March 24, 2023

The pace of the Belmont Stakes has changed in a generation

It has been incredible to watch the pace of the Belmont Stakes change just in the time I’ve been covering horse racing.

As the graphic above shows, the Belmont Stakes winner has progressively gotten faster in the early stages of the race in recent years. The 6-year range from 2012-2017 is the first in which the E1 pace rating of the winner was faster than the LP (Late Pace) Rating, and that gap widened for 2013-2018, which just so happens to be the first six years of the Kentucky Derby points system.

Running style wise, it’s hard not to move up #8 Intrepid Heart, who has shown versatility on the front end in a gate-to-wire debut victory then stalking and pounding against winners. The Peter Pan was over from the start when he stumbled at the rail, but he still raced well forwardly. His style best fits what has been winning the Belmont Stakes.

After that spiel you may be asking, “But Ed, if you feel that way then why did you pick closer Master Fencer?”

I’m glad you asked! I figure Master Fencer will be twice the price as Intrepid Heart and with my favorite jockey Julien Leparoux at the controls after the Kentucky Derby spin maybe a more in touch with the action in front of him. The 117 Late Pace rating in the Kentucky Derby showed some real running versus just picking up fading horses.

The main takeaway from a chart like this, though, is that your Belmont bankroll could benefit from some scenario handicapping. I.e. Some frontrunner is absolutely going to be able to stick around for a piece. Finding the right one could be the key, so that one for me is Intrepid Heart, but Master Fencer at 20-to-1 is worth a win play.

For FREE Belmont Stakes PPs, CLICK HERE. For all handicapping data, CLICK HERE.