Authentic Spotlight: How To Bet On The 2020 Preakness In New Jersey

With Authentic edging out Tiz the Law, the 2020 Preakness features a small field of 11 horses with little publicity. These best bets are worth checking out.

As with all sports events in 2020, the Preakness Stakes is not in its usual spot as the second race in the Triple Crown. It’s the last, taking place this Saturday, Oct. 3.

But the Preakness Stakes is different this year for another reason. It wasn’t just Tiz the Law who was edged out by Authentic in the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.

It was the Preakness.

Because Authentic denied Tiz the Law the Derby and a potential Triple Crown sweep at the 2020 Preakness, this $1.5 million event won’t gain its traditional weeklong publicity buildup.

But Authentic does headline the 145th Preakness as the 9-5 favorite in a strong betting race. New Jersey online gamblers can access the action via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.

The complete lineup of available bets will be listed there on Saturday morning.

Here is the field, along with updated Preakness odds:

2020 Preakness format enticing to bettors

What makes this Preakness playable?

The favorite is good, but not prohibitive. Several horses can run in the second, third or fourth spots to complete the exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagering.

And the field is a good size of 11. That ensures multiple betting entries with fewer chances for traffic problems.

Weather conditions at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore are expected to be ideal, which impacts horse racing more than most sports. The surface should be fast, as opposed to being listed as “slop” when it rains.

The Preakness will showcase Authentic and some of the nation’s top 3-year-olds in this 1 3/16-mile event. Authentic drew the 9 post in the 11-horse field and favored odds of 9-5.

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Betting considerations

Exacta box combinations involving Authentic, along with a win bet at this price, appear sensible. Some medium-priced long shots make sense to run in the second, third and fourth spots. A superfecta bet should include some of them.

It’s not a bad idea to gain wagering depth with some bets accounting for the chance that Authentic runs second or out of the money.

A 50-cent trifecta box with four horses, for example, costs $12. If you put Authentic in that box, you have insurance if he runs a bad race, because you have selected four horses to finish in the top three positions.

Authentic is the favorite

Authentic has been just that, authentic, in 2020. He won the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park as the favorite and the Kentucky Derby at 8-1.

He is a strong Horse of the Year candidate, and we’ll probably see him at the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 7.

Authentic is peaking. He returned a good price at the Derby because this was the race in which he proved he could run 1 1/4 miles. He had not gone that far before.

The victory was impressive because it came against Tiz the Law, who actually improved over his 1 1/4-mile romp at the Travers in August. The Kentucky Derby result was not about Tiz the Law regressing, but about Authentic making a substantial leap.

Can he do it again at the Preakness?

While Authentic stole some of the Preakness pre-race luster, he won the Derby for an iconic racing figure. He is trained by Bob Baffert, who trained American Pharoah and Justify, the last two thoroughbreds to win the Triple Crown.

If bettors can get the listed 9-5 or close to it for Authentic, that’s a good price for a horse of this quality. Be wary if it drops into the range of 6-5. That would greatly reduce the value.

Ah, the joys of betting on horses in New Jersey.

Art Collector gives Authentic reason to run

Authentic’s price remains good because Art Collector, who has enjoyed a strong campaign, is the second favorite at 5-2.

He was a late Derby scratch, which dropped favored Tiz the Law to an unplayable 3-5. If he stays in this race, as expected, Art Collector will keep Authentic’s price up.

Art Collector’s big 2020 moment was outkicking Swiss Skydiver to win the Blue Grass. That is a Grade II race, not the same level of competition run by some other horses here. But Art Collector is the only contender in this event not to be beaten in a major race this season.

The Preakness includes a pair of viable 6-1 shots:

  1. Swiss Skydiver, an impressive filly who has been beaten by Art Collector.
  2. Thousand Words, who was scratched just before the Kentucky Derby but is back here.

Preakness long shots

Mr. Big News, who ran a big race and finished third in the Kentucky Derby, returns at odds of 15-1. NY Traffic, who finished second to Authentic in the Haskell, is listed at 15-1. He ran in the Kentucky Derby but veered to the right and not only got a slow start but destroyed the hopes of Honor A.P., who ultimately finished fourth.

Max Player and Pneumatic, who ran some fairly good races early in the season, are 15-1 and 20-1, respectively.

The longshots include Jesus’ Team and Excession at 30-1.

