The post draw for the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes did not exactly yield the most pleasant results for favorites Animal Kingdom and Shackleford. Both colts will start Saturday's race on the outside with Graham Motion's Derby winner jumping from Gate 9 and Greg Romans' Preakness victor charging from Gate 12. Despite the less than ideal draw, Animal Kingdom has been made a +220 moneyline favorite to win the 2011 Belmont Stakes in the latest Sports Betting Odds.
Gate 9 is probably not the spot Graham Motion would have selected had he been able to choose Animal Kingdom's starting position; however, the slot has fared quite well in recent years.
The gate has yielded only four Belmont winners, but three of those have come since 1998 with Victory Gallop (1998), Point Given (2001), and Afleet Alex (2005) all claiming first place in the 1 1/2 miles event.
Perhaps that is why Motion did not fret too much over the selection.
"I don't think it's going to take him out of his game," Motion said. "I would have preferred 6 or 7 [but] it's [still] going to be a tactical race, no doubt about it."
Greg Romans, who helped guide Shackleford to Preakness glory less than two weeks ago, probably felt more disappointment with his colt's unlucky draw. Gate 12 has never produced a Belmont winner and it would seem a particularly unfortunate spot for a speed horse such as Shackleford.
Romans did not appear distressed by the development, though, indicating he expects the colt to perform well regardless.
"I think in a 1 1/2 mile race like the Belmont, the post position isn't that important," Romans said. "With post position 12, he'll be the last one in and the first one out. He's fast enough that he'll be able to break and clear everyone anyway."
The 143rd Belmont Stakes is scheduled to get underway this Saturday, June 11th at approximately 6:30pm. ET. The event, which takes place at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, will be broadcast live on NBC.
1. Master of Hounds +800
2. Stay Thirsty +2200
3. Ruler On Ice +3000
4. Santiva +1800
5. Brilliant Speed +1600
6. Nehro +450
7. Monzon +4000
8. Prime Cut +2000
9. Animal Kingdom +220
10. Mucho Macho Man +1000
11. Isn't He Perfect +4000
12. Shackleford +500