Can American Pharoah win the elusive Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes on June 6? The betting odds favor the 3-year old colt in the 1 1/2 miles long race.
Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah took an early lead to easily win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday while setting up a run for horse racing's highest honor, the Triple Crown on June 6 in the Belmont Stakes.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Victor Espinoza, American Pharoah opened as a +275 favorite to win the Kentucky Derby at BetOnline after breezing to comfortable victories in both the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes and the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby during prep season at Oaklawn Park. The 3-year-old colt lived up to the hype and overcame Firing Line and Dortmund in the Run of the Roses.
American Pharoah was also the favorite heading into Pimlico (2/3, Wynn Las Vegas) and he faced some tough competition, having to beat out Firing Line and Dortmund, just like in the Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah also had to start from the rail (third Preakness Stake favorite to start from the unfavorable No. 1 post since 1950). No horse had won starting from the rail since 1994.
With the victory, American Pharoah kept alive the chance for horse racing's first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Those who place sports picks remember that American Pharoah's rider Victor Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes aboard California Chrome last year before finishing fourth in the Belmont Stakes.
In-Depth Look at the Belmont Stakes
Known as "The test of the champion" and "The third jewel in the Triple Crown," the Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the three Triple Crown races (it was first run in 1867).
The Belmont Stakes is run at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York and now that American Pharoah has won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, it will become the biggest race of the year and Belmont Park will be a madhouse on June 6. Just to give you an idea of how much bigger this race is when a Triple Crown is on the line, keep in mind that the four biggest crowds in Belmont Park history have all occurred since 2002 when a Triple Crown is on the line.
At 1 1/2 miles (2.4 km), the Belmont Stakes is the longest Triple Crown race. American Pharoah opens as the betting odds favorite to win this year but prevailing in the third and final leg of the Triple Crown is not easy because it is a long race, and the third in five grueling weeks. Before the Kentucky Derby, American Pharoah was at +800 to win the Triple Crown at William Hill. Why? Because it is unquestionably one of the more difficult feats in sports.
How difficult it is to win at Belmont Park after winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes? Well, twenty three times a horse has arrived with a chance at the Triple Crown but there are only eleven Triple Crown Winners and none since 1978.
American Pharoah's Chances at Belmont Park
Many expected California Chrome to end the drought last year before finishing fourth at the Belmont Stakes. That being said, it's impossible to pick against American Pharoah right now. This is a special horse that has six consecutive wins, including his dominant showing against the Preakness Stakes field. The jockey-trainer combination of Victor Espinoza and Bob Baffert is an X-Factor to consider as they won't be intimidated by this stage. The length of Belmont Park will test American Pharoah's endurance but I'm inclined to think that we will witness history on June 6.