Both Authentic and Thousand Words are saddled by Baffert. He would become the first trainer ever to win eight Preakness titles if either of these horses crosses the line first. He wasn’t thrilled with the 9 post but believes it was better than the rail or the extreme outside.

Pimlico is a speed-favoring track. The eventual winner usually gains a good early position and makes a big move earlier than horses do in the other Triple Crown events. The Preakness is the shortest of them.

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Authentic, Dr Post And Ny Traffic Headline Haskell Stakes Field

Monmouth Park hosts the Grade I Haskell Invitational Stakes on Saturday, with the winner ensured a berth in the Breeders’ Cup and likely the Kentucky Derby.

Who can get over the hump?

Three horses who finished second in their last outings — Authentic, Dr Post and Ny Traffic — are the heavy favorites in a seven-horse field for Saturday’s $1 million Grade I Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park.

New Jersey online horse betting fans can access the action for the Haskell and a star-studded, stakes-filled card that begins at noon via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.

Post time for the Haskell is approximately 5:45 p.m.

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The lineup for the 2020 Haskell

Authentic, who finished second to Honor A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby, is the 4-5 favorite in the 53rd edition of this race and drew post 2.

Dr Post, runner-up to Tiz the Law in the Belmont Stakes, drew the rail and is 5-2.

Ny Traffic, second in the Louisiana Derby and Matt Winn, gets the outside post and 7-2 odds.

Rounding out the field are:

  • Jesus’ Team at 15-1 from post 3
  • Ancient Warrior at 20-1 odds from the 4 post
  • Fame to Famous at 30-1 from post 5
  • Lebda, breaking from the 6 post at 20-1

Authentic eyes the competition

Hall-of-Fame trainer Bob Baffert, whose eight Haskell triumphs are the most in this event, addressed select media members Wednesday. Baffert has Authentic, who was beaten as a 1-2 favorite in the Santa Anita Derby.

Authentic bore out badly out of the gate and lost perhaps 3-4 lengths in that race. The Bay Colt was then outgunned in the stretch by Honor A.P.

“He had a rough trip,” Baffert said. “He was wide, a little rank. It did cost him. We like to make excuses for our horses, just like our children,” he laughed.

Baffert is central to one of the signature Haskells in Monmouth Park history. Five years ago, he brought Triple Crown-winning American Pharoah here, drawing more than 60,000 fans.

American Pharoah, the first winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 37 years, was a prohibitive 1-9 choice for the Haskell. He won easily.

It was American Pharoah’s first race since the Belmont Stakes and the first time Monmouth Park ever showcased a reigning Triple Crown champion.

“I was nervous that day,” Baffert told NJGamblingSites. “You don’t want to get the Triple Crown winner beat. I’ll never forget this exciting visual. When the horses were all going into the gate, somebody told me, ‘Look at the rail.’ I saw something I had never witnessed before. The jockey room was empty. All the jockeys that were there to run had come out to watch this race.

“It was also a memorable day because the Monmouth Park fans were unbelievable, they got behind the horse 100%. I told Victor Espinoza (the jockey) not to win by too much, just let him roll into the stretch. He could have broken the track record that day.

“I also loved the race call saying ‘The party continues’ as he crossed the line.”

Baffert’s record eight Haskell victories came in 2015 (American Pharoah), 2014 (Bayern), 2012 (Paynter), 2011 (Coil), 2010 (Lookin at Lucky), 2005 (Roman Ruler), 2002 (War Emblem) and 2001 (Point Given).

He almost made it nine last year when Mucho Gusto made a spirited all-out move and nearly defeated the winner, Maximum Security. He was just shy and finished second.

“The Haskell is a prestige type of race for me,” Baffert said. “People ask me my secret, and it’s just that I brought my best horses there. I have never been able to win with the horse that wasn’t the best.

“Last year, Mucho Gusto ran the best race of his life, but Maximum Security could have gotten around there twice and not given up the lead. We just were not going to get by him.”

Ironically, Baffert now handles Maximum Security, whose previous trainer, Jason Servis, was indicted in March for alleged doping of horses. Then ownership brought in Baffert.

Rivals for the Haskell crown

The chief rival for Baffert in this year’s Haskell is Dr Post, trained by Todd Pletcher. Dr Post was made the 5-2 second choice by Monmouth Park oddsmaker Brad Thomas.

Dr Post finished second in the Belmont Stakes on June 20, making a late run to pass front-running horses that had gotten caught up in a speed duel.

