Author: Lindsay Griffin
A day at the races can be a spectacular experience- as long
as proper plans are made and followed.
Without an itinerary, those who are traveling will find
themselves sorting out logistics at the last minute. Without knowledge of bets
or the horses competing, those who are at the race will find themselves stalling
and stammering at the betting window.
As well, either of those situations is extremely likely to
cost the traveler money, or at least prevent them from winning any.
How can you minimize hassle and maximize enjoyment while
preparing for your trip to the 2023 Belmont Stakes? Read on for some helpful
pre-race planning points.
Know Your Itinerary
An itinerary is a travel plan. Itineraries can be loose and
flexible, or they can be planned down to the minute, depending on the
traveler's destination and desires.
The Belmont Stakes takes place at Belmont Park, a race track
in the city of Elmont, New York. Although many who choose to attend the race
are undoubtedly locals on the hunt for quick entertainment, most who are making
plans ahead of time to attend the Belmont Stakes will have to find travel and
Whether you choose to fly or drive depends on your budget,
available time, and comfort level. Traveling by plane is certainly faster, and
more comfortable and convenient for many. However, flying to New York in the
early summer can be expensive, and you will find yourself dealing with more
crowds than you likely would on a road trip.
Unless you or a generous friend or family live close to the
track, hotel accommodations will be a must.
Like with Louisville when hosting the Kentucky Derby, Elmont
in late May and early June is designed to host many tourists. However, if you
do not book your hotel stay early, availability will dry up and prices will
As with most hotel stays, those in Elmont with more
conveniences and accommodations are going to be more expensive. However, many
hotels closer to Belmont Park will also likely charge higher prices.
If you are a tourist attending any major sporting event,
particularly one in or near a big city (Elmont is - miles from New York City),
you will want to avoid driving to or parking at the actual venue.
Instead, you will want to make use of public or mass transit
Most hotels that are reasonably close to the track will have
pre-scheduled shuttle service to and from the track. Often these services are
included with hotel booking and so do not cost extra money, although gratuity
for the driver is usually a polite expectation. Other options for transport to
the track include buses, taxis, and ride sharing apps such as Uber or Lyft.
As far as what to bring to the track, traveling light is
typically more convenient. Any trip to the race track is likely to involve a
lot of walking, and carrying around several parcels is not only physically
cumbersome, but can make one a target for thieves.
In general, not much is needed beyond your money and your
identification, although sunscreen would also be a good selection if you are planning
to spend most of your day outside of a private owners' box.
Get informed about the history of the competition and the
past winners with this guide: twinspires.com/belmont-stakes/winners
Fashion is an essential consideration for many hoping to be
seen at the race track, and while the June meet at Belmont Park is not as
formal as the July-August meet at Saratoga, the Belmont Stakes is still a major
sporting event. You will want to pack clothes that are stylish, but light and
cool enough to survive the summer heat. Wide-brimmed hats provide both fashion
Don't forget that most visits to the track involve a lot of
walking, so take that into consideration when packing footwear. Heels may be
fashionable, but limping and blisters are not.
Know Your Bets
Many novice racegoers are surprised to learn that there is
more involved in betting than simply selecting one horse and cashing in if that
horse wins. There are several different ways to wager, and the savvy bettor knows how to balance risk and
Win, Place, Show
These types of bets are â€œstraightâ€ bets. They involve a
single horse in a single race, and are generally easier to understand and keep
track of than exotic wagers.
A win bet is fairly self-explanatory. The bettor chooses a
horse that they think will cross the line first, and if that happens, they
Payouts for win bets reflect the odds shown on the tote
boards and basic betting programs or apps, which makes it easy to calculate how
much money a successful wager will bring in. For example, Mage won the Kentucky
Derby at odds of 8-1, meaning that a winning bet paid eight dollars for every
dollar wagered. National Treasure won the Preakness at odds of 5-2, which meant
that a win bet placed on him returned five dollars for every two dollars
wagered, or $2.50 for every one dollar.
Place and show bets offer more opportunities to win,
although the payouts can be significantly reduced. If you bet a horse to place,
you are betting on that horse coming in first or second; show bets are cashed
if the horse finishes first, second, or third. The betting pools collected for
place and show bets are different from the pools for win bets, meaning that the
odds displayed for each horse do not display what will be paid out for a place
or show bet.
