The third jewel of U.S. horse racing's Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, is Saturday in New York. The race is shaping up to be a duel between Kentucky Derby winner "Giacomo" and Preakness winner "Afleet Alex."
"Afleet Alex" is the 6-5 favorite to win and has drawn the number nine post. Only three horses have won the 2.4 kilometer Belmont when they started at the number nine post.
Kentucky Derby winner "Giacomo" is also in the field of 11 three-year-old horses and is listed at 4-1 odds. Giacomo's trainer John Sheriffs says his horse has just as good a chance as any horse on Saturday.
"I know that Giacomo's got a big move in him,” said Sheriffs. “And, you know, when you ask him he really covers a lot of ground and he accelerates very well. So I think if he's in a reasonable spot and then he's in good shape. I don't know that he has to just shadow Afleet Alex to do that."
Giacomo is attempting to become only the 12th horse in history to win both the Derby and the Belmont.
Only one other horse in the field, "Andromeda's Hero", ran in either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness. The horse, trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito, was eighth in the Derby. Mr. Zito kept the Andromeda's Hero out of the Preakness because he says the Belmont was more suited to the horses's style.
"You know he did run a good race [in Kentucky] and I just did not want to bring him back to the Preakness right away,” said Mr. Zito. “And I thought if he was going to have a shot, the Belmont, you know, he would have a shot. So, you know we got to go, we got to get in front of Afleet Alex and Giacomo those are two worthy horses, but let's see what happens."
"Reverberate" is listed as the third favorite (6-1) while "Chekhov" and "Southern Africa" are listed at 12-1 odds.
This is the first time in four years that there has not been a possible Triple Crown winner running in the Belmont. No horse has won all three races, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, since "Affirmed" did it in 1978.