Sapphie Joseph, the trainer of Ny Traffic, said his horse has been steadily improving workout by workout. Ny Traffic has run gamely in all of his races. Joseph said that Paco Lopez, who will ride Ny Traffic, revealed that “he was thrilled” with the outside post position.

The remaining horses must improve substantially to be competitive. They have been failing to win in the lower-level competitions.

Jesus’ Team ran a game second to Sole Volante in an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park. However, Sole Volante would later run out of the money at the Belmont Stakes.

Ancient Warrior is winless in four trips this season at allowance optional claiming.

Fame for Famous has not finished in the money in four races this season, including a dull effort at Monmouth Park.

Lebda won a couple of races at Laurel Park but finished sixth in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby in June.

Official draw for Haskell 2020

Dr Post  Todd PletcherJoe Bravo5-2
AuthenticBob BaffertMike Smith4-5
Jesus' TeamJose D'AngeloNik Juarez15-1
Ancient WarriorJerry HollendorferTrevor McCarthy20-1
Fame to FamousJohn P. McAllenJose C. Ferrer30-1
LebdaClaudio GonzalezAlex Cintron20-1
Ny TrafficSaffie Joseph Jr. Paco Lopez7-2

What the Haskell winner earns

The Haskell ensures the winner a berth in the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland and most likely the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.

Toward that end, BetMakers, in partnership with Monmouth, is offering a $1 million bonus to the connections of any horse that wins the Haskell, Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Saturday’s card at Monmouth features five other stakes, four graded. They include:

  • $250,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3)
  • $300,000 Monmouth Cup Stakes (G3)
  • $300,000 United Nations Stakes (G1T)
  • $150,000 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes (G3T)
  • $75,000 Wolf Hill Stakes

Betting Apps Help Horse Racing Gallop Toward Haskell Day

With the Haskell Invitational Stakes a week away, Monmouth, Meadowlands and horse racing in general rejoice at online horse betting.

This is a week that demonstrates the genius of mobile betting.

New Jersey bettors, wagering through 4NJBETS, powered by TVG, are immune to the volatile news cycle impacting the tracks themselves.

They are also helping industries such as horse racing stay afloat.

Thanks to New Jersey online betting, Monmouth Park’s weekend schedule, with a 12:50 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, will probably attract good totals.

This unfolds amid another shift from Gov. Phil Murphy, this one reducing spectator size to about 2,000 fans.

Monmouth Park betting pools cleared $3 million last Saturday and Sunday despite the shortage of fans.

Wagering will likely be strong for the Haskell Invitational Stakes on July 18 regardless of how many people are allowed in.

And Meadowlands, a harness-racing giant, realized handle exceeding $4 million last weekend and returns with a Friday–Saturday program at 7:15 p.m.

That’s the beauty of online horse betting.

Monmouth cancels Friday races due to weather

Betting alert: The bad weather that has hit the New Jersey shore area prompted Monmouth Park to cancel its Friday races.

Due to heavy rain and high winds, Monmouth canceled its six-race program slated to commence at 5 p.m. The announcement came early Friday afternoon.

Live racing resumes at Monmouth on Saturday, July 11, with a first post of 12:50 p.m. for the 12-race card.

Monmouth Park was not the only track to make this decision. Yonkers Raceway in New York, a harness-racing establishment, postponed its Friday card because of the weather in its area.

This is a rare summer development for tracks, but they make similar determinations during the winter in the Northeast because of cold temperatures and high winds.

As of Friday afternoon, Meadowlands is still planning to run its meet starting at 7:15 p.m., officials told NJGamblingSites.

Online betting as horse racing’s savior?

And here’s the other thing. There is as yet no end to horse racing options for betting. Until pro sports return in full at the end of July, horse betting will still garner a lot of attention from bettors.

For instance, New Jersey bettors can also plan for the last weekend of wagering at Belmont Park and a bizarre now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t program at Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky this week.

Keeneland, which had its April season wiped out because of the coronavirus pandemic, gained approval for a five-day meet from Wednesday through Sunday.

And you don’t want to miss it, especially Saturday’s terrific stakes-filled card.

Because of NJ online betting, you won’t have to.

This week and others like it reveal the beauty of the PASPA repeal. Two years ago, if this coronavirus had hit, the horse-racing industry would have shut down, and probably the UFC, golf and NASCAR, too.

Even while the MLB, NHL and NBA navigate their returns, mobile wagering has already shown that it can bolster, if not rescue, many sports.

