Wed 03/06/2015 - 18:38 EDT

Favored American Pharoah Draw Post Position 5 For Belmont Stakes

Favored American Pharoah Draw Post Position 5 For Belmont Stakes
Can American Pharoah join the most exclusive club in American horse racing? He will start from Post No. 5 in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

American Pharaoh will try to make history on Sunday in becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner and the colt will start from Post No. 5 in Saturday's 147th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York. To no surprise, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner is a heavy -150 race favorite at Bovada. Only eight horses are running. Post time on Saturday for the $1.5 million, Grade 1 Belmont Stakes is slated for 6:50 p.m. at the Elmont, N.Y., track.

Baffert OK With Position

Unlike the Preakness, when trainer Bob Baffert was worried about coming out of the No. 1 post position, there should be no complaints this time. Jockey Victor Espinoza had to hustle American Pharoah out of the gate that day to avoid getting pinned in on the rail, but from the No. 5 position he should be able to use the horse's tactical speed to place him anywhere he wants in the race.

"I don't really think it's a horrible post position," Baffert said. "I've always liked the 5. It's one I've had good luck with. The main thing is that the horse is doing well. I think that's the most important thing. He's doing great, but we still have to get around there."

The bay colt drew unfavorable posts for both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and overcame both with drastically different racing styles. After drawing post 18 for the Derby, he never trailed by more than third place or by more than a length at any point. At the final turn, jockey Victor Espinoza went wider than he probably needed, but American Pharoah quickly overtook rail-riding Dortmund before out-kicking Firing Line over the final 1/16th of a mile.

In the Preakness two weeks later, Espinoza pushed American Pharoah to the lead out of the 1-post and ended up cruising to a wire-to-wire triumph under sloppy conditions. Espinoza, who’ll be riding for a Triple Crown for the third time, said he’s confident in American Pharoah, but wary of every opponent. Espinoza has never won the Belmont.

“You know why? Because these horses, they’ve never run 11/2 miles,” Espinoza said. “We’re all in the same situation. To me, they’re all dangerous. They’re all in the race for a reason, because their trainers and owners think they can go 11/2 miles.”

Fourteen horses have won from the No. 5 spot, including 1977 Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew. Baffert's in this position for the fourth time after near-miss Triple Crown tries with Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem. No Kentucky Derby winner has won the Belmont since Thunder Gulch in 1995.

Frosted, the Wood Memorial Stakes winner, was made the second choice at 5-1 coming out of the No. 6 hole. He was a fast-closing fourth in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness to point to the Belmont. Materiality, a Todd Pletcher trainee who won the Florida Derby this spring, did the same after a sixth-place finish at Churchill Downs and is 6-1 on the morning line. He drew the outside No. 8 post position.

Full Field

1. Mubtaahij (10-1)

2. Tale of Verve (15-1)

3. Madefromlucky (12-1)

4. Frammento (30-1)

5. American Pharoah (3-5)

6. Frosted (5-1)

7. Keen Ice (20-1)

8. Materiality (6-1)

Category : Sports Betting News

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