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Belmont Stakes Picks 2018: Vegas Odds and Predictions After Post Draw

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 6, 2018

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 19: Justify #7 with Mike Smith defeats Tenforld #6 to win the 143rd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse on May 19, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

Tensions are at a high ahead of Saturday's 2018 Belmont Stakes after Justify was given the rail in Tuesday's post draw to boost his already strong chances of an American clean sweep.

Bravazo also has a favourable draw at No. 3 and will be hopeful of posing a challenge on the top spot.

Alicia Wincze Hughes of BloodHorse confirmed the post positions and latest odds following Tuesday's draw:

Alicia Wincze Hughes @BH_AHughes

Full post positions and odds for Belmont Stakes https://t.co/nVwCsf6NLS

Justify will become just the 13th horse in history to win the Triple Crown if he can clinch victory in the third leg of the series, having already wrapped up confident victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

That's been the picture painted throughout the buildup to Saturday's showdown at Belmont Park, with another two-minute outing being all that separates Justify from cementing his place in horse racing folklore.

But the rest of the field isn't likely to let the three-year-old star get away easily, and Hofburg, Vino Rosso and Tenfold are just some of those still holding out hope for an upset in Elmont. 

The stage is set for a climactic battle at Belmont Park on Saturday. Read on for a preview of the 2018 Belmont Stakes after Tuesday's post draw took us one step closer to discovering whether Justify can live up to his billing.

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Preview

Just when it looked as though Justify didn't require any help in his hunt for the Triple Crown, trainer Bob Baffert received it on Tuesday as his star was drawn at the rail ahead of Saturday's big crescendo.

Ultimately, the horse will need to perform on the day to convert his hype into the final product, but Thoroughbred Insider remarked on how there's certainly a precedent in winners emerging from No. 1:

Thoroughbred Insider @ThoroInsider

#InsiderFunFact The No. 1 post has produced the most winners with 23. 15 winners have started from both the No. 3 and No. 5 gates. Do you consider post positions as a major factor in the Belmont stakes? https://t.co/L5ybtVORAB

Aside from all the usual speculation that comes in the aftermath of a post-position draw, Justify is worthy of his praise, as he's excelled in muddy wins at the Kentucky and the Preakness.

The main job for Baffert after those triumphs is simply to ensure Justify's progress continues as smoothly as it has been, and Meredith Daugherty of BloodHorse showed the star in fine form training at Churchill Downs:

Meredith Daugherty @BH_MDaugherty

Justify works 4F in :48.4 at @ChurchillDowns on Monday. Final breeze before #BelmontStakes https://t.co/w6gPN97GdI

Baffert provided an update on the horse's condition ahead of his trip to New York and also touched on whether Justify has what it takes to follow his other Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah (2015), via Bloodhorse:

Todd Pletcher is one other high-profile trainer with stakes in Saturday's race, and he brings the duo of Vino Rosso and Noble Indy to Belmont Park hoping one underdog (or both) will have a big race.

Neither horse impressed too much at the Kentucky Derby, as Vino Rosso and Noble Indy finished ninth and 17th, respectively, but they've had the advantage of getting used to their surroundings in Elmont since then, via XBTV:

XBTV @WatchXBTV

Vino Rosso & Noble Indy jogged at Belmont Park on June 5th. The pair of Todd Pletcher runners are likely to make their next start in the @BelmontStakes. Watch more Triple Crown coverage on https://t.co/vCZgVVRYIS https://t.co/nbAxJVdwsz

Pletcher will likely bemoan his fortune on Tuesday, when Vino Rosso and Noble Indy were drawn wider at eight and nine, respectively, hurting their chances of getting inside early to cut down a likely Justify lead.

There's increasing reason to consider British traveller Gronkowski as a dark horse after he was drawn at No. 6, however; Ron Halfback of SportsBetting3.com wrote that the average winning position at Belmont between 1997 and 2017 was 6.33.

OddsShark's Digital Bob touched upon some intriguing superstition surrounding Gronkowski's bid for an upset win, although his odds have since dropped:

Digital Bob @price_is_trites

A horse named Gronkowski (after Rob Gronkowski) has been given 69/1 odds to win the Belmont Stakes, a race that takes place on June 9th (6/9) #Nice

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, for whom the horse is named after, could hardly believe the serendipity himself and told Kalyn Kahler of Sports Illustrated"I can't even explain that coincidence. It's just wild."

European veteran Gronkowski isn't as accustomed to dirt, however, and may need more than a little of that fortune if he's to beat Justify, whose strong preparations suggest he's on course for Triple Crown treasure.

Prediction: Justify to win and complete the Triple Crown

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