Wheels Up to Sponsor Justify in Belmont Stakes

Jun 07, 2018, 07:25
Wheels Up to Sponsor Justify in Belmont Stakes

"I never do like to draw the rail, but my horses seem to live in it", said Bob Baffert, Justify's trainer.

But location, location, location is the key to the Belmont - on Tuesday, the post positions will be drawn at the New York Mets' CitiField to determine whether the colt just one win away from the greatest glory in horse racing will be shouldered into the rail, where a potentially muddy track's muck will be the deepest, or forced to battle in the thick of the pack. Eastern after a flight from Kentucky, where he had been based since his victory in the Preakness Stakes.

Baffert, who was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday night's game, can become only the second trainer to saddle more than one Triple Crown victor after "Sunny" Jim Fitzsimmons, who trained Gallant Fox and Omaha.

The full slate of post positions and morning-line odds was revealed on Tuesday afternoon: No1 Justify (4-5), No2 Free Drop Billy (30-1), No3 Bravazo (8-1), No4 Hofburg (9-2), No5 Restoring Hope (30-1), No6 Gronkowski (12-1), No7 Tenfold (12-1), No8 Vino Rosso (8-1), No9 Noble Indy (30-1), No10 Blended Citizen (15-1). He overcame the "Curse of Apollo" to win the Kentucky Derby in dominant fashion and take home the roses. "We'll deal with it".

The 10-horse field was revealed at the draw for post positions. Preparing for the longest race of the Triple Crown after running two of the best races of a horse's career is no easy task, but if anyone is up to it, it's Baffert.

American Pharoah, won the Triple Crown in 2015, marking the first victor in 37 years. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the colt finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness. Bravazo came back with a second-place finish in the Preakness.

Post 1 has produced 23 winners in the Belmont, more than any other gate. The last to win from there was Empire Maker in 2003 when he spoiled Funny Cide's Triple Crown bid.

Showers are expected in Elmont, where the race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds is scheduled to start at 6:37 p.m. ET on Saturday.

To win the Belmont, a grueling 1 1/2-mile route around two turns, requires a certain blend of speed and stamina, both of which can be found in Justify's pedigree.