The 156th Belmont Stakes Has a Different Look



  • The 2024 Triple Crown series ends Saturday with the 156th running of the Belmont Stakes, with post time at 6:41 p.m.
  • Because of construction at Belmont Park, the race will be run at Saratoga Springs in upstate New York and be contested over a mile and a quarter, not the traditional mile and a half.
  • Both the Kentucky Derby winner (Mystik Dan) and Preakness winner (Seize the Grey) are in the 10-horse field, but neither are the favorite.

This will be a different Belmont Stakes than in years past.

For the first time, the Belmont will be run at historic Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, instead of at Belmont Park while renovations are ongoing there. It’s likely the 2025 Belmont will also have to run at Saratoga. This is a huge factor to consider when placing a bet on Saturday’s race.

The best American sportsbooks all have markets on the final ‘test of a champion.’ You can bet on the standard markets at DraftKings and FanDuel, like win, place or show, or an exacta at TwinSpires.

Let’s break down the favorites and how the different track means a different perspective.

Shorter Is Better

Traditionally, the Belmont has been run over a mile and a half course at Belmont Park, but Saratoga Springs is smaller (tighter) which means the race will be a mile and a quarter, same as the Kentucky Derby distance.

Part of the beauty and charm of the Triple Crown is that the races a mix. The Kentucky Derby is a middle distance race, the Preakness is a sprint, and the Belmont, with its longer distance, has been the marathon for a horse. Win all three, and you deserve to win the Triple Crown. (It would be like a runner in the Olympics winning the 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash and the mile).

Horses who ‘stalk’ or have endurance or closing speed have been the winners at the Belmont. But now, handicappers need to find the horse with the middle distance speed, which brings us to...

Who Are The Favorites?

Even though the Belmont features both the winner of the Derby (Mystik Dan) and the winner of the Preakness (Seize the Grey) neither is the favorite. As of Thursday afternoon, Sierra Leone was the 9-5 favorite at the Belmont.

He has three wins and two runner-up finishes in five starts. He won the Risen Star Stakes and the Blue Grass Stakes. And he was second in that photo/laser finish at the Derby by a nosehair to Mystik Dan.

Oddsmakers are looking at Seize the Grey and looking at his performance in the Derby and the fact that he’s well rested (he didn’t run in Baltimore) to make him the favorite.

Get Your Contenders Here

Mystik Dan is the only horse to compete in all three Triple Crown races. He won the Derby and was second in the Preakness (remember, it’s a sprint) by 2-and-a-quarter lengths behind Seize the Grey. Mystik Dan has a shot to finish in the money in all three Triple Crown races.

Seize the Grey is listed as 8-1. He has 10 starts and has won four times. He didn’t race in the Derby. He has run at Saratoga before (and that probably matters).

If you’re looking for longshots, Mindframe has 7-2 odds. This will only be his third start, but he’s won both of his two previous races by at least seven lengths. The longest long shot is Protective at 20-1, but he has credentials too. He’s trained by Todd Pletcher and is being ridden by jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who rode Seize the Grey to a pair of Stakes wins.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.