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Essential Quality leads 2021 Belmont Stakes odds over Preakness champ Rombauer

Matt Bernier analyzes the small eight-horse field at this year's Belmont Stakes and tries to determine if any horse will take down Essential Quality.

Brad Cox’s Essential Quality opens as the 2-1 favorite for the 2021 Belmont Stakes ahead of Preakness winner Rombauer (3-1). Essential Quality and Rombauer will break side-by-side from the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.

The 153rd Belmont Stakes airs on Saturday, June 5 from 3-5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5-7 p.m. on NBC. Coverage is also available on and on the NBC Sports app. NBC Sports will also broadcast from Belmont Park on Friday, June 4 from 5-6 p.m. ET with live racing, insider previews and expert betting tips.

Five of the eight horses ran in the Kentucky Derby and two ran in the Preakness. Todd Pletcher’s Overtook (20-1) is the only horse debuting in the Triple Crown. Pletcher also fields Bourbonic (15-1) and Known Agenda (6-1), who both ran in the Kentucky Derby.

France Go de Ina (30-1) looks to become the first Japan-based horse to win the Belmont, which would come with a $1 million bonus from the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

Noticeably absent from the lineup is Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who was suspended by the NYRA pending an investigation into his horse Medina Spirit’s failed post-Kentucky Derby drug test. Churchill Downs suspended the two-time Triple Crown winner for two years after a second drug test confirmed the presence of the banned substance betamethasone in the colt’s bloodstream.

Rombauer’s Preakness-winning jockey Flavien Prat will move over to Hot Rod Charlie, the horse he finished third on in the Kentucky Derby. John Velazquez, who rode Medina Spirit in the Derby and Preakness, has the ride on Rombauer in the Belmont.

Related: What to know about the 2021 Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes 2021 odds, post positions, lineup, horses

Below are the post positions for the 2021 Belmont Stakes, including opening odds as of June 1.

1. Bourbonic (15-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche

2. Essential Quality (2-1) - Morning-line favorite
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Luis Saez

3. Rombauer (3-1)
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Jockey: John Velazquez

4. Hot Rod Charlie (7-2)
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Flavien Prat

5. France Go de Ina (30-1)
Trainer: Hideyuki Mori
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

6. Known Agenda (6-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz (replaces Irad Ortiz Jr.)

7. Rock Your World (9-2)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario

8. Overtook (20-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Manny Franco



Watch the 153rd Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 5 from 3 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5 to 7 p.m. on NBC. Coverage is also available on and on the NBC Sports app.