Trainer Bob Baffert says he was due to attract the rail for the 2018 Belmont Stakes.
Matt Stone, Louisville Courier Journal
NEW YORK – It’s honest to say the No. 1 publish place is a sore spot with coach Bob Baffert, and he stated he had a sense Tuesday that he was due a nasty draw in an enormous race.
After all, Justify drew favorable No. 7 posts in each the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
“Everybody is always joking in my family,” Baffert stated. “Like (wife) Jill is always saying, ‘They should just put you in the one hole and then draw the rest of the race,’ The one, I had a feeling, I was good for the one. I’ve been really lucky.”
And so it went Tuesday at Citi Field – dwelling of the New York Mets – in the course of the draw for Saturday’s $1.5 million, Grade I Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.
Justify, certainly, will begin from the No. 1 spot in the sector of 10. If Justify can overcome it and win, he’ll turn out to be the 13th Triple Crown winner in thoroughbred racing historical past.
“I never do like to draw the rail, but my horses seem to live in it,” stated Baffert, who counts Lookin at Lucky as one instance when he drew No. 1 and completed sixth because the Kentucky Derby favorite in 2010. “I feel most vital is that the horse is doing properly. …
“You can have an incredible gap, however if you happen to don’t go away there you’re nonetheless going to be in bother. We have it, we will’t change it, so we’ll simply cope with it.”
Justify was established because the 4-5 favorite in the Belmont morning line. Hofburg, coming off a seventh-place end in the Kentucky Derby, is the second alternative at 9-2. Post time for Saturday’s closing jewel of the Triple Crown is set for 6:46 p.m.
While a lot is fabricated from drawing the rail in a significant race – particularly in a 20-horse discipline just like the Kentucky Derby when an inside horse can get squeezed again by horses coming in from the skin – opposing trainers stated Tuesday that the No. 1 spot shouldn’t be a significant factor for Justify.
“If it wasn’t (Justify), it would probably be somewhat of a downer, a little bit of a problem,” stated D. Wayne Lukas, whose Preakness runner-up Bravazo is the co-third choice for the Belmont at Eight-1 odds. “But he’s so talented that I think he can dictate the race. That’s the thing that makes him very tough to beat. He can pick his spot. … He’s the key to how all of us run.”
Added Dale Romans, coach of 30-1 lengthy shot Free Drop Billy: “Going a mile and a half, if you’re worried about the post you don’t belong.”
The competitors: These 5 horses have the best chances to beat Justify
Justify has confirmed he belongs since his first race at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 18, compiling an ideal 5-for-5 report.
Critics will notice his Beyer Speed Figures have dropped since posting a 107 in the Santa Anita Derby, going to 103 in the Kentucky Derby and 97 in the Preakness.
But each the Kentucky Derby and Preakness have been run on sloppy tracks.
“I think we can’t expect Bob’s horse to bounce or have a bad race,” Lukas stated. “I’ve been watching him all week, and he looks too good. … I think it would be a big mistake to feel that Justify isn’t on his game. I think he’s really on his game.”
Todd Pletcher – coach of each Vino Rosso (Eight-1 odds) and Noble Indy (30-1) – agreed.
“Bob may be a little nervous about drawing the 1 if he doesn’t break great,” Pletcher stated. “But so far the horse has been perfect, so it’s hard to find any weaknesses.”
For Baffert and Justify’s different connections, it’s now a ready sport. Baffert threw out the ceremonial first pitch earlier than Tuesday’s Orioles-Mets sport, and Justify is scheduled to ship from Louisville to Belmont on Wednesday morning.
Baffert stated he’ll attempt to benefit from the leadup to the Belmont however admitted he’s nervous, regardless of having gone by this 4 occasions earlier than and successful the Triple Crown with American Pharoah in 2015.
Looking nearer: Why your horse can and can’t win the 2018 Belmont Stakes
The No. 1 publish wasn’t ideally suited, but it surely’s not foremost amongst Baffert’s considerations.
“I think the break is important,” Baffert stated. “I really didn’t want him in the 10. I didn’t want him to be way out there. He’s on the inside there, so he can sort of dictate what’s happening.”
Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; [email protected]; Twitter: @kyhighs. Support robust native journalism by subscribing as we speak: www.courier-journal.com/jasonf.
Post time: 6:46 p.m. Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Purse: $1.5 million. Grade: 1. Distance: 1 half miles. TV: NBC.
Horse, coach, jockey, morning-line odds
1. Justify, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 4-5
2. Free Drop Billy, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado, 30-1
three. Bravazo, D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Saez, Eight-1
four. Hofburg, Bill Mott, Irad Ortiz Jr., 9-2
5. Restoring Hope, Bob Baffert, Florent Geroux, 30-1
6. Gronkowski, Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz, 12-1
7. Tenfold, Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana Jr., 12-1
Eight. Vino Rosso, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, Eight-1
9. Noble Indy, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano, 30-1
10. Blended Citizen, Doug O’Neill, Kyle Frey, 15-1