Frosted, the three-year-old colt who nearly placed at the Kentucky Derby after charging all the way back from 14th, holds steady as American Pharoah’s top competition ahead of Saturday’s 147th Belmont Stakes in New York.
Ever since the first batch of odds came out following American Pharoah’s muddy seven-length victory at the Preakness Stakes nearly three weeks ago, trainer Bob Baffert’s Triple Crown contender stood as the heavy favorite to claim perhaps the most elusive feat in all of sports. American Pharoah’s odds opened at 2/3 via Sportsbook.ag, and Bovada’s listed him at 5/6 for some time now.
For as long as American Pharoah’s held the distinction as the prohibitive favorite, Frosted’s stared down his back. With connections like 2006 Belmont winner and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, Frosted’s odds shifted from 6/1 to 11/2 recently, according to Bovada.
Frosted’s incredible late sprint over the final three-quarters of a mile at Churchill Downs, one that earned him a fourth-place finish just a head behind Dortmund, is a big reason why he could play the role of spoiler to American Pharoah.
"We ran our race, but we didn't win," McLaughlin said to Newsday last week. "We were second best but we finished fourth. We ran a huge race on all figures. We ran farther than anyone except the winner."
Frosted’s pedigree can’t be ignored either. His sire, Tapit, one of the most sought after and expensive stallions in the country, was named Champion Sire last year with his progeny earning $16.8 million. Another of Tapit’s progeny, Tonalist, also foiled California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid.
Rest, and the fact that Frosted and fellow top contenders Materiality and Carpe Diem skipped the Preakness, could also squash Baffert and American Pharoah’s hopes. The Belmont is a quarter-mile longer than the first two legs of the Triple Crown at 1 1/2- miles, though Baffert reportedly worked American Pharoah out over that same length during training Sunday.
"He looks very healthy and he's happy, he looks like he's getting ready to work," Baffert said to New York Daily News. "He knows that he's getting close to a work so it's getting pretty tough on him. When he hit the quarter pole, he [exercise rider JorgeAlvarez] said he wanted to take off so he'll breeze (Monday) at 8:30 during the break. We'll probably leave at the half-mile pole sort of like we did last week, and that should be it for him."
While Baffert’s strategy revolves around keeping Americah Pharoah fresh with a calm temperament, the plan for Frosted is to play more to his strengths, specifically keeping up with the lead pack rather than falling behind early and relying on a late surge.
"I think we'll be a lot closer [to the pace] than in the Derby," McLaughlin said. "And hopefully not so wide, and we work out a better trip."
The full list of the latest odds are below.
Odds to Win the Belmont Stakes
American Pharoah 5/6
Carpe Diem 12/1
Tale of Verve 22/1
Keen Ice 28/1
The Truth or Else 50/1