But no horse has a better track record at defying the odds than the favorite, Justify.
The unflappable colt has already erased the “curse of Apollo,” winning the 144th Kentucky Derby despite having never run as a 2-year-old, and secured the Preakness despite a thick fog and sloppy conditions.
But location, location, location is the key to the Belmont — on Tuesday, the post positions will be drawn at the New York Mets’ CitiField to determine whether the colt just one win away from the greatest glory in horse racing will be shouldered into the rail, where a potentially muddy track’s muck will be the deepest, or forced to battle in the thick of the pack.
Though his stablemate Audible, who was widely considered the top candidate to spoil a Triple Crown, has been withdrawn the race, Justify will still have to contend with Bravazo, the runner-up at Preakness and the current Sham to Justify’s Secretariat.
In recent memory, multiple players have fallen victim to the Belmont, from California Chrome, the 2014 rags-to-riches story who broke badly from the gate and finished fourth, to 2004’s Smarty Jones, edged by Birdstone just 70 yards away from victory.
If Justify survives the Triple Crown’s toughest trial, he’ll become the 13th thoroughbred to do so, only the second since 1978 and trainer Bob Baffert’s second victor, after American Pharoah in 2015.
Here’s how to watch the 2018 Belmont Stakes post draw:
Date: Tuesday, June 5
Location: CitiField, New York
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Horses expected in the field and odds (via Bovada):
Vino Rosso, 8-1
Blended Citizen, 14-1
Noble Indy, 33-1
Free Drop Billy, 50-1