The 153rd Belmont Stakes in Nassau County, N.Y., will feature plenty of Kentucky Derby challengers.
Hot Rod Charlie, who finished third in the Derby, returns to the Triple Crown trail after skipping the Preakness Stakes. Essential Quality is also making an appearance after finishing in fourth place at Churchill Downs. Both will have to face off against Preakness winner Rombauer, who shocked the world by beating favorites Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon in the final stretch.
The New York Racing Association suspended Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on May 17 from entering horses at state racetracks, pending an investigation into the failed drug test of Derby winner Medina Spirit. Baffert will not be allowed to stable any horses at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 Belmont Stakes.
What is the Belmont Stakes?
The Belmont Stakes traditionally is the last leg of the American Triple Crown of horse racing. It is the longest race of the Triple Crown at one-and-a-half miles, or 12 furlongs, long.
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The Belmont is run on a dirt track at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. First run in 1867, it is the oldest Jewel of the Triple Crown. Secretariat holds the current world record for the Belmont Stakes at 2:24 in 1973.
When is the 2021 Belmont Stakes?
The 153rd Belmont Stakes begins on Saturday, June 5. The broadcast will start live from Belmont Park at 12 p.m. PT / 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and move to NBC at 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET. Post time is set for approximately 3:49 p.m. PT / 6:49 p.m. ET.
Coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
Are fans allowed to attend the 2021 Belmont Stakes?
The Belmont Stakes is expected to host 11,000 fans who will undergo a contactless temperature check that must register below 100.4 degrees. Guests are no longer required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter Belmont Stakes, but those sitting in a section designated for fully vaccinated ticket holders will be required to show proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated guests will be required to wear a face covering at all times except if they are actively eating or drinking at their seat.
Who has the best odds to win the 2021 Belmont Stakes?
The morning line odds are set for the 2021 Belmont Stakes, and Brad Cox's Essential Quality enters Saturday's showdown as the 2-1 favorite ahead of Preakness winner Rombauer. The two will be starting alongside each other in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots respectively. Hot Rod Charlie follows behind with 7-2 odds, and Todd Pletcher's Known Agenda (6-1) and John Sadler's Rock Your World (9-2) are also in the running ahead of Saturday's race.
Here are the full odds and post positions:
1. Bourbonic (15-1)
2. Essential Quality (2-1) -- Morning-line favorite
3. Rombauer (3-1)
4. Hot Rod Charlie (7-2)
5. France Go de Ina (30-1)
6. Known Agenda (6-1)
7. Rock Your World (9-2)
8. Overtook (20-1)
Who won the 2020 Belmont Stakes?
Tiz the Law became the first New-York bred horse in over 138 years to win the Belmont Stakes with a 2020 victory. Tis the Law also won the Travers Stakes in Saratoga and was the favorite to win the 146th Kentucky Derby. The horse fell short to Authentic at Churchill Downs and finished sixth in the Breeders Cup before he was retired.