The 2014 Belmont Stakes post positions are in.
This year features a field of 11 horses after two contenders were forced to drop out prior to the race.
First, David Grening of the Daily Racing Form tweeted Tuesday morning that Kid Cruz would be scratched:
Kid Cruz "definitely not running in the Belmont," per Linda Rice. "We may enter in the Easy Goer and take a look at that."— David Grening (@DRFGrening) June 3, 2014
General A Rod entered the field in his place.
Later, Ron Sanchez, owner of Social Inclusion, decided to hold his horse out of the Belmont Stakes, according to a tweet from Childs Walker of The Baltimore Sun:
Social Inclusion officially out of Belmont Stakes per owner Ron Sanchez.— Childs Walker (@ChildsWalker) June 4, 2014
After all of those changes, odds shifted in a big way once again, as the post-position draw concluded.
Let's take a look at the updated field and odds for the Belmont Stakes and overview the schedule for the Triple Crown's third jewel.
Belmont Stakes Schedule
When: Saturday, June 7
Where: Belmont Park in Elmont, New York
Coverage Time: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. ET
Post Time: 6:35 p.m. ET
Post Positions and Odds
|5||Ride On Curlin||12-1|
|10||General A Rod||20-1|
Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome drew the No. 2 post for his run at history.
This position may not have been favorable at the Kentucky Derby. However, that's not the case at Belmont Park.
Although no horse has won from this post since Tabasco Cat in 1994, the inside positions have seen a good amount of winners in recent history. Over the last five races, two winners have come from the No. 3 post and one has come from No. 4.
After all, Jody McDonald tweeted his thoughts on post positions having a smaller influence on the race's outcome:
With only 11 horses going, post positions will not decide this year's Belmont Stakes.California Chrome will break from #2 post #triplecrown?— Jody McDonald (@jodymacman) June 4, 2014
Commanding Curve drew a favorable starting position at the No. 4 gate. After he was able to shock the crowd at Churchill Downs by blazing past the majority of the field from the No. 17 gate, he should be a big factor at Belmont Park.
At the No. 5 gate, Ride On Curlin appears to be California Chrome's biggest threat. He has a great starting position, and if he can break cleanly, will have a chance to gain some nice momentum early in the race—a far different scenario from his run at Pimlico.
Trainer Billy Gowan is excited to see what his horse can do at Belmont Park, according to a tweet from the NYRA:
"I thought all along this might be his best distance," says Billy Gowan of Ride On Curlin.— NYRA (@TheNYRA) June 4, 2014
Wicked Strong's tremendous closing ability should come into play on Saturday. He begins at the No. 9 gate and has far less ground to make up than his No. 20 starting position at the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens is already developing his horse's strategy following the post-position draw, according to a tweet from the NYRA:
Jimmy Jerkens expects Wicked Strong, who breezed very well, to sit mid-pack or so.— NYRA (@TheNYRA) June 4, 2014
Newcomer Tonalist drew the far outside gate at No. 11. However, with his speed and a smaller field, we could see him make a quick jump out front should he have a clean break.
With the Belmont Stakes' strongest contenders all drawing favorable post positions, the intensity and anxiety only continues to build as the race approaches.
It won't be long before we know if the 36-year Triple Crown drought will finally come to an end.