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Monmouth Park weekend of horse racing set

Monmouth Park will have loaded fields for most of the weekend meet.

Friday, the program resumes with four of the six races having eight-horse fields and the final two listing 14 entries. That may not be the final number to run, but both races will likely have double figures.

Here’s a shout-out to anyone in the vicinity of the big payouts in Monmouth’s first weekend.

Fun Prospect was exactly that, winning the third race last Sunday at 35-1 after drifting up from a 20-1 morning line.

Final Ritual, at 15-1, ran second and completed a $1,936 exacta.

Brimstone, 5-1, was third and closed out a $1 trifecta of $6,658.

Monteleone, the favorite, was fourth and concluded a $1 superfecta of $5,587.

That wasn’t the only way bettors cashed in on this longshot.

Race three winner Moe City and race five winner Look at Joyce were both 7-2. Putting the longshot Fun Prospect in the middle of those two choices returned a pick three of $1,967.

That’s a hefty payout for taking a stab with two short-priced horses and one longshot.

On Saturday, Panama Papers had his credentials in order, winning at a whopping 73-1. Gravitas, at 6-1, finished off a $2 exacta worth $1,468. Channel Stuffer, third at 7-2, wrapped up the $1 trifecta worth $4,012. Fame to Famous, at 6-1, finished the $1 superfecta.

What did that pay? How about $11,760?

This is the summer of prices, too.

Big M sees a big handle: $4 million in bets

Racing at the Meadowlands resumes Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

Betting totals subsided slightly over the weekend, but the track still had more than $4 million in wagering pools over two nights.

Tim Tetrick, Yannick Gingras and Dexter Dunn remain hot as drivers. Andrew McCarthy and David Miller come up with big nights occasionally.

The Meadowlands has two significant events in its upcoming calendar. On July 18, it’s the Meadowlands Pace.

And on Aug. 8, it’s the Hambletonian, one of harness racing’s biggest events.

Keeneland: Hello and goodbye

This is your chance to catch this track. Keeneland has the oddest of race meets, which symbolizes the new normal of 2020 and sports.

It has a five, yes, five-day abbreviated meet.

And it’s this week. Organizers are happy they got anything, because the track’s scheduled April meet was wiped out due to coronavirus concerns.

Nonetheless, you won’t want to miss it. Not only is the Kentucky facility one of racing’s most noted, but it will also host the Breeders Cup in November.

Keeneland packs a wallop into Saturday’s card, with six races paying more than $100,000.

Besides the Blue Grass Stakes, Keeneland showcases:

  • The $400,000 Central Bank Ashland.
  • The $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley.
  • The $250,000 Madison.
  • The $ 150,000 Shakertown.
  • The $150,000 Appalachian.

This appeals to a significant segment of horse-racing bettors who prefer the big races that draw the elite jockeys, trainers and horses. They believe the form cycles for these horses are more predictable. They throw heavy money at it.

This is another luxury of the mobile betting age. There was a time when going to watch nine live races was a lot. If one of them was a stakes race, that was a big deal.

Now, weekend bettors can line up a series of big-ticket races and perhaps nothing else. They can handicap the big events, plan wagers and contribute heavily to betting totals.

The top horses for the Blue Grass Stakes include:

  • Basin, who finished second to Charlatan in one of the Arkansas Derby races in May.
  • Enforceable, the winner of the Lecomte Stakes earlier this year.
  • Art Collector, who was impressive winning a recent Churchill Downs allowance race.

Don’t miss Belmont Park’s final weekend

New Jersey bettors have a passionate love for New York tracks.

One of them is Belmont Park, which scored a victory with fans by being able to run part of its meet this year. It began on June 3. The season concludes Sunday, July 12.

Racing this week runs from Thursday through Sunday at 1:15 p.m. This is a good chance to obtain one final fix of Belmont racing.

The track did manage to unfurl at least one stakes race per day, and it salvaged the Belmont Stakes, a jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown.

Tiz the Law captured the 2020 event on June 20 at 1 1/8 miles to at least keep the Belmont tradition alive. It is hoped, and believed, that the Belmont Stakes will return to its classical 1 1/2-mile distance next year.

Monmouth, Meadowlands Prep For Reopening Racetracks To Eager Horse Betting Fans

Two of New Jersey’s racetracks, Monmouth and Meadowlands, will reopen to fans July 2. And just like at Atlantic City casinos, there are safety procedures.