Exotic wagers are wagers that involve either multiple horses in a single race, or multiple (typically pre-selected and consecutive) races. They are much more difficult to win, but can offer a much higher reward.
Exactas, trifectas, and superfectas are bets that involve picking
the first two, three, or four (respectively) finishers in a race. You can
choose to play them straight, meaning that you choose each horse's specific
finish position, or you can â€œboxâ€ your wager, meaning that the selected horses
can finish in any order.
For example, a straight exacta in the Preakness would have
involved picking National Treasure to win and Blazing Sevens to finish second.
A boxed exacta would have involved picking Blazing Sevens for first or second,
and National Treasure for first or second. For this reason, boxed wagers cost
more than straight ones, as the bettor is essentially betting on multiple
scenarios: one in which National Treasure outfinishes Blazing Sevens, and one
in which Blazing Sevens beats National Treasure. Both bets, however, would have
paid out the same $15.90 per dollar per scenario.
Tracks also offer Daily Doubles and Pick 3, 4, 5, and 6
wagers, which involve choosing the winners of multiple races. The Preakness was
a part of several of these wagers, one of which was a special double with a
race for three-year-old fillies called the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. Those who
selected National Treasure and Taxed in this particular wager would have
received a payout of $93.40 per dollar wagered.
Know the Contenders
Of course, knowing how to bet is not very helpful if you do
not know who to bet! Here are some of the top contenders looking toward the
The Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Male of 2022, Forte was
all set to start as the morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby, until a
foot bruise got in the way.
The son of Violence was not only forcibly scratched from the
Derby, but was put on the vet's list by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
This meant that he would have to have 14 days of rest, a panel of blood work,
and an observed workout before he would be allowed to start in a race. This
timeline also removed him from Preakness contention. Forte worked out at Belmont Park on May 27th, and it would seem that the vets
deemed his performance satisfactory; blood work results are still pending.
Trainer Todd Pletcher remains optimistic about Forte's
chances in the Belmont, emphasizing and praising his health and fitness level.
The Preakness winner exited the race in good order, and
while trainer Bob Baffert stopped short of solidly committing to the Belmont
Stakes, he has indicated that it will most likely be National Treasure's next
Prior to his Preakness win, National Treasure, a son of
Quality Road, had placed in several graded stakes races, but he had never
actually won anything except for his maiden. However, he showed plenty of
promise, and was initially being aimed toward the Kentucky Derby by Tim
Yakteen. Those plans dissipated when National Treasure had to scratch from the
Grade II San Felipe Stakes and failed to fire in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby,
but the colt shipped back to Baffert's barn and was fresh for a Preakness run
that suited his running style.
Angel of Empire
Angel of Empire took over Kentucky Derby favoritism upon
Forte's scratch. The son of Classic Empire came running late and was a closing
third behind Mage and Two Phil's.
Angel of Empire, who is trained by Brad Cox, started his
career inauspiciously. He broke his maiden at Horseshoe Indianapolis and floundered
in a Kentucky Downs allowance race before closing out the year with a win in an
allowance race at Horseshoe. However, he has blossomed as a three-year-old,
finishing second in the Smarty Jones Stakes before winning both the Grade II
Risen Star Stakes and the Grade I Arkansas Derby.
Todd Pletcher may have the champ in his barn, but his
stablemate, Tapit Trice, is a horse who many think may be even better suited
for the Belmont Stakes. The son of Tapit- who has already produced four Belmont
winners- was slow to get away in the Kentucky Derby and could only manage to
place seventh, but many think that he would have given a better showing in a
Tapit Trice first drew attention with an eye-catching
eight-length win in a Gulfstream Park allowance race. He stepped up into graded
stakes company next, coming with a late rush to take the Grade III Tampa Bay
Derby. He showed a lot of courage in his final Derby prep, the Grade I Blue
Grass Stakes, in which he dueled the length of the stretch with the classy colt
Verifying. Tapit Trice pushed his head in front in the end, showing that he was
a horse of considerable capability.