The 144th running of the Belmont Stakes is Saturday, and with I'll Have Another looking to win the first Triple Crown in 34 years and currently sitting as a 4-5 favorite, there are plenty of good betting opportunities available.
The Belmont is a monster of a race at 12 furlongs, so there is a real chance that with the grueling Triple Crown schedule, I'll Have Another won't have the energy to finish strong like he has in the first two legs. Here is a look at the top horses to bet on this Saturday based on the current odds according to the race's website.
Union Rags (6-1)
Union Rags was one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby, but he got held up out of the gate and was forced to linger at the back of the field for much of the race. He finally made some progress later in the Derby but finished seventh. He was then held out of the Preakness, so Michael Matz's horse will be fresh for the Belmont.
The bay has raced seven times in his career, compiling four wins, one second-place finish and a third. Union Rags is fresh and knows how to win races. Jockey John Velazquez won the Belmont in 2007 aboard Rags to Riches, so he knows what it takes to get it done on the track.
Expect a strong showing on Saturday.
Dullahan ran well at the Kentucky Derby, finishing fifth after entering with 10-1 odds. Dale Romans's colt has two wins in nine career races but has never finished worse than fifth. Dullahan has finished in the Top Three seven times.
Like Union Rags, Dullahan should be fresh after sitting out the Preakness. Javier Castellano will be riding Dullahan for the first time, so that unfamiliarity could lead to problems.
However, Castellano is an old pro who knows what he's doing, and Dullahan's freshness should help give the horse a big boost late in the race.
Bob Baffert may have pulled Bodemeister from the Belmont after he was the runner-up at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but Bodemeister's stablemate, Paynter will be participating.
Paynter is incredibly green, having only run four races in his career. He has won twice, with a fourth-place and a second-place finish in those appearances.
Baffert always turns out excellent horses, and Paynter is clearly going to be fresh after having not run since May 19. He is definitely an outsider who could come out of nowhere to win the race.
Jockey Mike Smith will be riding Paynter, and he won the 2010 Belmont on Drosselmeyer. So he also knows what it takes to win on the 12-furlong track.
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