NEW YORK (AP) — I’ll Have Another will begin his bid to win the Triple Crown by breaking from the No. 11 post in the Belmont Stakes.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was made the 4-5 early favorite for Saturday’s race.
“We’re going to see how the pace sets up,” trainer Doug O’Neill said Wednesday. “If they’re crawling, hopefully we’ll be leading the crawl and if they’re flying, hopefully we’ll be sitting in behind the horses flying.”
Just two Belmont winners have come out of the No. 11 post since 1905. I’ll Have Another bucked history in the Derby as the first horse to win from the 19th post.
Dullahan was the 5-1 second choice and drew post No. 5. The colt finished third in the Kentucky Derby and sat out the Preakness.
“Five is as good as any,” trainer Dale Romans said. “It doesn’t matter going a mile and a half with my horse. I didn’t want to be down on the rail or way outside.”
Union Rags was the third betting choice at 6-1 and will break from post No. 3. The colt was bumped at the start by Dullahan in the Derby and rallied from 17th to finish seventh. He also skipped the Preakness to prepare for the 1 1-2-mile Belmont.
Paynter is the fourth betting choice at 8-1 and drew the No. 9 post for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
I’ll Have Another moved into the detention barn that will house the 12 Belmont horses until they run in the race. He arrived four minutes past the noon deadline set by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
Followed by O’Neill and his crew, the colt walked calmly down a dirt path a few hundred yards from where he had been stabled and into the security barn, which will be monitored around the clock. It was set up as part of new rules to ensure a fair running of the race.
Among the horses seen entering earlier Wednesday were Union Rags, Paynter, My Adonis, Unstoppable U and Atigun.
I’ll Have Another went for his usual gallop earlier in the morning, and O’Neill said his colt has a “big chance” to win.
Trainer Ken McPeek will saddle two 30-1 shots in Atigun and Unstoppable U. In 2002, his horse Sarava spoiled War Emblem’s Triple Crown, winning at 70-1 odds.
Eleven horses were entered Wednesday to take on I’ll Have Another in his bid to win the Triple Crown for the first time since Affirmed swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1978. Only 11 horses have accomplished the feat, while 19 have been tripped up in their Triple tries.
Post time is 6:40 p.m. EDT.
The field, from the rail out: Street Life (Jose Lezcano, 12-1); Unstoppable U (Junior Alvarado, 30-1); Union Rags (John Velazquez, 6-1); Atigun (Julien Leparoux, 30-1); Dullahan (Javier Castellano, 5-1); Ravelo’s Boy (Alex Solis, 50-1); Five Sixteen (Rosie Napravnik, 50-1); Guyana Star Dweej (Kent Desormeaux, 50-1); Paynter (Mike Smith, 8-1); Optimizer (Corey Nakatani, 20-1); I’ll Have Another (Mario Gutierrez, 4-5); My Adonis (Ramon Dominguez, 20-1).
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