Johnny D’s 2022 Belmont Analysis

When it comes to the 2022 Belmont Stakes: In Todd We Trust! Trainer Todd Pletcher has won the race three times and has two runners entered this year—each with enough breeding and ability to win this race. We prefer #6 Mo Donegal (5/2) best off a solid resume. He’ll need to overcome a negative pace scenario, but he is the most accomplished runner in the race with a win over the Belmont strip. #3 Nest (8-1), a filly, has enough early speed to stay within striking distance of #1 We the People, gets a 5-pound weight break, has a win over the Belmont oval for a trainer who previously has won this race with a filly.

#1 We the People (2-1 favorite) has the rail and an early pace advantage. His last race, an outstanding performance, came over a ‘good’ Belmont surface and Saturday’s main may be moist. He’s won 3 of 4 starts by a total of 21 lengths. Hence favoritism. He’s difficult to ignore but could be lacking in foundation to validate a most recent triumph achieved on a comfortable lead against lesser Grade 3 foes. Can he repeat? Certainly, but there’s at least a reasonable chance he might not fire his best again right now. A limited resume, a relatively quick turnaround off a big effort and a short price make him a less attractive wager than the Pletcher duo.

Perhaps the most difficult egg to crack is what to do with Kentucky Derby winner #4 Rich Strike (7/2). Was a pace setup and dream Derby trip his ‘One Shining Moment’ or, has he suddenly blossomed into the best of his generation? His May 30 workout at Churchill (5 furlongs :59) was strong and he showed more speed than usual. Will previously unknown jockey Sonny Leone’s center-stage New York debut devour the Big Apple in one Belmont bite? It’s an unusual, tricky oval to negotiate, according to those who’ve done it best. Bottom line: many questions…not enough odds. It will not surprise anyone if #4 Rich Strike runs well. A second Triple Crown race victory would be something else.

The Play:

A: 3, 6
B: 1
C: 4, 5, 8

$2 Superfecta ($72 total): 3, 6 with 1, 3, 6 with 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 with 3, 4, 5, 6, 8

$1 Superfecta ($24 total): 1 with 3, 6 with 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 with 3, 4, 5, 6, 8