If American Pharoah fails to win the Belmont and the first Triple Crown in nearly four decades, his connections won’t have the weather to blame.
With temperatures expected to reach no higher than 76-degrees Fahrenheit Saturday in Elmont, New York, and sunny skies keeping the 1 1/2-mile dirt track warm and precipitation free, American Pharoah should have a smooth, dry track throughout the 147th Belmont Stakes.
The AccuWeather forecast does call for some rain late Friday morning and in the early afternoon, between 11 a.m. ET and 1 p.m., but from then on the skies will be mostly cloud free and temperatures aren’t predicted to fall below 59 degrees.
The race is scheduled to begin shortly after the 6:50 p.m. post time, and when American Pharoah enters the starting gate with the seven other contenders the forecast calls for 70-degrees.
The conditions at Belmont Park, with 90,000 spectators expected to turn out, will be far better than what the three-year-old colt faced at the Preakness Stakes three weeks ago.
A torrential downpour soaked the 1 3/16-mile dirt track at Pimlico Race Course only minutes before jockeys boarded their horses. The muddy track would have been a hindrance to most horses, but American Pharoah never broke his stride and charged ahead for a seven-length victory.
Based off that performance, and his victory at the equally muddy and wet Grade 2 Rebel Stakes back in March, should the forecast change and rain falls, it seems unlikely to affect American Pharoah.
Owned by Zayat Stables, American Pharoah is the 14th thoroughbred in the last 37 years to race for the Triple Crown, and he’s a 3/5 favorite breaking from the No. 5 post in the middle of the track. Affirmed was the last to complete the feat in 1978.