Chad Brown’s Sierra Leone is Belmont Stakes’ favorite

Chad Brown’s Sierra Leone is Belmont Stakes’ favorite


Chad C. Brown is a name synonymous with success in the horse racing world. Since establishing his stable in 2007, Brown has accumulated an impressive list of accolades, including four Eclipse Awards, 18 Breeders’ Cup wins, and two Preakness wins. His keen eye for selecting races and exceptional training methods have propelled many horses to victory, including Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone is a rising star in the world of horse racing. This three-year-old colt, sired by Gun Runner out of the Malibu Moon mare Heavenly Love, has shown impressive performance since he began racing in 2023. Being the Kentucky Derby’s runner-up has set the expectations sky-high for Sierra Leone, this stallion is the favorite on Belmont Stakes Odds. 


Leone’s Joint Ventures

Trained by Brown, Sierra Leone races for a partnership that includes Peter M. Brant, Michael B. Tabor, Brook T. Smith, Mrs. John ‘Susan’ Magnier, and Derrick Smith. Bred in Kentucky, United States, by Debby M. Oxley.

This colt has competed at prestigious tracks such as Aqueduct, Churchill Downs, Fair Grounds, and Keeneland, securing victories at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, and Keeneland. His notable stakes wins include the 2024 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and the 2024 Risen Star (G2).

Brown’s strategy and decision-making abilities are evident in his training routines and race selections. This meticulous approach has been a cornerstone of Sierra Leone’s success, positioning him as a leading contender for the upcoming Belmont Stakes. “The horse is doing great,” Brown commented after Sierra Leone’s penultimate workout before the big race. 


A New Jockey for Sierra Leone

One significant change for Sierra Leone in the upcoming Belmont Stakes is the switch of jockeys from Tyler Gaffalione to Flavien Prat. Brown’s decision to make this change stems from a desire to try somethingBelmont Stakes Contender: Sierra Leone new for the latter half of 2024.

Despite Prat not having ridden Sierra Leone before, Brown remains confident in his ability to connect with the colt and deliver a strong performance.

“Hopefully he gets along with the horse well and is able to work out a good trip in the race,” 

Brown stated. The decision underscores Brown’s confidence in Prat’s skills and their previous successes as a team.


The Belmont Stakes at Saratoga

This year’s Belmont Stakes is historic, being held at Saratoga for the first time while Belmont Park undergoes reconstruction. The 156th edition of the race features the largest purse to date, making it a highly anticipated event. Brown, a native of Mechanicville, finds personal and professional significance in this race, as it is close to his base of operations and his introduction to horse racing.

“It’s exciting to have the Belmont here in my home area,” Brown shared. Winning the Belmont at Saratoga would be a monumental achievement for Brown and his team, adding to the sentimental value of the victory that would put on top of his graded stakes curriculum. 


Other Candidates

This race will be especially difficult to bet on, as there are many outstanding contenders. Sierra Leone faces a formidable field in the Belmont Stakes, including contenders like Preakness winner Seize the Grey, Mystik Dan, Mindframe, Fierceness, Dornoch, Antiquarian, Batten Down, and Honor Marie.

Todd Pletcher, another top trainer, has several strong entries, including Fierceness and Mindframe. Trainer Kenny McPeek may also enter his Kentucky Oaks-winning filly, Thorpedo Anna, adding to the competition, for those looking to bet on horses, Sierra Leone seems like the safest choice, even among this really competitive lineup.

Despite the tough competition, Brown remains optimistic about Sierra Leone’s chances. “We have a really good horse, but it’s shaping up to be a very good race. Sierra Leone is going to have to run his best, for sure,” Brown stated.


2024 Belmont Stakes Odds and Contenders
1Seize The GreyJaime TorresD. Wayne LukasMyRacehorse8-1
2ResilienceJunior AlvaradoBill MottEmily Bushnell & Ric Waldman10-1
3Mystik DanBrian Hernandez, Jr.Kenneth McPeekLance Gasaway, 4 G Racing LLC & Daniel Hamby III5-1
4The Wine StewardManny FrancoMike MakerParadise Farms Corp. and Staudacher, David15-1
5AntiquarianJohn VelazquezTodd PletcherCentennial Farms12-1
6DornochLuis SaezDanny GarganWest Paces Racing LLC, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding LLC,   Two Eight Racing LLC & Pine Racing Stable15-1
7ProtectiveTyler GaffalioneTodd PletcherRepole Stable20-1
8Honor MarieFlorent GerouxWhit BeckmanRibble Farms LLC12-1
9Sierra LeoneFlavien PratChad BrownMagnier, Mrs. John, Tabor, Michael B., Smith, Derrick, Westerberg, Rocket   Ship Racing, LLC and Brant, Peter M.9-5
10MindframeIrad Ortiz, Jr.Todd PletcherRepole Stable and St. Elias Stables LLC7-2