For the first time this summer, New Jersey bettors will have two live tracks open.

While the Meadowlands harness racing program continues Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m., the big news of the week is the return of Monmouth Park.

The storied Oceanport facility opens its 75th live-racing thoroughbred campaign on Friday, July 3.

New Jersey online bettors can access the action at 4NJBETS, powered by TVG. They can also attend the track, which is operating at 25% capacity.

It is likely the track will be able to accommodate several thousand fans most days, but details on live attendance are still being worked out.

Here is an overview of Monmouth Park operations for bettors and the public, broken into a couple of areas.

Know before you go: Health and safety guidelines at Monmouth

The track released a set of protocols on Monday for attending fans.

Parking and admission will be free every day. That does not include Haskell Day on July 18. Haskell ticketing details will be announced in the coming days.

All fans must enter through either the main Grandstand or Clubhouse entrances. Advance tickets are not required.

Prior to entry, all in attendance will receive a health check screening consisting of a temperature check and brief health questionnaire. Masks are required to enter.

There will be no outside food or beverage of any kind allowed in during the 2020 racing season.

Speaking of food, the track received some unexpected bad news Monday on the indoor dining front.

Gov. Phil Murphy paused the resumption of statewide indoor dining, which had been scheduled to start Thursday. Murphy cited coronavirus spikes in other states.

Monmouth has an indoor-outdoor restaurant, Blu Grotto, which will presumably only be able to utilize its outdoor operation. Like many COVID-19 regulations, this one is subject to change later.

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What about the William Hill sportsbook?

Monmouth Park will open its gates to fans at 11 a.m. daily starting Thursday, July 2.

That’s when simulcasting wagering and the William Hill Sports Book will be available for the first time since the track was shut down on March 16. The sportsbook will be following all guidelines in terms of capacity limits and social distancing.

Oceanport Centennial Stakes kicks off at Monmouth

At Monmouth, the live horse racing season begins Friday and runs through Sept. 27.

It will operate on a Friday–Sunday schedule, with the Friday first post at 5 p.m. (except Sept. 4 – 12:50 p.m.). Saturday and Sunday posts will be 12:50 p.m., except the Haskell, July 18, when the first race goes at noon.

Friday’s card will be headlined by the initial running of the $75,000 Oceanport Centennial Stakes.

Awesome Anywhere, who dominated in a starter allowance race at Oaklawn Park on March 1, will be the most noted of eight older horses.

Awesome Anywhere shook off a contentious early pace and captured the six-furlong March 1 event in a blazing 1:08.76. His jockey on Friday, Paco Lopez, has six riding titles at Monmouth Park.

The training title will be the most wide-open in several years. Jorge Navarro, who won seven straight crowns, will not return. Nor will Jason Servis, who often finished second to Navarro.

They were both indicted for alleged doping of horses in March. Although they have pleaded not guilty to federal charges, neither is allowed to race here for the foreseeable future.

Six trainers stabled on the grounds have a Monmouth training title to their credit. The list includes:

  • Kelly Breen
  • Jane Cibelli
  • Tim Hills
  • Bruce Alexander
  • Dan Lopez
  • Ben Perkins Jr.

Bettors should keep a keen eye on horses entered by those trainers. Breen and Jose Delgado are the two leading returnees from 2019. Breen won more than $1 million in earnings and Delgado more than $600,000 last year.

Delgado was a sizzling 51–81 in the money last year. This is important for gamblers who bet heavily across the board on key horses in trifecta and superfecta wagers.

Haskell excitement builds

The nominations list for the $1 million Haskell indicates the making of a strong field. There were, as of Monday, 33 nominations for a race that may have one-third of that total at the starting gate.

Santa Anita Derby runner-up Authentic is one of three runners nominated from Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s barn. Cezanne and Uncle Chuck are the others.

Baffert has won the Haskell Invitational a record eight times, doing so in 2015 (American Pharoah), 2014 (Bayern), 2012 (Paynter), 2011 (Coil), 2010 (Lookin at Lucky), 2005 (Roman Ruler), 2002 (War Emblem) and 2001 (Point Given).

Bettors will recognize a few other names in the Haskell portfolio. Several just ran in the Belmont Stakes.

Dr. Post, who finished second, is nominated. So is Max Player, who came in third. Tap it to Win, who led that race until the final turn before fading, is also on the list.

The Belmont also produced Pneumatic, who ran fourth, and Sole Volante, a disappointing sixth, in the Haskell nominations field.

