Triple threat draws No. 11 post position
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was the last of the 12 Belmont horses to arrive at the detention barn, showing up four minutes past the noon check-in deadline. The chestnut colt calmly walked a few hundred yards down a dirt path from where he had been stabled since arriving May 20 and stepped into the barn with a horde of media tracking his every move.
“No complaints, no hurdles,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “He’s being good.”
Whether he’s good enough to end the 34-year drought of Triple Crown winners will be decided Saturday, when I’ll Have Another breaks from the No. 11 post under Mario Gutierrez. He’ll have to contend with 11 rivals.
“We’re going to see how the pace sets up,” O’Neill said. “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. The last was Sarava, a 70-1 shot who ended War Emblem’s Triple Crown bid in 2002. 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.
Union Rags arrived from his training base in Maryland shortly after 11 a.m. and settled into the security barn, which will be monitored around the clock leading up to the Belmont. The barn was set up as part of last-minute changes to ensure a fair race.
Union Rags was the third betting choice at 6-1 and will break from post No. 3 under new jockey John Velazquez. The colt got 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, trained by Bob Baffert, is the fourth betting choice at 8-1 and drew the No. 9 post.
I’ll Have Another chased down Bodemeister in the closing strides of both the Derby and Preakness. But Baffert sent him back to the West Coast and called in a fresh Paynter to challenge the favorite.
Nineteen horses have been tripped up in their Triple tries, including 11 since Affirmed was the last to win in 1978.