Virginia Affiliated Forte Set to Make First Triple Crown Start; Belmont Preview

Originally Posted on 6/9/2023 on, Written by CBS Sports Staff

Todd Pletcher will try to become just the fifth trainer with five Belmont Stakes victories when he sends out the top two choices in the 2023 Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park. With a win on Saturday, the 55-year-old Pletcher would join James Rowe (eight wins), Sam Hildreth (seven), Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons (six) and Woody Stephens (five) as the only trainers with five victories in the Test of the Champion. Pletcher has two strong chances among the 2023 Belmont Stakes horses with Forte and Tapit Trice. The reigning two-year-old champion, Forte is the 5-2 favorite in the 2023 Belmont Stakes odds. Blue Grass Stakes winner Tapit Trice is 3-1 in the nine-horse 2023 Belmont Stakes field.

Post time is 7:02 p.m. ET. With an evenly-matched field set to enter the starting gate on Saturday, you’ll want to see what astute racing reporter and analyst Michelle Yu has to say before making any Belmont Stakes picks.

Few people in racing are as well-connected as Yu. An on-air host and reporter who has provided racing analysis for TVG, HRTV and the Breeders’ Cup, Yu has spent a lifetime in racing. Prior to her television career, she worked for trainers Steve Asmussen and Ron Moquett. She also is married to Santa Anita-based trainer Ryan Hanson.

2023 Belmont Stakes predictions, odds, date, contenders: Expert who nailed last year’s exacta gives picks© Provided by CBS Sports

Yu also has tremendous handicapping chops. In a wide-open Kentucky Derby in 2021, she gave out Medina Spirit, who crossed the finish line first, as the winner at 12-1. In Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager last year, she suggested a play on All Other 3-Year-Olds, which cashed at a whopping 18-1 when Rich Strike won the Derby. In last year’s Belmont Stakes, she correctly picked the winner (Mo Donegal) and exacta (Mo Donegal and Nest).

Since the end of February, she has crushed the Saudi Cup, riding a 15-1 winner, nailed Derma Sotogake to win the UAE Derby and hit the exacta in the Santa Anita Derby. In the last three weeks, she has hit the exacta in the Preakness Stakes and Hollywood Gold Cup and had both the winner and exacta in the Summertime Oaks.

Now, Yu has handicapped the 2023 Belmont Stakes odds, made her picks and constructed her 2023 Belmont Stakes bets. Click here to see them.

The Virginia Thorough Bred Association’s Breeder of the Year Amy Moore’s Forte is the favorite going into the Belmont Stakes

Top Belmont Stakes predictions

One surprise: Yu’s top pick is not Forte, even though he is the reigning two-year-old champion and 5-2 Belmont Stakes favorite. A $110,000 purchase two years ago, Forte already has earned more than $2.4 million in his career. He is coming off a victory in the Florida Derby on April 1.

However, his speed figures are trending in the wrong direction. After winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November with a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, he earned a 98 in the Fountain of Youth and then a 95 in the Florida Derby. “Forte is hard to ignore, but there are enough reasons to play against him,” Yu told SportsLine. She is using Forte only sparingly in her 2023 Belmont Stakes betting strategy. See which 2023 Belmont Stakes horses Yu is backing at SportsLine.

How to make Belmont Stakes picks

Yu’s top pick is a horse who is “finding his stride.” She also is high on a horse who has a chance to “run a big one.” She’s only sharing which 2023 Belmont Stakes horses to back at SportsLine.

So what horse wins the Belmont Stakes 2023, and which horse drew the perfect post? See the latest 2023 Belmont Stakes odds below and then visit SportsLine to see Yu’s picks for the Belmont Stakes, all from the insider who nailed last year’s exacta, and find out.

Prg #HorseOddsProjection
1Tapit Shoes20-1SEE PICKS
2Tapit Trice3-1SEE PICKS
3Arcangelo8-1SEE PICKS
4National Treasure5-1SEE PICKS
5Il Miracolo30-1SEE PICKS
6Forte5-2SEE PICKS
7Hit Show10-1SEE PICKS
8Angel of Empire7-2SEE PICKS
9Red Route One15-1SEE PICKS