THE Triple Crown is set to go off this Sunday (8:50am AEST) and the masses will be watching to see if American Pharoah can become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with ease, the Bob Baffert-trained colt is set for stardom and the punters agree.
American Pharoah is the short $1.70 favourite after drawing barrier five and a field of only eight runners will contest the $1.7 million Group 1.
We’ll look at each runners’ chances and see if it’s possible to upset American Pharoah.
1. Mubtaahij – $11
Mubtaahij is trained by South African Michael de Kock and it won impressively two starts back at Meydan in Dubai.
The three-year-old colt has won four from 10 starts, but failed to live up to expectations in the Group 1 Kentucky Derby where it finished eighth – 9.5 lengths behind American Pharoah.
It does bring international form to the race which other runners don’t and the inside draw will help it find the lead easily. The regular rider has been changed for Irad Ortiz-Jr so expect something out of left field for this.
The $11 with Crownbet.com.au is a touch short, but respect for place money.
2. Tale Of Verve – $21
Tale Of Verve might only be a one-win colt, but its run for second in the Preakness Stakes was very impressive.
The Dallas Stewart-trained runner was well off the pace heading into the Pimlico straight, but it grew wings and managed to run American Pharoah to within seven lengths.
That might not sound impressive, but it was the only runner making ground on the champion and there is no reason why it won’t figure in the money again.
You won’t get the same odds as last time, but its chances remain strong and it is a possible upset contender.
3. Madefromlucky – $18
Madefromlucky is one of those dangerous Belmont Stakes horses which hasn’t run in either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.
Running out the 2400 metres is not easy and some horses are set for that distance. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt looks a natural improver over this distance and it was last seen at Belmont winning by a length.
Pletcher is a smart trainer and this three-year-old has winning experience having won three from nine with four placings.
Thought its price would have been shorter than $18, but punters haven’t seen this horse in the first two legs, so they might be weary of backing it here.
4. Frammento – $41
There isn’t much to like about Frammento here after the colt finished 12 lengths behind American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby.
The Nicholas Zito-trained son of Midshipman has won just once from eight starts and its form just looks like a poor form guide for the Belmont.
Backers will say the 2400-metre race could suit it, but based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s best to overlook this runner and focus on the others.
5. American Pharoah – $1.70
American Pharoah is trying to do what no horse has done since 1978, but what is stopping it?
Sure, there’s the fact that it must rise in distance and that has tripped the majority of Triple Crown contenders over the past few years, including California Chrome which looked everything above and beyond a superstar last season.
There just doesn’t seem to be the top notch opposition this year and AP could run in fourth gear and still win. That’s what a lot of people think and it could well be the case.
We think the $1.70 is rather generous and everything points towards the fairy tale for American Pharoah. With its stud rights already sold to Coolmore Stud, this could well be the last time we see the colt in action.
You just never know, so take the $1.70 at CrownBet.com.au and enjoy the race.
6. Frosted – $5.50
Frosted is the main danger to the favourite and that is clear based on that betting alone.
The Godolphin-owned colt by Tapit finished an eye-catching fourth in the Kentucky Derby after tailing off in the early going.
It finished off better than any other runner and to finish within 3.3 lengths of American Pharoah was outstanding.
The extra distance looks ideal, but it wouldn’t want to give American Pharoah the same head start as it did in the Derby, because it simply won’t have enough gas to run it down.
Add Frosted to your Belmont Stakes quinella options. If Frosted and American Pharoah run 1-2, then quinella should pay around $3.
7. Keen Ice – $26
We’re not so keen on Keen Ice and the market suggests only a few are.
The Dale Romans-trained colt finished a credible seventh in the Derby, but it ran better than expected that day and it will need to improve drastically on that effort.
The son of Curlin doesn’t have any form behind any runner in this field so it is hard to get a line on its most recent placings at Fairmont and Aqueduct.
Not for us, but it could run into the minor money with luck.
8. Materiality – $6.50
Punters rate the Todd Pletcher-trained Materiality a good chance after it finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby.
Prior to that run, the son of Afleet Alex was unbeaten in four starts and it didn’t get many favours last time out, so this race could be right up its alley.
There is still plenty of unknown about it, but it has been given time for this by bypassing the Preakness and money continues to come for it.
It is another that could upset American Pharoah, but take the $1.65 for the place which is much safer money.
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