The 2021 Belmont Stakes are taking place this Saturday in Elmont, New York, with an unusually small field. There will be only eight horses racing, including Essential Quality, Rombauer, Hot Rod Charlie, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, Bourbonic, Overtook, and France Go de Ina. Let’s talk about the odds and how having a small field could affect the outcome.
Hot Rod Charlie
Hot Rod Charlie finished third at the Kentucky Derby, beating Essential Quality by one spot. Hot Rod Charlie has now placed in the money for five straight races, which has gained favorable attention from bettors.
Rombauer will be entering the race after a three-week break, which could become a key factor in the outcome for the Belmont Stakes. However, Rombauer will have a different jockey as Flavien Prat will be riding Hot Rod Charlie instead.
Essential Quality is one of the hottest names in horse racing after winning five consecutive victories. Essential Quality won at the Blue Grass Stakes in April, beating Rombauer. However, Essential Quality had a disappointing finish at Churchill Downs by claiming fourth place.
Rock Your World
Rock Your World had a rough time at the Kentucky Derby by placing 17th after being eliminated at the start when sandwiched between two horses from post position 15 in a field of 19. Rock Your World is projected to do significantly better at the Belmont Stakes considering the field will be a lot smaller with only eight horses racing.
A Smaller Field
The Belmont Stakes will have a smaller field than usual, with only eight horses compared to the Kentucky Derby, which had 19 horses. According to Dick Jerardi, an award-winning sportswriter, a couple of horses were planned to participate, but the owners decided to change their minds last minute, and another horse had to drop out due to an injury.
However, a smaller field could open up the track, allowing unlikely favorites to have a better chance at winning. According to Jerardi, Rock Your World is considered a speed horse, and having fewer horses on the track will allow him to perform his best by having a better chance at being out in front.
A Change In Jockey
The Preakness Stakes winner was Rombauer with Flavien Prat as the jockey, but there will be a change at the Belmont Stakes as Prat will be riding Hot Rod Charlie instead. According to Jerardi, he said that Prat had committed prior to the Kentucky Derby to the Hot Rod Charlie team that he would ride their horse in the next Triple Crown race he runs in.