The 147th running of the Belmont Stakes is almost upon us, and 90,000 anticipated people in attendance at Belmont Park will have the opportunity to possibly witness something no other horse has done in over 37 years; win the Triple Crown.
To do that, the odds-on favorite American Pharoah, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by three-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Victor Espinoza, has to beat seven other horses, each of which he has seen at least one time in the last two months. American Pharoah won’t be just competing to outlast the field, but also the grueling mile-and-a-half distance — the longest Thoroughbred race in North America — that many horses simply aren’t used to.
The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978. Since 1932, 22 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes — and 52 horses in history have won at least two of the three races — and not won the Belmont.
Here is what you need to know about tomorrow’s race:
Post time is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. ET
Coverage begins on NBC Sports Network at 2:30 p.m. then switching to NBC at 4:30 p.m.
The updated 2015 Belmont Stakes odds below were provided by Odds Shark:
|2. Tale of Verve||20-1|
|5. American Pharoah||5-7|
|7. Keen Ice||25-1|
From the beginning of April until now, American Pharoah has been the horse that the horse racing world has keyed in on for this year’s Triple Crown season. The Kentucky Derby came and went, and although American Pharoah didn’t run his most impressive race, he still won against, arguably, the best Kentucky Derby field in at least 10 years (if not longer).
The Preakness came and went, and American Pharoah ran an even more impressive race in the slop. A cliche, but he left the seven other horses in the Preakness field in the mud.
While Materiality is a quality speed horse who will want to push the pace and tire American Pharoah, and while Frosted is a quality horse who won the Wood Memorial and is a solid closer who has ran enough races from at least a mile distance, American Pharoah outclasses them all.
Last year California Chrome was a great horse in a class of mostly solid-to-good horses. This year, American Pharoah is a super horse in a class of mostly great horses. While the Belmont Stakes is prone to long-shot horses just outlasting tired horses like American Pharoah who are running their 3rd race in five weeks, the drop-off from a horse like American Pharoah to Keen Ice or Frammento is still a large enough drop.
The popular longer shots to bet in this race are Madefromlucky — who won the 2015 Peter Pan like 2014 Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist won the 2014 Peter Pan last year — and Keen Ice — mostly thanks to trainer Dale Romans.
This is hopeful optimism and rock-hard logic. American Pharoah is the class of the race, and at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday evening, he will be celebrating history like the rest of the viewers watching the most-anticipated Belmont Stakes since last year.
America roots for a Pharoah, and now we wait.