June 5, 2018 / 10:54 PM / 6 months ago

Favored Justify draws the rail for Belmont

(Reuters) - Justify will come out of the No. 1 post position in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes where the undefeated chestnut colt will try to become only the second winner of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown since 1978.

Justify was installed as a 4-5 morning line favorite during a draw that was held on Tuesday at the home of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets.

The chestnut son of Scat Daddy needs a victory in the 1-1/2 mile (2.4 km) race to become the 13th Triple Crown winner and first since American Pharoah in 2015 to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Justify has only run five races in his career and will be tested by some fresher horses in the Belmont Stakes, which has often ended the dreams of many Triple Crown hopefuls.

“I never do like to draw the rail, but my horses seem to live in it,” said Baffert who trained the most recent Triple Crown winner. “I just feel that, I think most importantly, the horse is doing well. ... We have it. We can’t change it. So we’ll just deal with it.”

Justify will line up with nine horses to his right as part of a field that includes five horses he beat during a rain-soaked Kentucky Derby and two he beat at a wet and foggy Preakness Stakes.

Hofburg, who is trained by William I Mott and ridden by Irad Ortiz, drew the fourth post and is the second choice at 9-2.

Slideshow (10 Images)

Preakness runner-up Bravazo, the only other horse besides Justify who will be competing in each leg of the Triple Crown, and Vino Rosso were both were installed at 8-1 while the rest of the field is 12-1 or longer.

The D Wayne Lukas-trained Bravazo, who finished a half-length behind Justify at the Preakness, will break from the third post while John Velazquez, a two-times Belmont Stakes winner, will be aboard Vino Rosso in the eighth post.

Showers are expected in Elmont New York, where the race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds is scheduled to start at 6:37 p.m. ET (2237 GMT) on Saturday.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis

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