Way too early Belmont Stakes odds

The field for the final race of the Triple Crown trilogy at Belmont Stakes boasts some serious competition, even without the inclusion of any Bob Baffert trained horses.

With almost two weeks until the Belmont Stakes, the third and final race in the Triple Crown, a number of outlets are already publishing odds for the mile and a half test for three-year-olds.

The only certainty at this point is that no Bob Baffert trained horse, due to his suspension by the New York Racing Association, will be in the field on June 5.

Only three horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby also competed in the Preakness Stakes two weeks later, including Baffert trained Derby winner Medina Spirit, who will likely be disqualified after testing for illegal levels of the anti-inflammatory betamethasone.

That left a large number of quality three-year-olds with enough rest between races to point to the Belmont for their next race.

There were also a handful of horses that were pointed to Belmont Stakes following the conclusion of the Kentucky Derby qualifying races, adding to what is usually a more limited number of potential Belmont entries.

The three weeks between the second and third races in the Triple Crown gives owners and trainers some additional time to evaluate the physical condition of their horses to compete at a longer distance.

Another factor that may contribute to a larger than usual Belmont Stakes field is the balance and depth of this three-year-old class, as evidenced by undefeated Kentucky Derby favourite Essential Quality's fourth-place finish at Churchill Downs and 12/1 underdog Rombauer's win in the Preakness Stakes.

Flavien Prat atop Rombauer celebrates winning the 146th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, May 15, 2021. Credit: TNS via ZUMA Wire
Flavien Prat atop Rombauer celebrates winning the 146th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, May 15, 2021. Credit: TNS via ZUMA Wire

It gives trainers confidence that their horse or horses have a legitimate shot at getting a piece of the $1.5 million purse.

The draw for the Belmont Stakes will take place on June 1, so until then, most attempts to figure out who will be in the field are educated guesses.

The number of entries that actually break from the starting gate will probably range from eight to 12, and here is a look at the favorites who might enter and what their odds could look like.

Essential Quality

The Brad Cox trained colt came into the Kentucky Derby as a highly touted favorite, but his narrow victory in the Blue Grass Stakes should have served as a warning sign that apparently early oddsmakers still are not heeding as he is a 7/2 favorite.

Hot Rod Charlie

The third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby and winner of the Louisiana Derby was able to stay ahead of Essential Quality on the first Saturday in May and has exhibited good closing speed with 9/2 odds in the Belmont Stakes.

Rombauer

The winner of the Preakness Stakes pulled off a stunning upset over the favorites, but he won't sneak up on anyone at the Belmont Stakes, with the oddsmakers making him one of the top contenders at 5/1.

Rock Your World

The winner of the Pasadena Stakes and Santa Anita Derby came into the Kentucky Derby undefeated in three races but got caught in early traffic and finished 17th in the Triple Crown opener. He is getting the benefit of the doubt with favorable early odds of 6/1.