By Kevin Martin
With my $200 of bets on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes this year, I’ve cashed a grand total of $54.80. This Saturday’s Belmont Stakes is my last chance to turn a profit on the Triple Crown races. Justify will be the heavy favorite as he runs for the second Triple Crown sweep in three years for trainer Bob Baffert. He faces a talented bunch that includes the second and third place finishers from the Preakness and a few potential upsetters who last ran in the Kentucky Derby.READ MORE: Trump calls FBI search of Mar-a-Lago estate 'prosecutorial misconduct'
Justify was great in Kentucky and Maryland but those two hard-fought victories in wet and muddy conditions make the mile and a half distance of the Belmont — the longest of the Triple Crown races — an especially daunting proposition.
Hofburg is the most likely winner beyond the favorite Justify. He has just four career races with only a solitary win but he has the confidence of his Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott who infrequently runs colts in the Triple Crown series. He entered Hofburg in the Kentucky Derby where he finished a respectable sixth while encountering significant traffic troubles. Mott will give him another shot in the Belmont. With odds likely to hover around 4-1, he’s worthy of a win bet.
Vino Rosso won the Wood Memorial prior to his disappointing ninth place finish in the Kentucky Derby. He is trained by Todd Pletcher who has three wins and five second-place finishes in the Belmont Stakes since 2006. Pletcher’s great success in the third leg of the Triple Crown have come with runners exiting the Kentucky Derby. Vino Rosso has the makeup of a colt who will cash another check for Pletcher’s team on Saturday.
The $100 Belmont Bet
I will use $40 of my $100 to invest in a win wager on Hofburg. The remainder of my bankroll will go to an exacta bet with Justify, Hofburg, and Vino Rosso. A boxed version of the bet has six combinations so I will play it for $10 which will cost a total of $60 ($10 x six combos = $60).
The best case scenario for the most return on the above would be for Hofburg to win and Vino Rosso to finish second. While most will be rooting for Justify, if he finally shows he is mortal on Saturday it would mean a big payday for gamblers. That is why, considering his short price and difficult task in the Belmont, it makes sense to bet against him.
How to Ask for the BetREAD MORE: Olivia Newton-John, known for her role in 'Grease' and hit song 'Physical,' dies at 73
When it comes to placing the wagers proposed here, it requires some knowledge in the language of betting on horse races. When placing a bet with a live teller at a racetrack or at an off-track betting facility, you need to use the track name, race number, type and amount of the bet, and the program number(s) for the horse(s) you are playing. Another option is to bet the race online which is legal in most states – just do your research to ensure you are betting with a reputable company. Many of the online wagering sites have information about how to place bets if you are new to the game.
Let’s start with the easy one, the win bet on Hofburg would sound like this:
“Belmont Park race 11, $40 win bet on the 4” (The Belmont Stakes is the 13th race at Belmont Park on Saturday and Hofburg is the number four horse in the program.)
For the exacta ticket, ask for it exactly like this:
“Belmont Park race 11, $10 exacta box, 1, 4, 8.” (Total cost of the bet is $60 because 6 possible outcomes x $10 = $60)
For a closer look at all the Belmont Stakes starters, check out the Hello Race Fans 2018 Belmont Cheat Sheet.MORE NEWS: Father and son sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes in Ahmaud Arbery's killing
Kevin Martin is the founder of the thoroughbred racing history site Colin’s Ghost