2023 Belmont Stakes Odds, Picks, Post Positions: Tapit Shoes

By US Racing Team

The $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) is the final leg of the Triple Crown. The 155th running of the 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion” is Saturday, June 10. US Racing will be publishing profiles on all the contenders, including updated versions with odds and post-positions following the gate draw on Tuesday, June 6.

2023 Belmont Stakes Entries


Upon further review, after several recent workouts, trainer Brad Cox decided to see if Tapit Shoes is a good fit for the Belmont Stakes.

A son of top sire Tapit, Tapit Shoes comes into the Belmont off a narrow loss to Red Route One in the Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 27. Since then, three solid workouts at Churchill Downs sold Cox on the chestnut as the trainer now plans to enter three horses in the final leg of the Triple Crown – Angel of Empire and Hit Show are the others.

“He’s a Tapit. He’s actually half to Cyberknife, as well, the colt we had last year,’’ Cox said of the colt who won the 2022 Arkansas Derby and Haskell Stakes. “He’s a horse (Tapit Shoes) that’s definitely gotten better the more he’s done it. He’s paced his races a good bit. He responded very well last time.”

A maiden winner in five career starts, he’s earned just over $80,000 but the name alone could have bettors taking a chance on Tapit-progeny exotics that include Tapit Trice, Hit Show, Red Route One, Arcangelo, and Il Miracolo.

Purchased for $300,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Keeneland Fall Yearling Sale, Tapit Shoes broke his maiden in his second start, then ran fourth and third in a pair of allowance optional claimers before his runner-up finish in the Bath House Row.

“Immediately after the race — he was just narrowly defeated — our group sat down and thought, let’s just see how he trains,’’ Cox said. “We’ve been happy with the horse’s training over the last month or so. And it’s been the confidence to give him an opportunity, going a mile and a half.”

Tapit Shoes’ most recent work was at Churchill Downs on May 27, when he covered 5 furlongs in 1:01.

“Very good looking horse. Actually, an amazing looking horse. He’s definitely bred to be on top,’’ Cox said. “So being a Tapit, and given the right set-up, and some racing luck, he could be a factor, for sure.”

That doesn’t seem logical, but there are many owners in the mix with high hopes.

2023 Belmont Stakes Contenders: Tapit Shoes

Post position: 1

Odds: 3-1

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Owners: Spendthrift Farm, LLC, Steve Landers Racing, LLC, Martin Schwartz, Michael Dubb, Ten Strike Racing, Jim Bakke, Titletown Racing, LLC, Kueber Racing, LLC, Big Easy Racing, LLC, Winners Win, Michael Caruso,

Career record: 5-1-1-1

Career earnings: $82,878

Best Equibase speed figure: 102

Pedigree: Tapit-Awesome Flower, by Flower Alley

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Closer

Notes: Cox is 1-for-1 in the Belmont, winning in 2021 with Essential Quality … Ortiz, who won the 2017 Belmont aboard Tapwrit (yes, a son of Tapit), is set to ride in his ninth Belmont. He’s finished second three times – aboard Gronkowski in 2018, Tacitus (another son of Tapit) in 2019, and Nest in 2022.

2023 Belmont Stakes Contenders, Odds and Post Positions

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Tapit Shoes 3-1 Brad H. Cox Jose Ortiz
2 Tapit Trice 3-1 Todd A. Pletcher Luis Saez
3 Arcangelo 8-1 Jena M. Antonucci Javier Castellano
4 National Treasure 5-1 Bob Baffert John R. Velazquez
5 Il Miracolo 30-1 Antonio Sano Marcos Meneses
6 Forte 5-2 Todd A. Pletcher Irad Ortiz, Jr.
7 Hit Show 10-1 Brad H. Cox Manuel Franco
8 Angel of Empire 7-2 Brad H. Cox Flavien Prat
9 Red Route One 15-1 Steve M. Asmussen Joel Rosario
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