2024 Belmont Stakes start time, odds, preview: Sierra Leone favored, plus horse profiles, bet strategies

fierceness usatsi

With its red-and-white awnings and its setting amongst the upstate New York trees, Saratoga Race Course seems untouched from when it opened in 1863. It’s the oldest active sporting venue in the country — it opened before the end of the Civil War — and draws thousands of people to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., every summer because of its small-town feel, old-school charm and world-class horse racing.

This week, Saratoga will attract attention in a way it has never before. For the first time in its history, the venerable track will host a Triple Crown race, the 2024 Belmont Stakes, on Saturday. Because of ongoing construction at the race’s traditional home, Belmont Park on Long Island, the Belmont Stakes will be run at Saratoga this year and next. The home of the storied Travers Stakes every August, Saratoga will now host the two biggest 3-year-old races not named the Kentucky Derby. (Sorry, Preakness.)

No Triple Crown will be on the line at this year’s Belmont. Longshot Mystik Dan won the Kentucky Derby, and the frontrunning Seize the Grey took home the Preakness Stakes. But those two will be back in the third leg of the Triple Crown. 

Neither Mystik Dan (5-1) nor Seize the Grey (8-1), however, is the favorite — or even the second choice — in the 10-horse Belmont Stakes field. The favorite’s distinction goes to Kentucky Derby runner-up Sierra Leone (9-5), who is two noses away from being a perfect 5-for-5 in his career. A $2.3 million purchase two years ago, Sierra Leone thrills fans with his furious rallies down the stretch, mowing down rivals late.

He is trained by one of Saratoga County’s own. Chad Brown hails from Mechanicville, just 16 miles from the track. Though he has won the Eclipse Award as the nation’s Most Outstanding Trainer four times, he has never won the Belmont Stakes in three previous attempts. 

But perhaps no horse in the race has a higher ceiling than the lightly raced Mindframe, who is the second choice on the morning line at 7-2. Trained by four-time Belmont Stakes-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, Mindframe has run just twice, winning his two races by more than 21 lengths combined. But on Saturday he will take a significant jump in class, facing the best horses of his generation.

Below, we’ll take you through everything to know about this year’s Belmont, from profiles of all the horses involved to info about the race and the Road to the Belmont Stakes, to where to find official betting strategy, including win picks and exotic plays, from a host of SportsLine experts.

What to know about the 156th Belmont Stakes

  • What 156th Belmont Stakes
  • Where Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
  • Who 10 3-year-old horses
  • Purse $2 million
  • Distance 1¼ miles
  • Post time 6:41 p.m. ET
  • Network Fox
  • Weather forecast Partly sunny, with a high near 72. Chance of precipitation: 50%

Belmont Stakes odds

As of 12 p.m. ET Thursday. Click here for updated odds throughout the day.

1 Seize the Grey 8-1
2 Resilience 10-1
3 Mystik Dan 5-1
4 The Wine Steward 15-1
5 Antiquarian 12-1
6 Dornoch 15-1
7 Protective 20-1
8 Honor Marie 12-1
9 Sierra Leone 9-5
10 Mindframe 7-2

SportsLine expert picks

SportsLine has four great horse racing experts who have locked in their Belmont picks. Here’s a preview of each:

Michelle Yu, an on-air host and reporter with a background training horses who has provided racing analysis for TVG, HRTV and the Breeders’ Cup, enters this year’s Belmont Stakes on a roll. In the last two months, she predicted Stronghold’s upset win in the Santa Anita Derby, en route to a $219.50 payday, and smashed the exacta in the Apple Blossom Handicap as part of a $410 score. For the Belmont, Yu is fading Seize the Grey, even though he is coming off a win in the Preakness Stakes. But her top pick is a horse who “has been training forwardly.” Check out Yu’s full Belmont Stakes wagering strategy at SportsLine.

Gene Menez, a former reporter, editor and Triple Crown handicapper for Sports Illustrated, gave out Mystik Dan as a live longshot in the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago. But for Saturday Menez is completely tossing Mystik Dan despite his Derby win. Instead Menez’s top pick is a horse who will be “right there when the horses hit the wire.” Get Menez’s full Belmont Stakes wagering strategy at SportsLine.

Bob Weir, who is based in Saratoga Springs and is a speed figure maker for Beyer Speed Figures, smashed the trifecta in last year’s Belmont Stakes for $532.96. This year Weir is high on the chances of Antiquarian, even though he is a 12-1 longshot. However, he is even higher on another double-digit longshot with a jockey who “has had success on some very good horses.” See Weir’s full Belmont Stakes wagering strategy at SportsLine.

Jody Demling, who has predicted the winner of the Belmont Stakes four of the last six years, also is high on Antiquarian. He is also high on another horse who will be “right there” at the end. Find Demling’s full Belmont Stakes wagering strategy at SportsLine.

Road to Saratoga Springs

Here are the most significant races of the Belmont Stakes trail:

Dec. 2 Remsen Stakes Dornoch was passed in the stretch by Sierra Leone but stunningly re-rallied to nip Sierra Leone by a nose. Trackside observers widely agree that Dornoch raced on the better part of the track that day (the inside) while Sierra Leone was on the outside.

