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2021 Belmont Stakes preview, odds: Essential Quality, Rombauer head field

Belmont Stakes
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes returns as the final jewel of the Triple Crown Saturday evening (6:49 p.m. ET, NBC) with roughly 11,000 to 12,000 fans in attendance — a refreshing change of pace from last year that saw no fans and the race serving as the lead-off event of the Triple Crown.

There will be no Triple Crown winner this year after Medina Spirit’s disqualification from the Kentucky Derby and Rombauer’s win at the Preakness. The latter will be in the eight-horse field at the Belmont Stakes, but won’t be the favorite as Essential Quality returns following a disappointing fourth-place run at Churchill Downs last month. 

Here is a breakdown of the field:

1) Bourbonic (15-1)

  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher
  • Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche
  • Bred In: Kentucky
  • Starts: 7
  • Wins: 3
  • Earnings: $465,880 

A 13th-place finish at the Kentucky Derby was an expected result for Bourbonic after a pair of strong showings at Aqueduct, especially a first-place finish at the Grade 2 Wood Memorial on April 3.

 

2) Essential Quality (2-1)

  • Trainer: Brad Cox
  • Jockey: Luis Saez
  • Bred In: Kentucky
  • Starts: 6
  • Wins: 5
  • Earnings: $2,415,144 

The horse that many once thought was unbeatable was, actually, beaten at the Kentucky Derby last month when Essential Quality finished fourth at the Kentucky Derby. It was the first time in his career that he lost but is still deemed as the favorite at the Belmont Stakes.

 

3) Rombauer (3-1)

  • Trainer: Michael McCarthy
  • Jockey: John Velazquez
  • Bred In: Kentucky
  • Starts: 7
  • Wins: 3
  • Earnings: $890,500

While Rombauer didn’t run at the Kentucky Derby, he grabbed the headlines by besting Medina Spirit on his way to winning the Preakness. This is a horse that’s won two of its last three races, including a third-place finish at the Blue Grass Stakes in April.

 

4) Hot Rod Charlie (7-2)

  • Trainer: Doug O’Neill
  • Jockey: Flavien Prat
  • Bred In: Kentucky
  • Starts: 8
  • Wins: 2
  • Earnings: $1,305,700

Hot Rod Charlie remains as one of the favorites after a strong third-place showing at the Kentucky Derby where he was at 8-1 odds. It continued his hot run of form, finishing second at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November and third at the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in Santa Anita in January before winning the Louisiana Derby on March 20.

 

5) France Go de Ina (30-1)

  • Trainer: Hideyuki Mori
  • Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
  • Bred In: Kentucky
  • Starts: 5
  • Wins: 2
  • Earnings: $145,291

France Go de Ina’s first race on American soil didn’t necessarily go to plan after finishing seventh at the Preakness. Once again a longshot, this horse’s only two wins have come in Japan.

 

6) Known Agenda (6-1)

  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher
  • Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
  • Bred In: Kentucky
  • Starts: 7
  • Wins: 3
  • Earnings: $541,700

Known Agenda was one of the favorites heading into the Kentucky Derby at 6-1 but finished a disappointing ninth. His odds have remained unchanged heading into the Belmont Stakes, though concerns still remain on his running style that prompted Pletcher to put blinders on him back in February.

 

7) Rock Your World (9-2)

  • Trainer: John Sadler
  • Jockey: Joel Rosario
  • Bred In: Kentucky
  • Starts: 4
  • Wins: 3
  • Earnings: $546,600

Rock Your World was the second-favorite heading into the Kentucky Derby having never lost a race in his career. But a 17th-place finish at Churchill Downs prompted Sadler to skip the horse running the Preakness. Back at Belmont, Rock Your World still has one of the better odds.

 

8) Overtook (20-1)

  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher
  • Jockey: Manny Franco
  • Bred In: Kentucky
  • Starts: 5
  • Wins: 1
  • Earnings: $131,380

This is Overtook’s first appearance in a Triple Crown race; his only race coming May 8 at the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park where he finished third. Overtook hasn’t raced outside of New York.

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