2024 Belmont Stakes predictions, expert picks by Chris 'The Bear' Fallica (2024)

Updated Jun. 8, 2024 6:05 p.m. ET

Chris Fallica FOX Sports Wagering Expert

"Bear Bets" are real wagers that Chris "The Bear" Fallica is actually making.

The Belmont Stakes is finally upon us.

I'll be in New York again along with our FOX Sports crew for this year's race. The 156th running of the Belmont will take place at Saratoga Race Course due to ongoing renovations at the iconic Belmont Park. The post time is set for 6:41 p.m. ET, and the race will be broadcast on FOX and the FOX Sports app.

Fresh off his upset of Mystik Dan in the Preakness, Seize the Grey leads my field of picks. Regardless of who comes out on top, I think we are in for another memorable weekend.

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When it comes to betting on the race, I have you covered. If you are looking for a basic primer on how to bet on horses, read here. Otherwise, let's jump into my betting card and thoughts on this Saturday's big race.

(Disclaimer: To keep it simple, I'll lead with my picks first).

My Betting Card

2024 Belmont Stakes predictions, expert picks by Chris 'The Bear' Fallica (2)

1. Seize the Grey (8-1)

He got away with an easy lead at the Preakness on an off-track at Pimlico in a field that had a few also-rans, as well as Imagination who didn’t show up at all. Credit to Jamie Torres and Seize the Grey for capitalizing on it and springing the upset, but these waters are much deeper with the presence of Sierra Leone, Resilience and Mindframe in addition to the Derby winner Mystik Dan. There will be no easy leads here and, from the inside post, he’s bound to take the worst of it if he goes. Call me skeptical, as the 12-point Beyer boost has me thinking this one is set to regress here. I will say, the horse has four lifetime wins, and they have come at 10-1, 9-1, 6-1 and 16-1, so clearly him being dismissed on the board hasn’t impacted the results.

2. Resilience (10-1)

His Beyers Speed Figures are light, but they are at least going in the right direction. He ran a very credible sixth in the Derby from post 18 and looked to be a threat, until trainer Bill Mott’s concerns of him not really wanting a 1 1/4 proved prophetic. Mott planned on skipping the 10-furlong Belmont, but the horse has trained so well that he felt the need to run him here.As I wrote prior to the Derby, adding blinkers has done wonders for this horse — he’s been more focused mentally, and it showed in the Wood Memorial. He wasn’t embarrassed at all by Sierra Leone in his first start against winners in the Risen Star and then moved forward in the Wood. If Mott sees fit to run the horse, then I am putting him on the short list of contenders that can beat Sierra Leone.

3. Mystik Dan (5-1)

He didn’t run poorly in the Preakness, he just couldn’t get to a horse on a lone, easy lead. I’m a little surprised he’s 5-1 and behind the lightly raced Mindframe on the morning line, but at the same time, I do understand the skepticism. The prevailing thought after the Derby was Sierra Leone or Forever Young were probably better horses in the race, but you still have to give Mystik Dan and Brian Hernandez credit for making their own racing luck that day. With a shorter field, with less traffic and a bit of home-field advantage, I’d expect Sierra Leone to get the better of him on Saturday. But as he has done in every graded stakes race he’s run, expect him to put in an honest effort and chance to hit the board.

4. The Wine Steward (15-1)

The New York bred was a beaten favorite in the Peter Pan, won by Antiquarian who was 6-1 that day. He’s a pretty nicely bred NY breed, as he’s by Vino Rosso out of a To Honor and Serve mare. He’ll be on or near the front here and the speed makes him dangerous, as he’s been very tough to put away in his three route races. Adding the extra furlong probably doesn’t help his chances to win, but I wouldn’t completely toss him from the trifecta, as trainer Mike Maker has had a knack for getting horses to run big in stakes races at big prices. And if Sierra Leone does win, you’ll be hoping a horse in the 15-1 range can crack the tri.

