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Post Time: I'll Have Another draws Post 11 for Belmont

By Gene Kershner

I'll Have Another will start his quest for a place in history in gate No. 11 at Belmont Park late Saturday afternoon. This morning, the Derby and Preakness winner drew an outside post in Belmont's Garden Terrace for Saturday's Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, the third jewel in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

Trainer Doug O'Neill continues to beam about his champion colt, "He’s doing great. He’s continued to gallop good, his energy’s been good, his appetite’s been strong, and he’s handled this whole journey as good as you could possibly ask a horse. He hasn’t lost a bit of his flesh at all, his coat continues to shine and look great, so we couldn’t ask for him to be coming in to this any better.”

Some fun facts and thoughts about the post draw and the Belmont Stakes as you count away the hours until the big race on Saturday, sure to be on a number of television screens across the country:

* Post No. 11 has rendered just two Belmont winners since 1905. Post No. 12 has never produced a winner. The winninest posts are No. 1 (23) and Nos. 3 and 5 (14). Due to the length of the race the post position isn't as big a concern as it is in the Derby when 20 horses are lined up in the gate.

* I'll Have Another was made the 4-5 morning line favorite. The lowest odds on a horse going to post at the Belmont was Big Brown, four years ago, when he was 3-10 in his failed Triple Crown quest. A big driver in the odds on a horse with Triple Crown aspirations is the souvenir factor, wherein a lot of $2 win tickets will be purchased on I'll Have Another. Dullahan is the second choice at 5-1; Union Rags, the third choice at 6-1; and Paynter, was listed at 8-1.

* The field rose to 12 yesterday when George and Lori Hall and trainer Kelly Hall, winners of last year's Belmont Stakes, decided to enter My Adonis in the field. Ruler On Ice won last year's race in sloppy conditions at odds of 25-1.

* "C" is the most popular first initial for winning Belmont runners. It has taken 20 runnings of the race. The letter "I" has graced the winner's circle twice. Are you seeing a pattern here?

* Trainer Kenny McPeek saddles two horses in the race, both at odds of 30-1. Unstoppable U, likely an early speed contender and Atigun both drew inside posts.

* Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will saddle Optimizer in the big race, was taken to Winthrop University Hospital in nearby Mineola Tuesday afternoon after one of his horses reared up and struck him on top of his head. “I don’t need this on Belmont week, but I guess these things happen,” Lukas said from the hospital. “I will be fine, it’s just a matter of getting it cleaned up. I fully expect to be at the track tomorrow.”

Here's a look at the field for the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes:

PP Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
1 Street Life Brown Lezcano 12-1
2 Unstoppable U McPeek Alvarado 30-1
3 Union Rags Matz Velazquez 6-1
4 Atigun McPeek Leparoux 30-1
5 Dullahan Romans Castellano 5-1
6 Ravelo's Boy Azpurua Solis 50-1
7 Five Sixteen Schettino Napravnik 50-1
8 Guyana Star Dweej Shivmangal Desormeaux 50-1
9 Paynter Baffert Smith 8-1
10 Optimizer Lukas Nakatani 20-1
11 I'll Have Another O'Neill Gutierrez 4-5
12 My Adonis Breen Dominguez 20-1

 

Gene Kershner is a Buffalo-based turf writer and handicapper who blogs at equispace.blogspot.com and tweets @EquiSpace.

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Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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