In major races, owners pay an initial fee to nominate a horse. They will pay a second fee close to the time of the race if they decide to actually enter their horse in the event.

Factors influencing that decision include whether a more preferable race has opened up and how the horse is training.

What to expect at the Meadowlands

The Meadowlands, on the other hand, has had live racing at its track since May. The only difference now is it can let fans back in at 25% capacity.

Here’s an update from the Meadowlands on Twitter:

Guests can order from a server and eat and drink outside at the apron tables as long as there is six feet of social distancing between parties.

Outdoor dining will resume on Friday and Saturday nights for live racing.

The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands also reopens this week, with all the proper social distancing measures in place.

Horse racing at the Big M: best bets

The Meadowlands continues its live racing schedule Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m. While its well-known drivers have done well, a couple of new forces to be reckoned with emerged last weekend.

Keep your eyes on Andrew McCarthy.

He secured four winners Saturday, all well-priced. Two of them paid 6-1, one returned 9-1 and a fourth was 23-1 — quite a night for anyone with a McCarthy angle.

David Miller, whom we’ve mentioned before as an overlooked veteran star, secured three wins Saturday.

The Big M has also run true to form, with top drivers Dexter Dunn, Yannick Gingras and Tim Tetrick getting their share of victories.

In fact, Tetrick won last Friday with favored Odds on Sarasota. When longshot Duck N Roll finished second, the exacta paid $251.

The Meadowlands pattern has been one of the top drivers performing well, with some races producing nice, surprisingly good payouts.

The Last Shall Be First: Belmont Betting In New Jersey Looks A Bit Different This Year

The Belmont Stakes is this weekend, June 20. Here is a look at what’s different, what’s the same, and the best bets for Belmont betting in New Jersey.

In what appears fitting for a sporting world turned on its head by the coronavirus, New Jersey sports betting and horse betting fans will see a far different Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

The Belmont is normally the final jewel of racing’s Triple Crown. It follows the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

This year, the Belmont will precede them, as the Derby has been moved back to Sept. 5 and the Preakness to Oct. 3.

The Belmont, with an estimated 5:42 p.m. post time Saturday, is available to New Jersey gamblers via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.

So is a stakes-filled, loaded Belmont card, along with racing from the majority of major tracks.

The first post is 1:15 p.m.

Belmont betting: It’s not what it once was

The Belmont Stakes looks far different in 2020.

It is two weeks later than normal and has been moved to 1 1/8 miles versus the usual 1 ½, but at least tradition is maintained.

The event, first run in 1867, is the oldest of the Triple Crown events, and one of the oldest stakes races in North America.

Bettors are learning to approach the sports world that was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic as they would an outdoor picnic affected by rain.

Move the picnic inside and make do.

And what a picnic this is. The big card includes:

  • $1 million Belmont Stakes, 1 1/8 miles
  • $ 300,000 Acorn Stakes, 1 mile
  • $250,000 Woody Stephens, 7 furlongs
  • $250,000 Jaipur, 6 furlongs
  • $150,000 Wonder Again, 1 mile
  • $150,000 Pennine Ridge, 1 mile

So as you log into your NJ online gambling site, here’s a Belmont betting preview of the main event, the 152d Belmont Stakes.

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2020 Belmont Stakes odds

Post PositionHorseJockeyCurrent Odds
1Tap It to WinJohn Velazquez6-1
2Sole VolanteLuca Panici9-2
3Max PlayerJoel Rosario15-1
4ModernistJunior Alvarado15-1
5Farmington RoadJavier Castellano15-1
6Fore LeftJose Ortiz30-1
7Jungle RunnerReylu Gutierrez50-1
8Tiz the LawManny Franco6-5
9Dr. PostIrad Ortiz Jr.5-1
10PneumaticRicardo Santana Jr.8-1
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What’s different about the Belmont Stakes?

Belmont betting has a few things that changed this year. Chief among them is the distance.

This was the true test of champions at 1 ½ miles, the longest of the Triple Crown races. Now it’s the shortest, at 1 1/8 miles.

Horses presumably can leave this race and compete in another one sooner than normal because of the shortened distance. Furthermore, it will be only one turn, rather than two and that could affect positioning.

The other thing that’s different? The Belmont won’t feature the nation’s two hottest horses, Charlatan and Nadal.

