Even with four new possible contenders joining the field, American Pharoah remains the prohibitive favorite to win the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes and wear the 12th Triple Crown in horse racing history.
The three-year-old colt and progeny of Pioneer of The Nile who already secured the Kentucky Derby by one length and slopped through the Preakness Stakes for a seven-length victory holds steady with the betting public.
According to the latest odds from Sportsbook.ag, American Pharoah’s odds moved from 2/1 a few days ago to now 20/21 with four new contenders joining the Belmont field after skipping the Preakness.
Saturday June 6’s run at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York will be the fourth Triple Crown endeavor for American Pharoah’s trainer Bob Baffert, who fell just short with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, and War Emblem in 2002.
Last year, during California Chrome’s near-Triple Crown run he faced a batch of horses that didn’t run in either of the previous jewels and wound up tied for fourth at the Belmont. But Baffert actually respects his competitors' gamesmanship and strategy.
"I understand," Baffert said to NYRA. "It just shows the respect they have for American Pharoah. It's something you can't control. It will make an exciting race. You have to earn it, just like he earned it in that weather yesterday. I've seen a lot of great horses leave here and [lose] the Belmont - Smarty Jones, Big Brown, Real Quiet, Silver Charm, Funny Cide, I'll Have Another [in 2012] ... you just don't know."
Fourth-place Derby finisher Frosted saw his odds improve from 6/1 to 5/1, which bumped one of trainer Todd Pletcher’s contenders, Carpe Diem, from 6/1 to 18/1. But Pletcher’s Materiality holds steady at 8/1.
Four contenders made their first appearance in the early odds, with Preakness runner-up Tale Of Verve, Divining Rod, War Story, and Frammento all hoping to upset American Pharoah’s Triple Crown bid.
Divining Rod showed at the Preakness and the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby between a victory at Coolmore, but weeks before the Belmont he’s listed at 20/1.
Despite finishing no worse than third in his previous five races, War Story came up 16th at the Derby, while Frammento was a late addition to the Derby after several scratches but came in 11th place.
While sports books might list the new contenders, owners and trainers do pull horses out of races at the last minute or don’t enter them at all. The rules call for a maximum of 16 total starters at the Belmont, which leaves four spots open should the 12 below all participate. However, only 11 started against California Chrome last year.
Latest Odds via Sportsbook.ag
American Pharoah 20/21
Carpe Diem 16/1
Divining Rod 20/1
Keen Ice 25/1
Tale Of Verve 25/1
Conquest Curlinate 30/1
War Story 30/1