Horse Racing Nation expert picks: Belmont Stakes 2023

Horse Racing Nation expert picks: Belmont Stakes 2023
Photo: Susie Raisher / NYRA

The Triple Crown draws to its conclusion Saturday evening at 7:02 p.m. EDT with Belmont Stakes 2023. The race drew a field of nine. Despite being scratched from the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago, champion Forte was named the morning-line favorite, and Friday's early betting continued to hold him at the top of the market.

His foes include Preakness winner National Treasure, leading Kentucky Derby contenders Angel of Empire and Tapit Trice, and a host of runners trying to prove they belong among the leading echelon of sophomores. Chief among them are Peter Pan (G3) winner Arcangelo and Kentucky Derby fifth-place finisher Hit Show.

Belmont Stakes 2023: Odds, free PPs, preview, analysis, more

Below is how the experts at Horse Racing Nation plan to play the Belmont Stakes.

Candice Curtis, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: No. 2 Tapit Trice

On the board: No. 9 Red Route One

Long shot I like: No. 7 Hit Show

Analysis: I'm going with the obvious, the Tapit-sired Tapit Trice. He has absolutely blossomed physically since the Derby, and his slow-starting gate habits should not be a problem going 12 furlongs. He'll be sitting just at the back of the pack, but not as far off as Red Route One, another who I think will be helped by the distance, though he is extremely more pace-dependent than Tapit Trice. With National Treasure and Tapit Shoes on the pace, I think there will be plenty of pep for these late runners to close into.

Ed DeRosa, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: No. 7 Hit Show

On the board: No. 2 Tapit Trice

Long shot I like: No. 7 Hit Show

Analysis: I'm a little trepidatious about picking Hit Show at the 10-1 morning line thinking we'll get at least 8-1 because not only am I on board this Brad Cox trainee, but so are NYRA's Sara Elbadwi and the beast of the Belmont himself, Anthony Stabile. Can our price hold with so many test of the champion heavyweights on the same horse? If not, then Tapit Trice is the likely value.

Ron Flatter, Ron Flatter Racing Pod

Winner: No. 2 Tapit Trice

On the board: No. 8 Angel of Empire

Long shot I like: No. 1 Tapit Shoes

Analysis: Tapit colts have won four of the last eight 1 1/2-mile runnings of the Belmont Stakes, and that is not a fluky stat. His babies are built for the distance of the Belmont. Tapit Trice showed a lot of fight in the Blue Grass, and he made up a lot of ground to finish seventh in the Kentucky Derby. Angel of Empire is in the midst of a forward form cycle, and there is no reason to think he will not continue it. Tapit Shoes is, again, by Tapit, and he will bring value to any ticket that has him crashing the exotics party.

Jarrod Horak, Today's Best Bet

Winner: No. 2 Tapit Trice

On the board: No. 8 Angel of Empire

Long shot I like: No. 7 Hit Show

Analysis: Tapit Trice has the most positive angles. Tapit is a strong Belmont sire, Todd Pletcher's Kentucky Derby also-rans typically move up in the final jewel of the Triple Crown, and the dual graded winner is training forwardly. He can wear them down under Luis Saez. Angel of Empire exits a solid show finish in the Derby and won the Arkansas Derby and Risen Star before that. He is consistent. Hit Show also competed in the Derby and ran a deceptively good race after chasing strong fractions from the inside post. He can outrun his odds.

Reinier Macatangay, Setting the Pace

Winner: No. 3 Arcangelo

On the board: No. 7 Hit Show

Long shot I like: No. 1 Tapit Shoes

Analysis: Arcangelo and Hit Show show the two best stamina pedigrees in the field. Tapit is the damsire of both grey runners, and it is well known Tapit has sired four Belmont winners already. In the case of Arcangelo, his dam line extends to Better Than Honour, who has also produced two Belmont winners Jazil and Rags to Riches in her excellent broodmare career. As an extra note for Hit Show's first dam Actress, her two stakes wins came at nine furlongs, which also works as a good sign that this colt wants to run farther.

Met Mile - Belmont Double: 9 / 3,7

Rowan Ward, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: No. 4 National Treasure

On the board: No. 6 Forte

Long shot I like: No. 3 Arcangelo

Analysis: Though National Treasure might get a bit of early annoyance from Il Miracolo early, National Treasure shapes as the classy controlling speed, and should prove difficult to catch in the lane. Arcangelo has the best 1 1/2-mile breeding of anyone in the field, and his tactical speed should give him first run on a host of short-priced horses who will be further back. Among the cluster of later-running favorites, Forte can get a clean trip from a midpack spot, giving him the jump on others like Angel of Empire and Red Route One.

Mark Midland, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: No. 3 Arcangelo

On the board: No. 7 Hit Show

Long shot I like: No. 1 Tapit Shoes

Analysis: Arcangelo was impressive in the Peter Pan and he should sit a good trip on the inside.  The price is right and he can deliver the upset.  There are enough questions about the other favorites so this is the time to take a chance on an up and comer.  Good luck!

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