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Belmont 2018 Post Time, Weather Forecast, Horse Odds, Jockey Info and Race Picks

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 9, 2018

Triple Crown hopeful Justify gallops around the main track during a workout at Belmont Park, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Elmont, N.Y. Justify will attempt to become the 13th Triple Crown winner when he races in the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race on Saturday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

After clearing the first two hurdles of the Triple Crown, Justify faces the toughest test of his career Saturday at the Belmont Stakes.

The longest of the Triple Crown races is a grueling challenge for any horse, especially Justify, who is running his third race in five weeks.

While Justify has been busy on the track, some of his top competitors for Saturday's race possess fresher legs after either skipping the Preakness Stakes or preparing solely for the Belmont Stakes.

If Justify pulls off the victory at Belmont Park, he will become the 13th horse to complete the Triple Crown and only the second horse to achieve the feat this century.

              

Weather Forecast

At the time of the race, it is expected to be 76 degrees and mostly cloudy with a wind of eight miles per hour out of the southeast in Elmont, New York, per Weather.com

           

Odds

Justify -110; bet $110 to win $100 

Hofburg +450; bet $100 to win $450 

Bravazo +750

Vino Rosso +900 

Tenfold +1.000 

Blended Citizen +1.800 

Gronkowski +2,500 

Noble Indy +2,800 

Free Drop Billy +3,000 

Restoring Hope +3,300

Odds via OddsShark.

            

Jockey Info and Post Positions

1. Justify (Mike Smith)

2. Free Drop Billy (Robby Albarado)

3. Bravazo (Luis Saez)

4. Hofburg (Irad Ortiz Jr.)

5. Restoring Hope (Florent Geroux)

6. Gronkowski (Jose Ortiz)

7. Tenfold (Victor Espinoza)

8. Vino Rosso (John Velazquez)

9. Noble Indy (Javier Castellano)

10. Blended Citizen (Kyle Frey)

            

Race Picks

Justify

It's hard to bet against Justify given his track record since first competing in February.

The undefeated three-year-old dominated the Kentucky Derby and held on to win the Preakness Stakes to set up the opportunity for trainer Bob Baffert's second Triple Crown in four years after American Pharoah achieved the feat in 2015. 

Justify appears to be in an ideal position, as he will be able to take the inside track from post No. 1 and won't have to make up ground from the outside like others in the field. 

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The Triple Crown contender also has a good feel for what most of his competitors will do, as he's raced against the majority of them in the past five weeks.

The only concern to have about Justify is whether he can survive the length of the Belmont Stakes, as it is the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1 ½ miles.

If the Preakness Stakes were that distance, Justify might not have been able to hold off the charge from Bravazo, who ran a strong race to take second.

Justify still deserves to be the favorite, but he has plenty left to prove in the grueling conclusion to the Triple Crown.

               

Vino Rosso 

There are a few intriguing horses in the field with a solid chance to ruin Justify's Triple Crown bid.

Vino Rosso fits in that category alongside Hofburg and Bravazo, and expect each of those horses to test Justify at some point during the race.

Starting out of post No. 8 in a 10-horse field would be a concern in other races, but since Vino Rosso has plenty of time to make up ground from the outside, he should be able to reach the front of the field with ease.

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

The Todd Pletcher-trained horse put together a nice buildup to the Kentucky Derby that was highlighted by a victory at the Wood Memorial.

However, Vino Rosso didn't achieve the success some expected of him at Churchill Downs, as he finished ninth.

As one of a few horses with fresh legs coming into the Belmont Stakes, Vino Rosso should be up for the challenge and, at the very least, will make Justify earn the Triple Crown in a tight race.

           

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.