They won separate divisions of the Arkansas Derby and looked to be the top of the class in the 3-year-old crop this year. Sadly, they both sustained injuries. Nadal retired and Charlatan probably won’t run until the Breeders Cup in November.

There will be no spectators this year. That’s a drastic change from the attendance of 56,217 watching Sir Winston prevail last year.

The Belmont drew more than 90,000 when American Pharoah captured the Belmont to win the Triple Crown in 2015. The national TV audience was estimated at 22 million.

The roar of the crowd will come from the bettors now, wherever they have congregated.

Unlike other years, the competitors have not proven themselves in a Triple Crown event. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes weed out the Belmont pretenders, but it’s hard to classify any horse as being undeserving to run here.

These are lightly-raced 3-year-olds, improving over time.

Who is the favorite to win the Belmont?

One thing that hasn’t changed is the hype leading up to the race.

Another Florida Derby winner is here. That means the favorite will be Tiz the Law, who captured the race in convincing style this year.

The Florida Derby has fashioned the best graduates of Prep races for the Kentucky Derby in recent years. That includes:

  • Nyquist in 2016
  • Always Dreaming in 2017
  • Maximum Security in 2019

All three won the Florida Derby and then the Kentucky Derby, although Maximum Security suffered a controversial disqualification for alleged interference after crossing the line first last year.

This year, Tiz the Law has looked the most impressive during his stretch runs in previous races. Can he repeat that?

Other best bets

A few other horses will get a look though.

Trainer Mark Casse won the Belmont Stakes last year with Sir Winston and will look go back-to-back, as Tap It to Win will take the step up in class.

The Tap It colt is 2-for-2 to start his sophomore campaign, coming off a seven-month layoff to win an allowance optional claimers on May 9 at Gulfstream Park. Casse brought him back on June 4 at Belmont Park, where he won by five lengths.

A big angle for Tap It to Win is having a victory at the Belmont. He likes the one-turn layout on this race and could come back to run a strong one.

Dr. Post overcame extreme traffic problems to gut out a victory at the Unbridled Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

He had nowhere to run most of the race but was forced through a narrow opening in the homestretch. He then showed heart in getting to the wire.

An easier trip would be worth 3/4 lengths to Dr. Post and would improve his chances significantly.

Pneumatic had his chances at the Grade II Matt Winn, but was outrun handily and finished third.

Max Player obtained a victory in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct at this exact distance 1 1/8 miles.

Sole Volante won a June 10 allowance race at Gulfstream Park with a furious rally from last to first.

The question is whether he can afford to wait in the back of the pack as he did that day and if he can come back 10 days after a win.

Nonetheless, he beat the same horses Tiz the Law did earlier.

Longshots and more

Farmington Road was all-out to win a Maiden Special Weights race at Tampa Bay Downs earlier in the year. He made a good run from the back in the Arkansas Derby and was in a position to perhaps finish second, but he flattened out. Can he improve?

Jungle Runner hasn’t hit the board (been first, second or third) in four outings, including eighth-place finishes in the Smarty Jones Stakes and one of the divisions of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.

Modernist showed grit in winning the Grade II Risen Star Stakes in February and raced with heart at the higher-classed Louisiana Derby. But he flattened out in the stretch, finishing third.

He is considered on the bubble to start and may be over his head.

Belmont betting overview

New York tracks have some of the lowest takeout percentages, which gives bettors a higher chance to profit.

It is 16% for win, place, and show. The win bet means your horse must finish first. Place means second or higher. Show is third place or higher.

Takeout is 18.5% for exactas (picking the top two horses in exact order) and the Daily Double (predicting the first two race winners)

It is 15% for the difficult, yet profitable Pick 5. You have to select the winners of five straight races, usually the first five on the card.

The industry would fare much better with gamblers in New Jersey and elsewhere if it maintained all of its percentages in these areas.

But the takeout is 24% for trifectas (picking the first three horses in exact order) and the superfectas (top four horses in order). At these levels, bettors believe they are not getting a good return.

Not surprisingly, the biggest volume has occurred in the areas of lower takeout.

Horse Betting: A Big Win At The Big M Highlights NJ Racetrack’s Reopening

The Meadowlands restarted its horse racing last weekend, the first New Jersey racetrack to reopen. And one lucky bettor walked away with a big win.

Time for Act II.

Meadowlands harness racing is back, albeit without spectators.

It is the only live New Jersey racing action, although several major thoroughbred tracks — including Gulfstream Park, Churchill Downs, and Belmont Park — can be accessed for Garden State bettors via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.