Feb. 3, Southwest Stakes Mystik Dan rallied on the inside of a muddy Oaklawn Park track to win by eight lengths. He earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure for that effort, but many trackside observers believe he benefitted from a biased track.

Feb. 17, Risen Star Stakes
 This was the best prep race on the Kentucky Derby trail as the top five runners reached the Derby. Despite a glacial pace up front, Sierra Leone closed from well back to win. Resilience (fourth) and Honor Marie (fifth) were also-rans.

March 23, Louisiana Derby Honor Marie finished second, and Antiquarian, who broke through the gate prior to the race, ran sixth.

March 24 Fountain of Youth Stakes Dornoch went wire-to-wire to defeat a weak field in a performance that earned a relatively slow speed figure.

March 30, Arkansas Derby Mystik Dan ran third in a race won by Muth.

April 6, Wood Memorial Resilience validated the Risen Star form with a victory, winning in-hand. Protective finished third.

April 6, Blue Grass Stakes Sierra Leone rallied powerfully down the stretch to win. Dornoch (fourth) and Seize the Grey (seventh) were well beaten.

May 4, Pat Day Mile Seize the Grey pressed a hot pace and split foes to win the mile race on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

May 4, Kentucky Derby Mystik Dan got another rail-skimming, ground-saving trip to win by a nose over Sierra Leone. Resilience (sixth), Honor Marie (eighth) and Dornoch (10th) trailed.

Mat 11, Peter Pan Stakes Antiquarian surged past The Wine Steward to win. Protective came in third.

May 18, Preakness Stakes Seize the Grey went wire-to-wire on a muddy track, holding off Derby winner Mystik Dan.

Belmont Stakes horses (morning-line odds)

1 Seize the Grey (8-1)

  • Trainer D. Wayne Lukas
  • Jockey Jaime Torres
  • Last race First in the Preakness Stakes by 2¼ lengths
  • Career record Four wins, three thirds in 10 starts
  • Career earnings $1,819,938
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 100 (2024 Preakness Stakes)
  • Sire Arrogate 

2 Resilience (10-1)

  • Trainer Bill Mott
  • Jockey Junior Alvarado
  • Last race Sixth in the Kentucky Derby by 7¾ lengths
  • Career record Two wins, one second, one third in seven starts
  • Career earnings $494,630
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 90 (2024 Risen Star Stakes and Wood Memorial)
  • Sire Into Mischief

3 Mystik Dan (5-1)

  • Trainer Kenny McPeek
  • Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
  • Last race Second in the Preakness Stakes by 2¼ lengths
  • Career record Three wins, two seconds, one third in eight starts
  • Career earnings $4,141,360
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 101 (2024 Southwest Stakes)
  • Sire Goldencents

4 The Wine Steward (15-1)

  • Trainer Mike Maker
  • Jockey Manny Franco
  • Last race Second in the Peter Pan Stakes by ¾ lengths
  • Career record Three wins, three seconds in six starts
  • Career earnings $467,260
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 92 (2024 Lexington Stakes, 2023 Breeders Futurity)
  • Sire Vino Rosso 

5 Antiquarian (12-1)

  • Trainer Todd Pletcher
  • Jockey John Velazquez
  • Last race First in the Peter Pan Stakes by ¾ lengths
  • Career record Two wins, one second in four starts
  • Career earnings $173,000
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 92 (2024 Louisiana Derby and Peter Pan Stakes)
  • Sire Preservationist 

6 Dornoch (15-1)

  • Trainer Danny Gargan
  • Jockey Luis Saez
  • Last race 10th in the Kentucky Derby by 18 lengths
  • Career record Three wins, two seconds in seven starts
  • Career earnings $552,275
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 91 (2023 Remsen Stakes)
  • Sire Good Magic

7 Protective (20-1)

  • Trainer Todd Pletcher
  • Jockey Tyler Gaffalione
  • Last race Third in the Peter Pan Stakes by 2 lengths
  • Career record One second, two thirds in four starts
  • Career earnings $121,920
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 89 (2024 Peter Pan Stakes)
  • Sire Medaglia d’Oro 

8 Honor Marie (12-1)

  • Trainer Whit Beckman
  • Jockey Florent Geroux
  • Last race Eighth in the Kentucky Derby by 13½ lengths
  • Career record Two wins, two seconds in six starts
  • Career earnings $526,175
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 96 (2024 Louisiana Derby)
  • Sire Honor Code

9 Sierra Leone (9-5)

  • Trainer Chad Brown
  • Jockey Flavien Prat
  • Last race Second in the Kentucky Derby by a nose
  • Career record Three wins, two seconds in five career starts
  • Career earnings $1,918,000
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 99 (2024 Kentucky Derby)
  • Sire Gun Runner 

10 Mindframe (7-2)

  • Trainer Todd Pletcher
  • Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
  • Last race First in an allowance race by 7½ lengths
  • Career record Two wins in two starts
  • Career earnings $87,360
  • Best career Beyer Speed Figure 103 (maiden race)
  • Sire Constitution

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top