There may not be as much fanfare for the 2021 Belmont Stakes with no Triple Crown up for grabs, but there will be a crowd, which will be a welcomed sight for race officials. Last year's event was held behind closed doors, but roughly 11,000 spectators will be inside Belmont Park for the 6:49 p.m. ET post time on Saturday evening. The Belmont Stakes 2021 will be the longest of the Triple Crown races, stretching out for 1 ½ miles as eight horses compete for the $1.5 million purse. The winner will earn $800,000, and the 2-1 favorite to win that prize is the Brad Cox-trained Essential Quality.
With five wins in six career starts, Essential Quality leads the 2021 Belmont Stakes odds, just ahead of Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer (3-1). Other 2021 Belmont Stakes horses to watch include Hot Rod Charlie (7-2), Rock Your World (9-2) and Known Agenda (6-1). With an evenly-matched field set to enter the starting gate on Saturday, you'll want to see what racing insider Bob Weir has to say before making any 2021 Belmont Stakes picks.
Based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Weir has been handicapping and following horse racing since reading Andy Beyer's landmark handicapping book "Picking Winners" in the late 1980s. Weir is highly invested in the Beyer Speed Figure, a number assigned to every race run by a horse that measures how fast the horse ran. He uses the figure as the backbone of his handicapping. In fact, thanks to his proficiency with speed figures and top-tier handicapping, he landed one of just eight spots on Beyer's figure-making team in 2017, a position he holds to this day.
Weir's methodology has produced multiple five-figure days. In 2014, he hit a $60,000 Pick 6 at Del Mar. The following year, he nailed a $31,000 Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park. In 2016 and 2017, Weir qualified for the prestigious National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas.
Last year, his first for SportsLine, Weir was on fire. On June 13, Weir hit a $2 superfecta in the Ogden Phipps Stakes that paid a whopping $1,039. He crushed the exacta and trifecta in the Forego Stakes in August for $1,134.50. He hit the late Pick 4 at Belmont Park on June 18, June 19, June 25, July 2 and July 5, with the June 25 score returning a whopping $2,159.50.
This year, he hit the exacta in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, Tampa Bay Derby and Peter Pan Stakes and the trifecta in the Risen Star Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes, with the Tampa Bay Derby score returning $1,414. On May 16 he also hit the Pick 6 at Santa Anita Park. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, Weir has handicapped the 2021 Belmont Stakes contenders, made his picks and constructed his bets. You can only see them here.
Top 2021 Belmont Stakes predictions
After studying the past results of every horse, Weir isn't backing Rombauer, who is 3-1 on the morning line, behind only Essential Quality. A winner of $890,000 in his career, this Michael McCarthy trainee has three wins, one second and one third in seven career starts. Five weeks ago, he came from off the pace to win the Preakness Stakes at a juicy 11-1.
But even Rombauer owner John Fradkin has expressed concern about the colt's ability to match -- much less improve upon -- his career-best effort from the Preakness after just three weeks' rest. "Obviously, a repeat of that Preakness race makes him a factor, but I think that was the day to have him, at 11-1, not on Saturday at much lower odds against a tougher field," Weir tells SportsLine. "I will only use him in third and fourth."
Another curveball: Weir is high on Known Agenda at 6-1. He's getting the fifth-highest odds on the board, lower than only Bourbonic (15-1), Overtook (20-1) and France Go de Ina (30-1). His Belmont odds would unquestionably be lower had he performed better at Churchill Downs, where he finished a disappointing ninth in the Kentucky Derby despite having the third-lowest odds in that field.
Weir believes Known Agenda drawing the rail position at the Kentucky Derby contributed to his woes. And he also is well aware of his strong winning run at the Florida Derby in March. Trainer Todd Pletcher "knows how to get a horse ready for the Belmont," Weir said. He likes his chances to hit the board and will feature Known Agenda, who will break from post No. 6, prominently in his 2021 Belmont Stakes bets.
How to make 2021 Belmont Stakes picks, bets
Weir is high on two horses who "seem capable of handling the additional distance of the Belmont." He also is high on an outsider who "could be tough." Weir is including these horses in his 2021 Belmont Stakes bets, and so should you. He's sharing which horses to back only at SportsLine.
So who wins the Belmont Stakes 2021? And which outsider will shock horse racing? Check out the latest Belmont Stakes odds 2021 below, then visit SportsLine to see Weir's picks for the Belmont Stakes.
2021 Belmont Stakes horses, odds
|Hot Rod Charlie||7-2|
|Rock Your World||9-2|
|France Go de Ina||30-1|