WINNIPEG - In 2015, American Pharoah became the 12th horse in history to win racing’s Triple Crown. On Saturday afternoon, Justify has a chance to become No. 13.
And you can bet on the race at Assiniboia Downs.
It’s the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., and Justify, a prohibitive 4-5 morning-line favorite, has a chance to add the Belmont to his wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
However, before he can claim the Triple Crown, Justify has to beat a 10-horse field over the longest race of the Triple Crown, a mile and a half at Belmont.
“Bravazo, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained horse, surprised with a sixth-place finish at the Derby and then placed second at a much-less crowded Preakness,” said Sporting News racing expert Vinnie Iyer. “But distance will definitely be a big factor working against it.
“Hofburg, which finished seventh at the Derby but didn't run in the Preakness, has a better shot at the upset. Tenfold, third in the Preakness, is hampered by not having the experience at the longer Derby. Vino Rosso disappointed with ninth at the Derby, but it has the talent and rest to rebound more than a month later.
“Justify counters all that by having plenty of energy left, in the unique position of not having raced as a 2-year-old. It will be ready and it would be shocking if it's not in great position to take the Belmont coming down the final stretch.”
Justify’s critics will point to the fact that he’s coming out of the No. 1 hole, along the rail and that the race is a very long, mile and a half. Trainer, Bob Baffert, will tell you in a long race like the Belmont, the post position doesn’t matter. He’ll also claim that Justify is ready to run the longer distance.
Here are the post positions and odds for Saturday’s race:
Post positions, morning line odds for 2018 Belmont Stakes
2. Free Drop Billy30-1
5. Restoring Hope30-1
8. Vino Rosso8-1
9. Noble Indy30-1
10. Blended Citizen15-1
Post time is slated for 5:39 p.m. CST, although you can bet the gate won’t open until about 5:50 p.m. You’ll have plenty of time to get a bet down at Assiniboia Downs or at the following list of off-track locations:
Pembina Hotel - 1011 Pembina Hwy (open daily at 11 a.m.)
Quest Inn - 367 Ellice Avenue (open daily at 11 a.m. Tues. through Sat.)
Canad Inns Destination Centre Windsor Park - 1034 Elizabeth Road (open daily at 11 a.m.)
Green Brier Inn - 1611 Main Street (open daily at 11 a.m.)
Central Hotel (Rookies) - 201 Melrose Avenue East (open daily at 11 a.m.)
McPhillips Station Casino- 484 McPhillips Street (open daily at 10 a.m.)
Club Regent Casino - 1415 Regent Avenue W (open daily at 10 a.m.)
This week, there is live racing at the Downs on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. And don’t forget, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the free VLT tournaments continue, starting at 8 p.m. each night. You can get into the draw for 10 chances to win $20 in free VLT spins. The top winner from each night participates in a month-end finale for more spins and $250 in prize money.
And every Friday and Saturday, the Downs presents $10 buy-in poker. The registration is at 8 p.m. and the game starts at 8:30 p.m.
And remember, you can bet on the Belmont Stakes and watch the race live at Assiniboia Downs.
Photo courtesy Assiniboia Downs & Scott Taylor