Belmont Stakes Contender: The Wine Steward

Among the contenders for the Belmont Stakes is The Wine Steward, trained by Mike Maker, who opted for the $2 million in this competition over the $500,000 Woody Stephens on the undercard.

The Wine Steward, a New York-bred, has consistently placed in his last three races, finishing second in the Breeders’ Futurity as a 2-year-old, the Lexington Stakes, and the Peter Pan Stakes by a total of just two lengths. This consistency makes him an intriguing bet on horses for the Belmont Stakes.

The 156th Belmont Stakes (G1) is set for Saturday, June 8, at Saratoga Race Course. This year’s race, shortened to 1 ¼ miles due to the ongoing renovations at Belmont Park, serves as the final leg of the Triple Crown. 


Recent Performance and Training

After winning his first three starts, The Wine Steward has yet to secure a victory in a Graded Stakes race. However, his recent performances have shown promise. On May 25, he worked 4 furlongs in 48.00 at Churchill Downs, followed by a 5-furlong work in 1:02.60 on June 1. 

Co-owner David Staudacher noted, “He worked pretty easy and looked good. He had a couple of tough races, so we’ve got to make sure he bounces back right.”


Career Highlights

The Wine Steward’s career record stands at 6-3-3-0 with earnings of $467,260. His most recent race was the Peter Pan on May 11, where he finished second. His top Equibase speed figure is 107. His pedigree includes Vino Rosso and Call To Service by Honor And Serve, indicating a strong genetic potential for endurance.


Betting Perspective

With Belmont Stakes odds at 15-1, The Wine Steward offers a potential high-reward bet. While never worse than third in six career starts, it’s a leap to think he can win or hit the board in a Classic against a tough field. His consistent placements, however, suggest he could surprise.


Trainer’s Insight

Mike Maker, who has previously entered two horses in the Belmont Stakes, both finishing seventh, believes in The Wine Steward’s capability. Staudacher expressed confidence in the colt’s ability to handle the distance, saying, “It depends on the trip, but I think he can get it — he’s bred to get it and should be able to. I think he likes the track up there”. This stallion presents an interesting due to his consistent placement on Graded Stakes and high reward odds.


Race Details

– Post Position: 4Blemont Stakes Contender The Wine Steward

– Odds: 15-1

– Jockey: Manny Franco

– Trainer: Mike Maker

– Owners: Paradise Farms, David Staudacher

– Career Record: 6-3-3-0

– Career Earnings: $467,260

– Most Recent Race: Peter Pan, May 11 (2nd)

– Top Equibase Speed Figure: 107

– Pedigree: Vino Rosso – Call To Service, by Honor And Serve

– Color: Bay

– Running Style: Stalker


The Wine Steward, purchased for $340,000 at the Ocala Breeders 2-year-old sale, has a notable lineage with sire Vino Rosso, the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner. This will be Mike Maker’s third attempt at the Belmont Stakes, aiming to improve on his past finishes.


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