2024 Belmont Stakes Contenders: PROTECTIVE

The 156th Belmont Stakes (G1) is Saturday, June 8, at Saratoga Race Course. The 1 ¼-mile race, shortened from 1 ½ miles due to the change of venue as the Belmont Park rebuild continues, is the final leg of the Triple Crown. usracing.com is publishing profiles of the contenders.


He has solid stamina bloodlines and hasn’t run a poor race in four lifetime starts, the last two in graded stakes at Aqueduct.

Todd Pletcher

He’s also still a maiden, so why put him in against the leading 3-year-olds in a Grade 1 at 1¼ miles, a distance he’s never tried?

Protective will be the lone maiden in the Belmont Stakes

None of the horses he’s finished behind has done anything special. In the Wood Memorial, Protective was 3¾ lengths behind winner Resilience and 1½ lengths behind Society Man. In their next race, the Kentucky Derby, neither was a factor, with Resilience finishing sixth and Society Man 16th.

The Belmont Stakes is the favorite race of New York City native Mike Repole, one of the nation’s most successful and most outspoken owners. Besides Protective, whom he owns, he co-owns the 2-for-2 colt Mindframe. Both are trained by Todd Pletcher. Repole has a sharp sense of humor, and on May 29 he tweeted this tip on his stable’s account: “Confidential Belmont free pick: Mindframe/Protective exacta box.”

Don’t expect to see any other handicappers recommending that exacta.

2024 Preakness Stakes Contenders, Odds, and Post Positions: Protective

Belmont Stakes Betting advice: Protective was third, third and fourth (demoted from third by DQ) in his two-turn races. Throw him out.

Post position: 7

Odds: 20-1

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owner: Repole Stable

Career record: 4-0-1-2

Career earnings: $121,920

Most recent race: Peter Pan Stakes, May 11 (3rd)

Top Equibase speed figure: 98

Pedigree: Medaglia d’Oro-Grace Hall, by Empire Maker

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notes: Pletcher made his Triple Crown breakthrough with the filly Rags to Riches in the 2007 Belmont. He ran 1-2 in the 2022 “Test of the Champion” with Mo Donegal and the filly Nest. Both were co-owned by Repole … Pletcher, 56, also won the Belmont with Palace Malice (2013) and Tapwrit (2017). He has been dominant at Saratoga for most of his career, leading the standings a record 14 times … Pletcher also trains another Belmont Stakes nominee, Centennial Farms’ Antiquarian, another Belmont nominee who won the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes May 11 at Aqueduct.

2024 Belmont Stakes Contenders & Odds
PP Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Odds
1 SEIZE THE GREY Jaime Torres D. Wayne Lukas MyRacehorse 8-1
2 RESILIENCE Junior Alvarado Bill Mott Emily Bushnell & Ric Waldman 10-1
3 MYSTIK DAN Brian Hernandez, Jr. Kenneth McPeek Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing LLC & Daniel Hamby III 5-1
4 THE WINE STEWARD Manny Franco Mike Maker Paradise Farms Corp. and Staudacher, David 15-1
5 ANTIQUARIAN John Velazquez Todd Pletcher Centennial Farms 12-1
6 DORNOCH Luis Saez Danny Gargan West Paces Racing LLC, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding LLC, Two Eight Racing LLC & Pine Racing Stable 15-1
7 PROTECTIVE Tyler Gaffalione Todd Pletcher Repole Stable 20-1
8 HONOR MARIE Florent Geroux Whit Beckman Ribble Farms LLC 12-1
9 SIERRA LEONE Flavien Prat Chad Brown Magnier, Mrs. John, Tabor, Michael B., Smith, Derrick, Westerberg, Rocket Ship Racing, LLC and Brant, Peter M. 9-5
10 MINDFRAME Irad Ortiz, Jr. Todd Pletcher Repole Stable and St. Elias Stables LLC 7-2



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