Belmont Stakes Draw: Justify Is Favorite in Bid for Triple Crown

Gronkowski ready root for ‘beast of a horse’ in Belmont 2018

Gronkowski ready root for ‘beast of a horse’ in Belmont 2018

Something Bob Baffert always dreads has come true ahead of the Belmont Stakes: Justify drew the No. 1 post for the colt's bid to sweep the Triple Crown.

Baffert is not a fan of the inside post for his horses, no matter what the race. "So we'll just deal with it".

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. Hofburg, who is trained by the Hall of Famer Bill Mott, drew Post 4 and was made the second choice at 9-2.

Bravazo and Vino Rosso were pegged at 8-1 each in the morning line. The brand's logo was on the trousers of Victor Espinoza when he rode American Pharoah to the Triple Crown in 2015. Justify and Bravazo will be the only horses to campaign the entire Triple Crown trail this year.

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If they top their group, they'll play either Australia or Denmark in the last 16. No country will supply as many coaches in next month's FIFA World Cup .

Baffert threw out a first pitch in a major league game for the first time since 2015 after American Pharoah's ride into history.

Justify will line up with nine horses to his right as part of a field that includes five horses he beat during a rain-soaked Kentucky Derby and two he beat at a wet and foggy Preakness Stakes.

The D Wayne Lukas-trained Bravazo, who finished a half-length behind Justify at the Preakness, will break from the third post while John Velazquez, a two-times Belmont Stakes victor, will be aboard Vino Rosso in the eighth post. One horse - Seahenge - considered a possibility for Saturday's race didn't enter, but the rest of the lineup was as expected.

Gronkowski is a 12-1 long shot, no doubt attractive odds for his part-owner Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots tight end.

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