Bottom line? Horse racing is still getting a ton of action during the sports lockdown.

And with NJ racetracks now open, horse betting is going for the gold.

Horse betting at the Meadowlands

The Big M, which hosts major races like the Hambletonian in August, is an industry leader. The racing community was euphoric about its return last weekend and the track did not disappoint.

Betting handle was $5.5 million over the two nights.

Big-name drivers performed well. The list included:

  • Dexter Dunn
  • Yannick Gingras
  • Corey Callahan
  • Tim Tetrick

Add veteran David Miller to that group. He produced a nice upset in the opening race of Saturday’s card, guiding Alexis’s Beach home at 21-1. Golden Quest N was second and the $2 exacta paid $235.40. So Rude was anything but for those who put him in the third slot to complete a $1 trifecta return of $338.

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Sometimes, chatter matters

Before the ninth race Saturday, a New Jersey gambler considered betting a longshot.

And then he heard something from Meadowlands handicappers Dave Little and Dave Brower previewing the race.

“I was on the fence with Highalator at 42-1 and they made a comment that this horse will never be these odds again, so I dove in,” the patron told NJGamblingSites.

High praise for Highalator was all he needed. The comment propelled him to go big, making a $70 bet on a 42-1 shot. A few minutes later, he was nearly $3,000 richer.

This was a heartwarming anecdote. It revealed the magic and successful application of a tip discovered via mobile wagering.

The bettor may not have heard this information if he was attending the race in the pre-mobile era.

But he caught the comments Saturday, added it to his analysis, and took the plunge — right into money.

Granted, there are numerous tales of bettors taking advice from others and losing. But sometimes you handicap the handicappers and it works.

The winning horse also teamed with Jesse Duke N to deliver a $2 exacta of $905 and with Shnitzledosomthin, the third-place horse, to produce a $1 trifecta worth $2,115 for other bettors.

Gulfstream Park: Rainbow Pick Six exceeds $2 million

Here’s big news from Gulfstream Park: The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover pool will be guaranteed at $2.3 million on Wednesday.

Sunday, a few bettors hit the final six races, earning more than $29,000 each. But the jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners.

Otherwise, 30% carries over to the jackpot pool.

Gulfstream worked its magic again Sunday with a lucrative favorites-and-dogs package in the third race. Belle Laura won at 15-1, besting 18-1 runner-up Sensible Myth. Lovely Luvy at 7-2 was third. Scatnap, the 9-5 favorite, was fourth.

The $2 exacta paid $670, the $1 trifecta paid $1,411 and the $1 superfecta $5,334. This is another example of two favorites and two mid-price longshots forging a big ticket.

A player who figured the 9-5 and 7-2 shots would run in the top group could get lucky by combining them with the right longshots in the trifecta or superfecta boxes.

What happened here was the dream scenario of longshots winning and favorites comprising the bottom of the winning ticket.

Racing at Gulfstream Park begins Wednesday around noon. The track also runs Friday-Sunday around noon for the first post.

Belmont Park sees large betting pools

Racing is Thursday-Sunday at 1:15 p.m. at Belmont Park, and a couple of stakes races emerge this weekend. That’s good news for NJ sports betting fans.

The biggest is the Ogden Phipps on Saturday. It’s worth $300,000. The Flat Out for Thursday is $80,000, the Commentator is $125,00 on Friday, and Sunday’s Mike Lee is worth $125,000.

Top early jockeys for the Belmont meet include:

  • Irad Ortiz
  • Javier Castellano
  • Junior Alvarado
  • Joel Rosario

The betting pools have been stunning. Patterns indicate gamblers wagering heavily toward the late afternoon and early evening. If you want to wager into bigger pools, that’s a good time.

The final race pool Saturday exceeded $5 million. More than $ 3.5 million of that came via Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6 wagering. The big fields and shortened meets are so popular with bettors that even one segment of a race pool, exactas, came in at over $700,000.

There was a time when $700,000 was an exceptional handle for an entire day. Now it’s one part of one race.

Churchill Downs: Where the money shows up

Churchill Downs bettors are loading up on the Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5s, and Pick 6 wagering pools.

In the last race on Saturday, June 6, more than $700,000 of the $1.1 million pool on that race was riding with those pools.

This category is enticing to bettors because the takeout percentage is far less than what exactas, trifectas and superfectas demand.

Churchill Downs runs Thursday-Sunday at 1 p.m.