ELKTON, MD - MAY 17: Exercise rider David Nava takes Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness entrant Animal Kingdom over the track at the Fair Hill Training Center on May 17, 2011 in Elkton, Maryland. Animal Kingdom is the 2/1 morning line favorite for the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 11th. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ORIGINAL POST: The post position draw for the 2011 Belmont Stakes will take place at 11am Eastern on Wednesday, June 8th. The draw will be televised live on the MSG Network and streamed live on BelmontStakes.com. (The draw is also scheduled to air on HRTV.) If you are unable to follow along on either of those mediums, I'll also have a live blog of the events.
UPDATED: The results of the draw, along with the morning line odds, are summarized below.
Thoughts on the draw:
- With a mile and a half race, a field of 12, and an expected slow pace, the draw isn't really bad for anybody. Shackleford drew the widest and will most likely be on the lead, as Dale Romans stated after the draw, There's not a ton of distance between the starting gate and the first turn, so it's possible he could get hung a tad wide early, but I doubt that will have a major impact on the race.
- Master of Hounds on the rail is of no consequence as he doesn't have any early speed and the gate at the Belmont, unlike the Derby and Preakness, is right next to the rail (and does not require a "run-up" to the rail). He should only be in tight if someone to his outside breaks into him, but that's a concern for any horse, not just one on the rail.
Animal Kingdom sits in a good spot and I wonder if they might try to keep him a bit wider in the Belmont than in the Preakness. He didn't appear to love the dirt kicked into his face early on in the Preakness and if Johnny V. can keep him a little wider in this race, perhaps he'll settle better in the early stages.
- Nehro grabs second favorite status on the morning line, 4/1, over the Preakness winner. We'll have to wait and see how that plays out on race day.
- I would think that Shaun Bridgmohan will hustle Santiva towards the front right from the gate as he's run much more effectively when up near the lead. The chief question is, will the frontrunners stretch out the field, or will we see a tightly bunched pack for the first mile?
- The rest of Saturday's Belmont card will be drawn later on today. The entries for Friday are out, and both the G3-Poker Stakes and G2-Brooklyn Handicap came up with short fields (six and five horses, respectively). It seems doubtful that the Brooklyn/Belmont Double will pay well this year given the five-horse field of the Brooklyn.