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Hardly a Stretch: Honor Marie to Mow Down Belmont Field at a Price

Jessica Alba isn’t getting as many clicks these days, but her daughter’s namesake – a horse called Honor Marie – could be trending upward. The equine Honor Marie knows what clothes feel like in a washing machine after a rough-and-tumble trip left him eighth in the Kentucky Derby.

Saturday’s 1¼-mile Belmont Stakes at Saratoga Race Course – nothing sounds right about that! – provides a chance for the idle hands of jockey Florent Geroux to prevent another horror story from unfolding. Value awaits, especially in the exacta pool, at the BetUS racebook.

Hardly a Stretch: Honor Marie to Mow Down Belmont Field at a Price
Honor Marie - Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Renovations at Belmont Park won’t be completed until sometime in 2026, so NYRA decided to move the 2024 and 2025 races to scenic Saratoga rather than less-than-picturesque Aqueduct. Saratoga’s track configuration won’t allow a proper 1½-mile test – the typical Belmont distance – because it would start on the far turn. So instead, the 3-year-olds race 10 furlongs at a venue that opened some 3½ months before Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.


Belmont Stakes Information

  • Race: Belmont Stakes
  • Date/Time: Saturday, June 8, 6:41 p.m. ET (Race 12)
  • Location: Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
  • Distance: 1¼ miles
  • Horse Racing Live Stream: TVG
  • Weather: Cloudy, 69 degrees, 24% chance of rain


Name the Problem and Honor Marie Experienced it

Let’s be clear: Honor Marie is not named after Jessica Alba’s daughter. That honor goes to a girl named Marie, a 9-year-old granddaughter of the Honor Code colt’s owners.

There was nothing easy about the Kentucky Derby for Honor Marie, trained by Whit Beckman. His problems started soon after leaving post 7 when he was slammed repeatedly on both sides. More traffic trouble ensued entering the first turn, down the backside and in the stretch, but through it all Honor Marie managed a better-than-it-looked eighth-place performance.

The jockey change to Geroux is significant. Ben Curtis rode Honor Marie in the Kentucky Derby, but sustained a collarbone injury in a training accident on May 21. Geroux, who owns seven Breeders’ Cup victories, looks to earn his first actual Triple Crown win. Mandaloun, under Geroux, crossed the wire second in the 2021 Kentucky Derby, but was moved up months later when “winner” Medina Spirit was disqualified. Expect a cleaner trip in the 10-horse Belmont field.


Sierra Leone Was Better Than Mystik Dan

Mystik Dan won the Kentucky Derby by a nose over Sierra Leone, largely because he traveled 23 fewer feet. Sierra Leone also brushed repeatedly with Forever Young in deep stretch, which slowed him down a bit. Those actions got jockey Tyler Gaffalione fired. Trainer Chad Brown gives Flavien Prat a leg up instead in what must be considered a positive change.

Mystik Dan had nothing to be ashamed about by finishing second in the Preakness, but we feel that a third race in five weeks may be too much – especially with some well-rested closers ready to barrel down the lane. Ken McPeek, trainer of Mystik Dan, begs to differ: “He’s won at a mile and a quarter already and I think he’s capable of doing it again here.”


Wait for It …

With as many as five speed horses, we think that closers Honor Marie and Sierra Leone can benefit. Those two are fresher than Mystik Dan and Preakness Stakes winner Seize the Grey with the latter expected to battle for the lead from post 1. Mindframe, 2-for-2 lifetime by a combined 20½ lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., drew the 10 hole.

A wild card is Resilience, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Junior Alvarado. Resilience made a bold burst to loom at the top of the stretch in the Kentucky Derby before flattening out and finishing sixth. A middle move such as that sometimes sets a horse up to run well in his next race, so don’t be surprised if Resilience (post 2) has the lead with an eighth of a mile to go. Resilience’s blistering work on Sunday – 4 furlongs in 47.88 seconds – also inspires confidence.


How to Bet the Belmont

Head for the BetUS racebook to play Honor Marie to win, and an Honor Marie-Sierra Leone exacta box. Also, play trifectas with Honor Marie and Sierra Leone on top with Resilience third. Another consideration is to play Sierra Leone extra on top in the exactas and trifectas. Resilience offers insurance if one of the closers doesn’t get there.

Click here to open your BetUS account.



Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.


Questions of the Day

Who is the favorite in the Belmont Stakes?

Sierra Leone is the 9-5 morning-line favorite to win the Belmont Stakes.

Why will the 2024 Belmont Stakes be run at Saratoga?

Belmont Park is undergoing major renovations, so the 2024 and 2025 Belmont Stakes will be run at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York..

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