With the 2014 Belmont Stakes set to take place on Saturday, the latest Vegas betting odds continue to change now that the official lineup is set, and the entrants will all be racing for a rather large purse payout.
Of course, all eyes will be on California Chrome heading into Saturday's race. After winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, he has an opportunity to be the 12th horse ever to win the Triple Crown and the first to do so since Affirmed back in 1978.
As the race draws closer, let's take a look at the latest purse payout, odds and lineup for the Belmont along with a preview of some of the less talked-about horses in the race.
$1.5 million total purse
Purse payout information provided by TheTripleCrown.com
Vegas Betting Odds and Lineup
|5||Ride On Curlin||12-1|
|10||General a Rod||20-1|
odds from Vegas Insider
Horses To Watch
Trainer Dale Romans probably wasn't happy with an eighth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby, but with consistent success in previous races, Medal Count looks like a legitimate contender heading into the Belmont.
Before the race at Churchill Downs, Medal Count had won three of his seven career races, also finishing in second at the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes in April. Medal Count didn't race at the Preakness, but according to Marty McGee from Daily Racing Form, that might be a good thing, as seven of the last 14 winners at the Belmont skipped the Preakness after losing at Churchill Downs.
According to Bloodhorse.com (via ESPN), Romans felt good about Medal Count after the Kentucky Derby, saying:
Coming out of the Derby, I didn't know what I was going to do with him that day. After a couple days, he got back to training and he was doing so well. I went back and watched the Derby two or three times and he obviously should have been right there. He wasn't going to beat the winner but I think he could have possibly been second and obviously been third.
The biggest thing going for Medal Count heading into this race is his post position. As Belmont-Stakes.info points out, 23 previous winners have come from the No. 1 post, which is by far more than any other post in the race. He'll be right next to California Chrome, but the inside position may give him an edge if he can get in front early.
Even though Samraat has cooled off after a hot start to his career, the colt will be looking to start a new win streak with a Triple Crown race win.
Samraat looked almost untouchable to start his career, winning his first five races. That win streak ended at the Wood Memorial Stakes, but he still finished in second. At the Kentucky Derby, he finished out of the money, but he was right there with a fifth-place finish.
The Belmont is the longest of the Triple Crown legs at 1 1/2 miles, and stamina will play a big factor in this race. HRTV's Jeff Siegel tweeted that because Social Inclusion is likely out for the race, the softer pace will benefit horses like Samraat:
With Social Inclusion not likely for Belmont, pace scenario just got a whole lot softer. Samraat, Tonalist, & California Chrome benefit.— Jeff Siegel (@HRTVJeff) June 2, 2014
He's not one of the favorites coming out of the No. 7 post, but if Samraat can keep up the pace down the final stretch and return to form, he'll have a real shot to finish in the money.