5. Antiquarian (12-1)

This is the newcomer to the Triple Crown trail that I expect to take money and be that "wise-guy" underlay bet. The Peter Pan winner plays that role often, but I’m not sure how much it matters this year with that prep coming on a different track and this race being a different distance. You can make an argument for the horse though, as he should sit a stalking trip and wasn’t disgraced in the Louisiana Derby, a race that featured Honor Marie and Tuscan Gold, and was his first try against winners. However, I’m not sure how good he really is. He can certainly hit the board, but it would take a Beyer jump of about 10 points and Sierra Leone running subpar.

6. Dornach (15-1)

I didn’t like him Derby Day and I don’t like him here. He will ensure a good pace, as he’s front-end committed. As I mentioned in my Derby preview, he just hasn’t improved from two to three, and I’m not sure that he even sticks around for a slice of the tri or super.

7. Protective (20-1)

Protective is a well deserved long shot based on his finishes against other runners in this field. But give Mike Repole credit for running the maiden here. If he can beat two horses, he takes home $20k of prize money. He was 7-1 in the Peter Pan, a race Antiquarian was 6-1, so those two weren’t viewed that differently entering the race. I’d expect Tyler Gaffalione to kind of go around the track with this one and save enough horse to try and pick off a few late. It's a 10-horse field and the all-button isn't that expensive for third place in the tri, so that's the extent of my using him.

8. Honor Marie (12-1)

This is a trendy Derby price horse that predictably didn’t do much running Derby Day. While this is a better spot in a shorter field, the fact he hasn’t been within six lengths of Sierra Leone the two times they have faced each other makes me think he won’t get the best of him on Saturday in Chad Brown’s backyard. He should get a good pace to grind into and potentially hit the board.

9. Sierra Leone (9-5)

He’s two noses short of being unbeaten — the first coming in a bias-aided loss to Dornoch in the Remsen last year and then in the Derby to Mystik Dan after a rough trip. He’s had a knack for lugging in, so there’s a change to the bit he will have for this race. He also gets a jockey switch to Flavien Prat, hinting Chad Brown wasn't too happy with the ride Tyler Gaffalione gave him in the Derby. But at the same time, maybe he could have made that equipment change for the Derby, too. Between the jockey change, equipment change, rest since the Derby, move to Saratoga, projected pace and trip, it all adds up to Sierra Leone being a very tough favorite to beat.He’s got all the signs of being the best three-year-old in the country and I expect him to show it on Saturday.

10. Mindframe (7-2)

Two magnificent, dominant wins in two starts has him as the second choice here. Is it too much too soon? A maiden win and a win in an Optional allowance certainly isn’t the same as taking on stakes winners in the Belmont. It’s clear the talent is there though, and at some point you need to find out. But as a bettor, can you really take 7-2 or so on him? He’ll likely be in front of Sierra Leone for a good bit of the race as he should be in the first flight of horses, but will he be able to hold him off? To make any money in exotics, you’ll need to bet him for second or have him win the race. If it comes back Sierra Leone over Mindframe, you’re not going to make much, if anything, so that's how I’m approaching the race.

Suggested Ways to Bet the Belmont

$20 Win-Place 9($20)
$10 Exacta Box 9-2 ($10)
$5 Exacta 9 with 4-8 ($10)
$5 Exacta 2-9 ($5)
$1 Trifecta 9 with 2-3-4-8 with all ($32)
$1 Trifecta 9 with 2-3-8 with all ($24)
$1 Trifecta 2 with 9-10 with all ($16)

Chris "The Bear" Fallica has covered sports for nearly three decades. While college football has been his focus, he also enjoys the NFL, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, MLB, NHL and Horse Racing, with an "occasional" wager on such events. Chris recently won the inaugural Circa Football Invitational and finished in the Top 10 of the Golden Nugget Football Contest. He’s a multiple-time qualifier for the NHC Handicapping Championship. Remember, "The less you bet, the more you lose when you win!" Follow him on Twitter @chrisfallica.

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2024 Belmont Stakes predictions, expert picks by Chris 'The Bear' Fallica (3)

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2024 Belmont Stakes predictions, expert picks by Chris 'The Bear' Fallica (2024)

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