History is littered with legendary horses who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown but came up short at the Belmont Stakes, the longest of the three races at 1.5 miles. You have the likes of Northern Dancer, Spectacular Bid, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Real Quiet, Smarty Jones, Funny Cide and Big Brown to name just a few.
It’s incredibly hard for a thoroughbred to win three high-stress races in just five weeks as the animals have never raced that frequently before and won’t again.
In 2014, California Chrome entered the Belmont as a massive favorite following impressive wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. However, the extremely popular horse finished fourth in the Belmont. Finally, in 2015, American Pharoah completed the first Triple Crown since Seattle Slew in 1977. American Pharoah has since retired to the nice life of stud.
The 150th running of the Belmont Stakes is Saturday at Belmont Park in New York and Justify looks to become just the 13th Triple Crown winner. The three-year-old colt is the first horse to reach the Belmont with a chance since American Pharoah. Who was American Pharoah’s trainer? Bob Baffert, the same for Justify. If Baffert already isn’t considered the greatest trainer ever, he will be with another Triple Crown.
Justify won the Kentucky Derby in fairly dominant fashion as the betting favorite and was favored again two weeks later at the Preakness. He was holding on for dear life at the end of that race. Justify is priced as the -110 favorite for Saturday on the 2018 Belmont Stakes odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, and that’s potentially bad news: Just one of the past 12 Belmont favorites has won the race and that was American Pharoah.
There is one piece of potentially good news for Justify: Rain is in the forecast for Elmont, N.Y., and the colt won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness on a sloppy track. Also, Justify starts from Post 1, which is where the most Belmont winners all-time have started.
One main challenger in the 10-horse Belmont field who also ran in the Derby and Preakness getting another shot at Justify is Bravazo, who starts from Post 3 and is +750. He was chasing down Justify in the Preakness and might have won if that race was at the Belmont length. Bravazo was sixth in the Kentucky Derby.
The second-betting choice Saturday at +450 is Hofburg. He finished seventh at the Derby, but that was an accomplishment after getting caught in traffic at the start. Hofburg hasn’t raced since – only one of the last nine Belmont winners ran in the Preakness – and has just four times in his career, so freshness won’t be an issue.
Hofburg certainly has the lineage to win at 1.5 miles as he’s a son of Tapit, who sired Belmont winners Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016) and Tapwrit (2017). In 2015, Tapit’s son Frosted was second to American Pharoah.
Here are full post positions and odds:
1: Justify (-110)
2: …read more