I'll Have Another's Triple Crown cheat sheet: What to know for 144th running of the Belmont Stakes
Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET
(CBS News) With a chance to make history on the line, I'll Have Another takes his Triple Crown campaign to the starting gate of the Belmont Stakes Saturday to try and win the prize that has eluded contenders for 34 years.
Before blasting "Empire State of Mind" on a loop and forming an exacta bet from President Clinton's handicapping of the race, check out our handy cheat sheet to get ready for the 144th running of the Test of the Champion.
Is I'll Have Another going to win?: Belmont oddsmaker Eric Donovan certainly thinks so. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner was listed as the odds-on favorite at 4-5 in Wednesday's morning line.
It's worth noting that the last horse to win the Belmont with such heavily favored odds is also the last horse to win the Triple Crown, which was Affirmed in 1978 at 3-5. Since then, seven horses with similarly favorable odds failed to take the race, the most recent being Big Brown, who at 3-10 didn't finish the 2008 Belmont.
How many horses are in the race?: A field of 12 horses were assigned post positions after My Adonis' owners unexpectedly gave him the thumbs-up to race earlier this week.
(Scroll down for all post positions and odds)
When does the race start?: Post time is 6:40 p.m. ET. The race should start soon after that. The Belmont is the 11th race of the day at the track.
What's the weather forecast?: A beautiful day on Long Island. According to the National Weather Service, the forecast for Elmont, N.Y., calls for mostly sunny skies with temperatures nearing 82 degrees during the day and a 20 percent chance of showers at night.
Wasn't I'll Have Another's trainer punished recently?: Yes, but it doesn't affect Saturday's race. Doug O'Neill faces a 45-day suspension to begin as early as July after a different horse he trained was found to have higher-than-permitted levels of carbon dioxide. That's a possible sign of using an illegal performance-enhancing concoction called a "milkshake," but the horse was found not to have been given one. The suspension was imposed last month by California racing officials. O'Neill can appeal it and the $15,000 fine he received.
Trainer O'Neill suspended by Calif. racing board
"We know we play by the rules, and we got an incredible staff, and, bottom line, we got an incredible horse, so it's all about the horse, and it's all about trying to make history," O'Neill said in a "CBS This Morning" interview broadcast Thursday.
(Watch at left)
Isn't a labor dispute threatening to postpone the race?: Not anymore. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday afternoon a deal between the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers and the New York Racing Association over the labor contract between the two groups, which should now last into 2014.
What's the Belmont's traditional beverage?: There's a few of them. The official drink used to be the white carnation, named for the flowers that traditionally blanket the race winner, and features that unusual combination of cream, peach schnapps and vodka with orange juice and soda water. The more modern Belmont breeze combines bourbon with Sherry, simple syrup and juices. Here's how The New York Times described the drinks in 2005:
"Although the Belmont breeze, which tastes like a refined trashcan punch, represents a significant improvement over the nigh undrinkable white carnation, neither has much hope of achieving the status of the mint julep, their Kentucky Derby sister."
Of course, the Belmont's website promotes the Belmont jewel, which simply uses bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice.
Belmont Stakes field with post position, horse, jockey and odds
- 1. Street Life -- Jose Lezcano -- 12-1
- 2. Unstoppable U -- Junior Alvarado -- 30-1
- 3. Union Rags -- John Velazquez -- 6-1
- 4. Atigun -- Julien Leparoux -- 30-1
- 5. Dullahan -- Javier Castellano -- 5-1
- 6. Ravelo's Boy -- Alex Solis -- 50-1
- 7. Five Sixteen -- Rosie Napravnik -- 50-1
- 8. Guyana Star Dweej -- Kent Desormeaux -- 50-1
- 9. Paynter -- Mike Smith -- 8-1
- 10. Optimizer -- Corney Nakatani -- 20-1
- 11. I'll Have Another -- Mario Gutierrez -- 4-5
- 12. My Adonis -- Ramon Dominguez -- 20-1
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