Seven horses stand between American Pharoah and history Saturday. Some of them, like Materiality and Tale of Verve, are familiar to those who have watched the Triple Crown process. Others, like the Todd Pletcher-trained Madefromlucky, are making their debut on this stage.
All have one goal: Stop American Pharoah from finally stopping a Triple Crown drought nearly spanning four decades.
As you may have heard once or 800 times, Affirmed in 1978 was the last Triple Crown winner. Since, 13 horses have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown only to fail at the Belmont. We saw California Chrome do it just 12 months ago. It's been more than a decade since a horse has even really come close to pulling off the trifecta.
By all accounts, American Pharoah is the best chance we've had in a long time. Pharoah has won all but one of his races by at least three lengths, including a seven-length win at the Preakness. Three of his four 2015 wins have been by more than five lengths.
Will it all culminate in history on Saturday? Let's take a look at the complete field and figure it all out.
147th Belmont Stakes Info
Date: Saturday, June 6
Post Time: 6:50 p.m. ET
Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Belmont Power Rankings
1. American Pharoah (5-7)
Pharoah is the only horse in this field casual fans care about. Apologies to the other seven. I'm positive a ton of hard work has been done to get them ready. There are probably dozens of great stories that could be mined from an upset victory.
But no one—not even competitors in this field—wants to see that happen.
"Is it gonna be good if he wins? Absolutely," trainer Nick Zito told Dan Wolken of USA Today. "I'm a horse trainer. I want to win that race, I want to make history myself. However, if American Pharoah wins and I got my eighth (Belmont Stakes) second place...I'm gonna say, 'Where do I sign?' I'd be delighted. The game is bigger than everybody."
Pharoah lines up in the No. 5 post, which means he'll be racing his third entirely different event of the Triple Crown. At the Derby, Pharoah had to crash inside from one of the outermost posts. At the Preakness, he was having the field converge on him from the No. 1 slot. Here, he'll be in the middle—a spot you're typically satisfied with, but nonetheless a new challenge for jockey Victor Espinoza.
The pair have passed every test put in front of them so far. There's no real reason—beyond like a trillion years of history—to think they won't at the Belmont.
2. Materiality (13-2)
One of two Pletcher-trained horses in the field, Materiality is the best shot at spoiling the festivities. Materiality, held out of his two-year-old season, came into the Kentucky Derby with an undefeated record. While he wound up finishing sixth at Churchill Downs, there was plenty of talk about him being a spoiler at the Preakness.
Right until Pletcher decided to pull all of his horses out of the event.
The shrewd move could wind up paying off Saturday. Materiality has had more than a month of rest, putting him in line with roughly the same schedule he's always had. American Pharoah will be running his third race within the Triple Crown time frame. While he looked strong down the stretch in Baltimore, he'll be racing the longest event of his career.
Materiality's fresh legs might wind up paying huge dividends.
3. Frosted (6-1)
The fourth-place finisher at the Kentucky Derby, Frosted's career is a bit of a mixed bag. He came into the Derby as a bit of a sleeper contender after taking the Wood Memorial, but the remainder of his career has largely been defined by "close, but no cigar" finishes. In eight career races, he's won only twice but never finished lower than fourth.
With only eight horses in this field, the odds are in favor of Frosted winding up somewhere on the podium. To think he'll beat out horses of American Pharoah and Materiality's caliber has no basis in what we've seen of him so far.
4. Madefromlucky (14-1)
Madefromlucky has experience finishing behind American Pharoah. The Pletcher-trained colt was in the field at the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby, where Pharoah emerged as the horse to beat during this Triple Crown cycle. Those struggles wound up leaving Madefromlucky out of the Kentucky Derby, but he atoned by picking up a win at the Peter Pan Stakes last month.
Like Frosted, odds are Madefromlucky is much closer to fringe podium finisher than true contender. He's won only three times in eight career races but has finished off the podium only twice.
5. Mubtaahij (14-1)
Mubtaahij's Kentucky Derby performance sure doesn't engender much faith. The colt wound up eighth, well behind the leaders in a tertiary pack that never had much of a chance. It was a major disappointment given his performances earlier this year, which included back-to-back wins heading into Churchill Downs.
Mubtaahij tends to be an all-or-nothing performer, so of the fringe contenders, he's the one I could see pulling off the major upset. Objectively, though, it's far more likely he ends up near the back of the pack.
6. Tale of Verve (20-1)
The second-place finisher at the Preakness doesn't appear to be getting much respect here. At 20-1 odds, only two complete non-contenders are considered lower proposition bets.
Of course, it's worth noting that Tale of Verve was eleventy billion miles behind Pharoah at the end of the Preakness. He's the only carryover other than Pharoah and has only one career win. Perhaps Tale of Verve's run in Baltimore wasn't a fluke, but there are options with better pedigrees.
7. Keen Ice (25-1)
Keen Ice hasn't won a race since his first career event last September and last finished seventh at the Derby. There's not much to write home about here.
On the bright side, Keen Ice kind of sounds like a type of beer. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. But, hey, maybe the owners of Keen Ice can throw back a few Keen Ices after the loss.
8. Frammento (40-1)
Frammento sounds like something I'd order at Starbucks. Sorry, wish I had more.
Odds via Odds Shark