Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah wrapped up a muddy seven-length victory at the Preakness Stakes over the weekend, and is now in the midst of the 14th Triple Crown bid since Affirmed last completed the feat in 1978. The three-year-old colt next takes on the most grueling race of the Triple Crown, the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes on Saturday June 6 in New York.
As of right now, odds makers are almost split on whether or not trainer Bob Baffert’s American Pharoah can pull off something that hasn’t been done in 37 years and that only 11 other thoroughbreds in horse racing history have accomplished.
Appropriately named in connection with his sire Pioneer of the Nile, American Pharoah’s odds of completing the Triple Crown are currently at -110 and -130 if he slips up at the much longer Belmont, a prop bet from Bovada.lv reads.
The official list of entrants for the Belmont won’t be available for about two weeks, but it’s very likely American Pharoah will face some better rested competition.
Offshore book Sportsbook.ag came out with opening odds and listed American Pharoah at 2/3, followed by potential contenders Carpe Diem at 6/1, Frosted at 6/1, and Materiality at 8/1.
Trainer Todd Pletcher decided to pull his Carpe Diem and Materiality, both of whom faced American Pharoah at the Kentucky Derby, to better prepare them for the Belmont and serve as potential spoilers.
Carpe Diem finished a disappointing 10th place at the Derby, though he was considered a contender after claiming the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes and Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in his two previous runs.
Materiality fared far better with a sixth place finish in Kentucky, but it was the first loss of his four-race career. He previously bested other Derby contenders at the Grade 1 Florida Derby in March.
Frosted, owned by Godolphin Racing, wasn’t far behind American Pharoah in fourth place in Kentucky and he too was coming off a big win at the Grade 1 Wood Memorial.
All three sat out the Preakness and could derail American Pharoah’s bid the same way much of the field did to last year’s darling, California Chrome. After swiping away the first two legs of the Triple Crown, California Chrome faced a Belmont field littered with horses who didn’t appear in the two previous stakes races and finished in fourth place.
Following the victory in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, American Pharoah is apparently in good spirits and health, both excellent signs three weeks before the Belmont.
Victorious in six consecutive races, Baffert told the AP American Pharoah was understandably a “little tired” and “quiet” the day after the Preakness, but that he was healthy. Baffert also said American Pharoah will rest up at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky before heading up to the Belmont on June 3.
The full list of early odds is below.
American Pharoah 2/3
Carpe Diem 6/1
Conquest Curlinate 10/1
Keen ice 10/1