Belmont Stakes Picks 2018: Examining Latest Vegas Predictions and OddsJune 8, 2018
The wait is almost over. There is now just a day to go until Justify has his chance at history in Saturday's 2018 Belmont Stakes.
After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Justify can become just the 13th Triple Crown winner if he prevails at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, in the 150th running of one of the world's most prestigious races.
Undefeated in five career starts, Bob Baffert's mightily impressive colt heads into Saturday's race as the deserved favourite, per OddsShark:
However, there's a reason only 12 horses have completed the Triple Crown before.
It is an incredibly hard feat to achieve and, having run the Derby and Preakness in the last five weeks, Justify now faces the toughest—and, at 12 furlongs, the longest—run of his career.
He will come out of gate No. 1, which is often seen as a hindrance.
Alicia Wincze Hughes of BloodHorse provided the post positions in full after the draw was made on Tuesday:
Starting from the rail provides Justify's jockey Mike Smith with a challenge, but the two-time Belmont winner will likely look to push his mount to the front from the off and dictate the pace of the race.
As far as the odds are concerned, Hofburg is the key challenger to Justify.
The Bill Mott trainee will be fresher than Justify. He skipped the Preakness after finishing seventh in the Kentucky Derby—a slightly false position after he endured late traffic trouble.
Hofburg is also the son of Tapit, who has sired three of the last four Belmont winners—Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016) and Tapwrit (2017).
Those are some impressive genes, and Hofburg will most certainly be one to watch out for over the longer course at the Belmont Stakes.
Another horse who could potentially spoil the Triple Crown party is Bravazo, who finished a narrow second to Justify at the Preakness while closing strongly.
If it comes down to a sprint to the line between Justify and Bravazo on Saturday, D. Wayne Lukas' colt may just come out on top.
Predicted Finish: 1. Justify 2. Hofburg 3. Blended Citizen