Essential Quality leads 2021 Belmont Stakes odds over Preakness champ Rombauer


Brad Cox’s Essential Quality opens as the 2-1 favorite for the 2021 Belmont Stakes ahead of Preakness winner Rombauer (3-1). Essential Quality and Rombauer will break side-by-side from the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.

The 153rd Belmont Stakes airs on Saturday, June 5 from 3-5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5-7 p.m. on NBC. Coverage is also available on and on the NBC Sports app. NBC Sports will also broadcast from Belmont Park on Friday, June 4 from 5-6 p.m. ET with live racing, insider previews and expert betting tips.

Five of the eight horses ran in the Kentucky Derby and two ran in the Preakness. Todd Pletcher’s Overtook (20-1) is the only horse debuting in the Triple Crown. Pletcher also fields Bourbonic (15-1) and Known Agenda (6-1), who both ran in the Kentucky Derby.

France Go de Ina (30-1) looks to become the first Japan-based horse to win the Belmont, which would come with a $1 million bonus from the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

Noticeably absent from the lineup is Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who was suspended by the NYRA pending an investigation into his horse Medina Spirit’s failed post-Kentucky Derby drug test. Churchill Downs suspended the two-time Triple Crown winner for two years after a second drug test confirmed the presence of the banned substance betamethasone in the colt’s bloodstream.

Rombauer’s Preakness-winning jockey Flavien Prat will move over to Hot Rod Charlie, the horse he finished third on in the Kentucky Derby. John Velazquez, who rode Medina Spirit in the Derby and Preakness, has the ride on Rombauer in the Belmont.

Related: What to know about the 2021 Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes 2021 odds, post positions, lineup, horses

Below are the post positions for the 2021 Belmont Stakes, including opening odds as of June 1.

1. Bourbonic (15-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche

2. Essential Quality (2-1) – Morning-line favorite
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Luis Saez

3. Rombauer (3-1)
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Jockey: John Velazquez

4. Hot Rod Charlie (7-2)
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Flavien Prat

5. France Go de Ina (30-1)
Trainer: Hideyuki Mori
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

6. Known Agenda (6-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz (replaces Irad Ortiz Jr.)

7. Rock Your World (9-2)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario

8. Overtook (20-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Manny Franco

Watch the 153rd Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 5 from 3 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5 to 7 p.m. on NBC. Coverage is also available on and on the NBC Sports app.

Arabian Knight off Kentucky Derby trail; will return later

Matt Stone/Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Arabian Knight is off the Kentucky Derby trail.

Wagering has been suspended on the 3-year-old colt for the Derby’s future wager after owner Amr Zedan announced the decision. Arabian Knight was the second choice on the morning line behind favorite Forte for the May 6 race.

“Trainer Tim Yakteen wasn’t happy with his last work & we feel it’s in Arabian Knight’s best interest not to rush & allow him more time to develop,” Zedan tweeted. “We know he’s a superior talent & our plan is to point him toward a summer and fall campaign.”

Purchased for $2.3 million as a 2-year-old, Arabian Knight won his debut by 7 1/4 lengths at Keeneland last November. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest at Oaklawn in January and won by 5 1/2 lengths.

Arabian Knight had his third workout at Santa Anita.

Tapit Trice wins Tampa Bay Derby, earns Kentucky Derby points

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tapit Trice rallied from last to win the $360,000 Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths and earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice ran 1 1/16 miles 1:43.37. The 1-2 favorite in the field of 12 paid $3 to win. The 3-year-old colt earned 50 qualifying points, which places him in the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher extended his record for most wins in the Grade 3 race to six. He already has the early Kentucky Derby favorite in Forte, who won the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream last weekend.

Classic Car Wash was second and Classic Legacy was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Tapit Trice was making his stakes debut after winning two of three starts.

“Once he got clear down the lane, he really extended himself,” Pletcher said. ”I loved the way he finished up. He relished the two turns, and the longer he goes, the better he’ll get.”