New York • I’ll Have Another went into lockdown on Wednesday, moving into a secured barn shortly after the colt was made the early 4-5 favorite to win the Belmont Stakes in his quest to become the 12th Triple Crown champion and first in 34 years.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was the last of the 12 Belmont horses to arrive at the detention barn, showing up four minutes past the noon check-in deadline. The chestnut colt calmly walked a few hundred yards down a dirt path from where he had been stabled since arriving May 20 and stepped into the barn with a horde of media tracking his every move.
“No complaints, no hurdles,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “He’s being good.”
Whether he’s good enough to end the 34-year drought of Triple Crown winners will be decided Saturday, when I’ll Have Another breaks from the No. 11 post under Mario Gutierrez. He’ll have to contend with 11 rivals.
“We’re going to see how the pace sets up,” O’Neill said. “If they’re crawling, hopefully we’ll be leading the crawl and if they’re flying, hopefully we’ll be sitting in behind the horses flying.”
Just two Belmont winners have come out of the No. 11 post since 1905. The last was Sarava, a 70-1 shot who ended War Emblem’s Triple Crown bid in 2002. I’ll Have Another bucked history in the Derby as the first horse to win from the 19th post.
Dullahan was the 5-1 second choice and drew post No. 5. The colt finished third in the Kentucky Derby and sat out the Preakness.
“Five is as good as any,” trainer Dale Romans said. “It doesn’t matter going a mile and a half with my horse. I didn’t want to be down on the rail or way outside.”
Union Rags arrived from his training base in Maryland shortly after 11 a.m. and settled into the security barn, which will be monitored around the clock leading up to the Belmont.
The field for Saturday’s 144th Belmont Stakes, with post position, horse’s name, jockey’s name and odds:
1. Street Life J. Lezcano 12-1
2. Unstoppable U J. Alvarado 30-1
3. Union Rags J. Velazquez 6-1
4. Atigun J. Leparoux 30-1
5. Dullahan J. Castellano 5-1
6. Ravelo’s Boy A. Solis 50-1
7. Five Sixteen R. Napravnik 50-1
8. Guyana Star Dweej K. Desormeaux 50-1
9. Paynter M. Smith 8-1
10. Optimizer C. Nakatani 20-1
11. I’ll Have Another M. Gutierrez 4-5
12. My Adonis R. Dominguez 20-1
P Saturday, 4:30 p.m. post time
TV • Ch. 5