trainers at Belmont this fall.

Bet AgainstNick Zito comes off his worst Saratoga meet ever and basically can't buy a win right now (0-for-7).

Bet Against: Joe Orseno has some horses that can run at Monmouth, but he's not even getting close at Belmont this fall (0-for-9 with 1 ITM).

Bet Against: Bruce Brown was 1-for-38 at Saratoga at one point, and not any better at Belmont this spring. Even though he's won two races at the Belmont fall meet already, he's only 2-for-29 (7%), and his barn remains ice cold.

Bet Against: John Terranova was red-hot at Saratoga, and he's paying for it now with an ice-cold streak with a barn full of horses that ran through their conditions. He's 0-for-13 and may not get much better this season.

Bet: The Ortiz brothers in the dirt. The two leading dirt-winning riders so far at Belmont are both named Ortiz, with Jose Ortiz leading in dirt wins with 10, and Irad Ortiz second among all jockey in dirt wins with 7 scores.

Bet: Jose Lezcano has been slipping under the radar, but he shouldn't be, especially in dirt races at the Belmont fall meet, where he has won 6-of-18 for 33% victories.

Bet: Turf ace trainer Christophe Clement. He is just 2-for-19 (11%) to start the Belmont fall meet, but his grass string is as powerful as at Belmont, and when he starts to win the turf wins will comes in bunches.

 

HORSES TO WATCH AT BELMONT

Looking for some hot bets at Belmont? I have some great recommendations for horses to watch coming back out of races from early in the fall meet. These horses have great chances to win their next races.

Belmont Early-Meet Losers Likely to Rebound:

Lewis Bay: Got caught in a three-way speed duel while down inside on the worst part of the track in career debut on 9/13, but held on well to finish a clear second and won't remain a maiden for long for Chad Brown.

Alto Belle: Lost by a neck to the even-money favorite after setting the pace down inside on a slow rail in difficult route career debut assignment. Finished 12 lengths clear of the third horse and will win next on turf or dirt.

Face of Winner: Dueled for the lead down inside on an outside-biased day and could not repeat his Saratoga victory. Can rebound next time.

McIlroy: Had too much ground to make up and came-up a head short after a poor start from the tough rail post in a turf sprint. Rally came too late after traffic in the stretch. Better luck next time.

Bea Bea: Closed with a rush and was narrowly too late when second in 6F turf sprint career debut. Galloped out in front, and will beat similar in next, with or without a little more distance.

El Genio: Got hooked in a three-length-gap speed duel and shook loose from his early challenger only to lose to the even-money favorite while four lengths clear of the field.

Malibu Charlie: Finished second after a terrible trip in return from a three-month layoff when stymied behind traffic in the stretch. Worth another shot.

Colonel Juanita: Settled for second again after dueling for the lead down on the rail on a day the outside was better. In good form and ready to break second-itis

Lord of Love: Finally got some room to maneuver in the stretch, but it was too late for him to finish any better than third. Just needs a clean trip.

 

Live Longshots Next Time Out:

Media Kid: Had to go down inside after seeking a lane to launch his late run and settled for fourth. Needed a race off a four-month layoff and is prepped and ready now.

Stardom: Broke sluggishly but then sprinted up to press the pace in a solid show of ability. Faded late due to those early efforts, but will rebound next time with a better start.

Hush Now: Stumbled badly and lost all chance at the start on 9/17. Ready to improve strongly with a clean start.

Silver Ride: Got caught in a speed duel down on the worst inside part of the track on 9/16, never got a breather up front, and still finished best of the speeds for fourth, just a half-length out of second.

WRAP-UP
The 2015 Belmont Fall Championship Meet is off to a great start, and it is going to get even better from here. Keep an eye out for jockey and trainer trends and horses to watch, and cash-in on this valuable information that could help you stay ahead of the betting public at the mutuel windows. Good luck at Belmont Park!

By Noel Michaels - OTBLearningLabs.com

Check out my new book. BOMBSHELLS AT BELMONT, 24 Handicapping Angles Pro Bettors use to get ALL the Money at Big Sandy. Click here to order or download online

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