Following Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s second drug test coming up positive for a steroid, the Brad Cox-trained Mandaloun could ultimately be declared the winner after finishing runner-up at Churchill Downs. Mandaloun and Medina Spirit aren’t part of the 2021 Belmont Stakes field, but another Cox horse — Essential Quality — is a Belmont Stakes 2021 contender. Not only is he a contender, but the horse is the favorite and he could unexpectedly give Cox two victories this Triple Crown season. Essential Quality certainly has the pedigree in his favor as his sire, Tapit, has produced three Belmont Stakes winners since 2014.
With five wins through his six career races, Essential Quality is the 2-1 favorite in the latest 2021 Belmont Stakes odds with post time set for 6:49 p.m. ET on Saturday. His chief competition is Preakness winner Rombauer (3-1), who failed to keep up with Essential Quality in the two previous races both competed in. Other top challengers at Belmont Park include Rock Your World (9-2) and Known Agenda (6-1). With a number of proven winners in the Belmont Stakes 2021 field, you’ll want to check out the 2021 Belmont Stakes picks from SportsLine’s Jody Demling.
A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling enters the Belmont Stakes 2021 after a major heater in 2020: At one point last year, he picked the winners of six straight races: the Saudi Cup, Gotham Stakes, Rebel Stakes, Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes.
At last year’s Belmont, Demling said Tiz the Law was clearly the class of the field, and Barclay Tagg’s horse pulled away for a convincing 3 3/4-length victory.
In 2018, he was all over Justify, jockey Mike Smith, and trainer Bob Baffert to make horse racing history at Belmont Park. The result: Justify became just the 13th Triple Crown winner ever, and anyone who followed Demling’s lead cashed in too.
Demling is at his best in the biggest horse races in the world. He has hit nine of the last 13 Derby-Oaks doubles at Churchill Downs. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both races all but four times in the last 13 years. He’s also called nine of the last 17 Preakness winners, keenly understanding when the Kentucky Derby winner was poised for victory or a massive upset. Anyone who has followed him is up huge.
Now, with the 2021 Belmont Stakes field finalized, Demling is sharing his picks and predictions at SportsLine. Go here to see them.
Top 2021 Belmont Stakes predictions
One surprise: Demling is fading Preakness winner Rombauer despite the horse being the 3-1 second favorite in the Belmont Stakes 2021 odds. Rombauer is one of just two horses who competed at the Preakness that will again run in the Belmont, giving the other six contenders plenty of extra rest.
All three of his victories have come after at least a six-week break, but now he’ll try to go back-to-back on just three weeks of rest.
Then there’s the jockey change from Flavien Prat to John Velazquez. Prat rode Rombauer to victory at the Preakness, but he opted for one of those well-rested horses in Hot Rod Charlie for Belmont Park. Velazquez is as experienced as anyone, but Prat’s decision raises questions about what he thinks of Rombauer’s ability compared to Hot Rod Charlie’s. Demling has Rombauer failing to crack the top two this Saturday, so your 2021 Belmont Stakes bets may be better served elsewhere.
How to make 2021 Belmont States picks, bets
Instead, Demling is especially high on an underdog who “will be in the mix again” at Belmont, giving his backers a huge payday. Demling is sharing which horse it is, along with his entire projected leaderboard, over at SportsLine.
Which horse wins the Belmont Stakes 2021? And which underdog is a must-back? Check out the latest 2021 Belmont Stakes odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Demling’s picks for the Belmont Stakes.
2021 Belmont Stakes odds Essential Quality2-1Rombauer3-1Hot Rod Charlie7-2Rock Your World9-2Known Agenda6-1Bourbonic15-1Overtook20-1France Go de Ina30-1