Hofburg should spoil Justify’s Triple Crown bid in Belmont Stakes

The Grade I, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes takes place for the 150th time on Saturday at New York’s Belmont Park. JUSTIFY looks to become the 13th Triple Crown winner (and the second to be undefeated in doing so) while pitted against nine rivals in this 1 1/2-mile test of stamina. The Belmont, Race 11 of 13 on a card loaded with stakes races, is scheduled for 6:46 p.m. EST. Plenty of important jockeys are present, so weigh this race carefully if playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#1 JUSTIFY is the deserving 4-5 morning-line favorite in the Belmont Stakes. He won the Kentucky Derby with relative ease before taking the Preakness by a diminishing half-length. JUSTIFY’s Preakness trip just three weeks ago was grueling, as he dueled most of the way with Good Magic, the Derby runner-up, then had to hold off BRAVAZO and TENFOLD late. It’s possible that effort took too much out of him, though his training hasn’t suffered. He also didn’t scare off very many, as BRAVAZO and TENFOLD return from the Preakness along with some Derby also-rans. This 10-horse field would be among the biggest a Triple Crown winner has ever faced. Trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith make an incredible team, but their colt seems vulnerable in the Belmont Stakes.

#4 HOFBURG (9-2) looks like the right horse to take a shot with in this one. He encountered some trouble on the far turn in the Kentucky Derby but put forth a decent rally for seventh. Unraced since, HOFBURG has been breezing steadily for his return for Bill Mott, who retains Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride. HOFBURG demonstrated the necessary talent when he finished second in the Florida Derby two-back and makes just his fifth career start. Most importantly, his pedigree screams 1 1/2-miles, as he’s by Tapit out of a Touch Gold mare.

#10 BLENDED CITIZEN (15-1) should not be ignored when filling out trifectas and superfectas. He’s in top form at the moment after winning the Peter Pan over this course when last seen. Kyle Frey, riding in his first ever Belmont Stakes, has the call for Doug O’Neill.

The play: $10 win 4, $6 exacta 1/4, $4 exacta 4/1 ($20)

DFJ analysis: See my Belmont Stakes undercard column!

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