The 2022 Belmont Stakes takes place Saturday at Belmont Park, and the biggest storyline entering the race will be the return of Kentucky Derby 80-1 winner, Rich Strike, who makes his return after sitting out The 2022 Preakness Stakes.
A small eight-horse field makes this race a little trickier to handicap, as just about any of the horses could factor into the outcome. And to me, four horses can truly win this race: We the People, Mo Donegal, Creative Minister, and, yes, Rich Strike. However, Barber Road is a horse I’ll be sure to throw into my exotic bets as a long shot who has hit the board frequently in past starts.
Here are my best exotic bets for the 2022 Belmont Stakes:
Best Exacta bet: Mo Donegal, Creative Minister (box)
We the People is the favorite in this race, and I will include him in my smattering of bets on Saturday. However, he comes off as a bit of a front-runner, as evidenced by the win in the Peter Pan stakes race earlier this year at Belmont. In the Arkansas Derby, We the People experienced much more resistance and couldn’t overcome it, finishing 7th. This horse seems to need to get out of the gates in front, which might be difficult when up against the rail in the first post position.
That leads me to my top choice in this race, Mo Donegal, who finished a respectable fifth in the Kentucky Derby and was held out of the Preakness. Before that, Mo Donegal won the Wood Memorial, beating Preakness winner Early Voting.
Mo Donegal checks all the boxes from a speed perspective, and it’s hard to go against the combination of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. Mo Donegal also has a win at Belmont in his career dating back to October 2021. I tend to gravitate toward horses that have won at a track before.
As for my second choice, Creative Minister feels like a horse ascending. The horse finished a respectable third in the Preakness, posting a career-best 100 Beyer speed figure. This horse’s best performance has yet to come, and it could very well come Saturday at Belmont.
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