"I never like drawing the rail in one of these races, but we have it and we can't change it", Baffert said. Preakness runner-up Bravazo and Vino Rosso are next at 8-1, followed by Gronkowski and Tenfold at 12-1, Blended Citizen at 15-1 and 30-1 shots Noble Indy, Free Drop Billy and Restoring Hope. Justify and Bravazo will be the only horses to campaign the entire Triple Crown trail this year. The rest of the field is 12-1 or longer. Notably, Hofburg's team chose to skip the Preakness Stakes to run extra length off the Belmont on fresh legs - just as Empire Maker did in his 2003 upset.
Justify, who is undefeated in five outings, had been regarded as a freakish talent but an untested one until he ended a 136-year-old hoodoo at the Kentucky Derby on 5 May with his fourth win in as many tries, running from the No7 post on a sloppy track and becoming the first horse to win the famed race at Churchill Downs having not raced as a two-year-old since 1882. "Winners fly Wheels Up and we wish Justify all the best".
Justify was led off the horse van by assistant trainer Jim Barnes, who then passed the lead shank to trainer Bob Baffert, who took Justify around the shed row several times before relinquishing him to groom Lalo Luna.
Since 1905, a leading 23 horses have won from the No. 1 post. But none have won from the rail since Empire Maker in 2003.
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European veteran Gronkowski isn't as accustomed to dirt, however, and may need more than a little of that fortune if he's to beat Justify, whose strong preparations suggest he's on course for Triple Crown treasure.
"It's all you can hope for", Baffert said. "He came out of nowhere, and now he's picking up steam. What a attractive horse.' He's become a rock star, like Pharoah, so let's see if he can do it".
"Heading into Belmont, our team is thrilled to partner with Wheels Up, America's fastest-growing private aviation company", said Elliott Walden, President and Chief Executive of WinStar Farm, who co-owns Justify with the China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, and Starlight Racing.
The 150th Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 9 in Elmont, N.Y. The race is held at Belmont Park with a post time of 6:37 p.m. ET.