Sidelines with John Clay

Belmont Stakes: The field after the post position draw

"He looks phenomenal today," trainer Bob Baffert said of Kentucky Derby winner Justify. "He's full of himself. He knows he’s a stud. He came back and he really wasn’t that tired. He ate up last night and today he's been a handful."
"He looks phenomenal today," trainer Bob Baffert said of Kentucky Derby winner Justify. "He's full of himself. He knows he’s a stud. He came back and he really wasn’t that tired. He ate up last night and today he's been a handful." AP

If Justify is going to win the Belmont Stakes and claim the Triple Crown, he's going to have to do it out of the dreaded No. 1 post position.

After Tuesday night's draw for Saturday's big race at Belmont Park, here's a look at the field:

1-Justify (4-5): A perfect five-for-five in his career, Justify is trying to become the sport's 13th Triple Crown champion with a Belmont win on Saturday. He won the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/2 lengths before taking the Preakness by a half-length. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Belmont twice -- 2001 with Point Given and 2015 with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Jockey Mike Smith has won the Belmont twice -- 2010 with Drosselmeyer and 2013 with Palace Malice.

2-Free Drop Billy (30-1): Trained by Dale Romans, Free Drop Billy hasn't won a race since the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last October. Since then, he ran second in Holy Bull, third in the Gotham, third in the Blue Grass and 16th in the Kentucky Derby. His sire, Union Rags, did win the 2012 Belmont. Jockey Robbie Albarado has never won the Belmont.

3-Bravazo (8-1): The won of Awesome Again ran a strong second in the foggy Preakness Stakes on May 19. He ran sixth in the Kentucky Derby for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has won the Belmont four times. Lukas won the race three straight years -- 1994 with Tabasco Cat, 1995 with Thunder Gulch and 1996 with Editor's Note -- before winning it in 2000 with Commendable. In his career, Bravazo has won three of his 10 starts. His last win came in the Grade 2 Risen Star on Feb. 17. Jockey Luis Saez is looking for his first Belmont win.

4-Hofburg (9-2): The lightly-raced son of Tapit finished a trouble seventh in the Kentucky Derby after running second to Audible in the Florida Derby. Before that, Hofburg had run just twice in Maiden Special Weight races, winning in his second try on March 3. He is trained by Bill Mott, who won the 2010 with Drosselmeyer. He is owned by Juddmonte, which won the 2003 Belmont with Empire Maker. Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. won the Belmont in 2016 on top of Creator.

5-Restoring Hope (30-1): Also trained by Bob Baffert (Justify), Restoring Hope ran third in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial on April 7. Not qualified for the Derby, he ran in the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on Derby day, but finished 12th out of 14 on a sloppy track. The son of Giant's Causeway has one win in five career starts. Looking for his first Bemont win, Florent Geroux has the mount.

6-Gronkowski (12-1): Bred in Kentucky, Gronkowski won his last four races in England, including the Burradon Stakes on March 30, which earned him an invitation to the Kentucky Derby. An injury and training setback scrapped those plans, so the son of Lonhro is running in the Belmont instead. Owner Phoenix Thoroughbreds named the colt for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has purchased a minor share of the horse. Phoenix recently moved Gronkowsi from trainer Jermey Noseda to trainer Chad Brown. Jockey Jose Ortiz rode last year's Belmont winner Tapwrit.

7-Tenfold (12-1): The lightly-raced son of Curlin ran third in the Preakness Stakes on May 19. Before that, he ran a disappointing fifth in the Arkansas Derby after winning a Maiden Special Weight in February and an allowance race in march. The Preakness was Tenfold's first race outside of Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. He's trained by Steve Asmussen, who won the 2016 Belmont with Creator. Looking for his first Belmont win, Ricardo Santana has the mount.

8-Vino Rosso (8-1): Winner of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial on April 7, Vino Rosso ran a disappointing ninth in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Curlin is trained by Todd Pletcher, who has won the Belmont three times -- 2007 Rags to Riches, 2013 Palace Malice and 2017 Tapwrit. Vino Rosso is owned by native New Yorkers Mike Repole and Vinnie Viola. Jockey John Velazquez has won the Belmont twice -- 2007 with Rags to Riches and 2012 with Union Rags.

9-Noble Indy (30-1): The Louisiana Derby winner finished next-to-last, 19th out of 20, in the Kentucky Derby. Before that, Noble Indy had won three of his four career starts. The son of Take Charge Indy is owned by WinStar in partnership with Mike Repole. WinStar also owns Justify. Repole also owns Vino Rosso. Noble Indy is also trained by Todd Pletcher. Jockey Javier Castellano does not have a Belmont win.

10-Blended Citizen (15-1): Trained by Doug O'Neill, Blended Citizen won the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 12. Before that, he ran fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes after winning the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park on March 17. O'Neill won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I'll Have Another in 2012, but the colt was scratched from the Belmont the day before the race. Kyle Frey is Blended Citizen's jockey.

Belmont Stakes 2018

1JustifyBob BaffertMike Smith4-5
2Free Drop BillyDale RomansRobbie Albarado30-1
3BravazoD. Wayne LukasLuis Saez8-1
4HofburgBill MottIrad Ortiz, Jr.9-2
5Restoring HopeBob BaffertFlorent Geroux30-1
6GronkowskiChad BrownJose Ortiz12-1
7TenfoldSteve AsmussenRicardo Santana, Jr.12-1
8Vino RossoTodd PletcherJohn Velazquez8-1
9Noble IndyTodd PletcherJavier Castellano30-1
10Blended CitizenDoug O'NeillKyle Frey15-1
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