When the jockeys board the nine contenders and make their way over to the starting gate on Saturday, all 90,000 spectators at the 147th Belmont Stakes will affix their eyes on Triple Crown threat American Pharoah.
The three-year-old colt, under the tutelage of esteemed trainer Bob Baffert, will be the main attraction and Godolphin Racing’s Frosted his projected top competition.
But seven other contenders flesh out the Belmont’s field this year and all, whether they are underrated or simply benefit from an excellent start, stand as potential spoilers to American Pharoah’s shot at the first Triple Crown in 37 years.
Even the four longshots listed in the latest betting odds from Bovada.lv could shock American Pharoah and the world only minutes after the 6:50 p.m. ET post time.
Notice the omission of The Truth or Else, who was the latest addition to the field and considered 50/1 underdog. The Yes It’s True colt was pulled from the Belmont by trainer Ken McPeek on Monday due to filling, or swelling, in the horse’s left ankle, according to Blood-Horse.com.
With the field now down to nine, the odds have improved for many of the contenders. Here’s a breakdown of the biggest longshots in this year’s field.
One of the five contenders who participated in the Kentucky Derby but skipped the Preakness Stakes, the Dubawi colt finished a disappointing eighth at Churchill Downs, snapping a two-race winning streak. Own by Dubai royalty Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and trained by Michael F. De Kock, Mubtaahij has won four of his career eight starts but his longest races were the 1 3/16-mile Grade 2 UAE Derby and the Al Bastakiya. How he handles a race that’s a quarter-mile longer than the Derby remains a big question mark.
Tale of Verve 20/1
This Tale of Ekati colt was the runner-up to American Pharoah at the Preakness, but it was by more than seven lengths. The torrential downpour less than 30 minutes from the start at Pimlico likely played a role and diminished some of the luster of Tale of Verve’s 1 3/16-mile victory at Keeneland three weeks prior. The Preakness was Tale of Verve’s first stakes race, and despite the weather, he beat out every other contender in the field except for American Pharoah and maybe isn’t quite as big a longshot.
Keen Ice 25/1
Trained by 2011 Preakness winner Dale L. Romans, Keen Ice finished seventh at the Derby after never coming in no lower than fifth in his six previous starts. He’s yet to win a race since September, but at the Derby he got blocked off on the final turn and had no room to break out. If Keen Ice draws a decent post somewhere in the middle he could stay with the top pack for most of the Belmont.
After taking Stanford’s place at the Derby after a scratch only three days before the race, Frammento came in 11th among the 18-deep field. A month earlier the Midshipman colt ran well at the Blue Grass Stakes for fourth-place and in February he placed at the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. He’s the biggest longshot in the field, but having faced much of this Belmont field in his last three races, Frammento and trainer Nicholas P. Zito could have a new strategy to upset American Pharoah.
Odds to Win the Belmont Stakes
American Pharoah 4/5
Carpe Diem 16/1
Tale of Verve 20/1
Keen Ice 25/1