On June 6 American Pharoah will attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner in nearly four decades, and is going to be a very short price.
The colt is currently the 5-6 betting favorite at Bovada, and figures to go off at even money or less when they load the field for the Belmont Stakes.
There seems to be no question that the Bob Baffert trainee is the best of his generation at this point, and comes into the race riding a six race winning streak, with the margin of victory a combined 30 ¼ lengths including a seven length victory in the Preakness Stakes in his last outing.
That adds up to a very imposing betting favorite for the Belmont Stakes, but we have seen this before, and history tells us he has a tall task ahead of him to win at the 1 ½ mile distance over the Belmont Park main track.
There have been 13 horses that have showed up in New York seeking the elusive Triple Crown since 1978, and a dozen lost on the track while I’ll Have Another succumbed to a minor injury shortly before the race in 2012.
Most of those going for the Triple Crown were sent off at short prices, including California Chrome last year. Big Brown was bet down to 1-5. Smarty Jones was 2-5. They all lost.
An interesting statistic is no Belmont Stakes winner has raced in the Preakness Stakes since Afleet Alex won both in 2005. The recent trend for the Belmont Stakes winner is to have raced in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness.
That was the route recent winners Palace Malice, Union Rags, Summer Bird, and Jazil used.
The only recent Belmont Stakes winners since 2000 that competed in all three jewels of the Triple Crown are Afleet Alex (2005) and Point Given (2001).
The betting favorite for the Belmont Stakes has only managed to win five times in the last 29 years. While the average win payoff in the Preakness is under $11, the average in the Belmont Stakes is $26.
Only Union Rags at $7.50 paid single digits in the past nine years.
Three of the last seven Belmont Stakes winners were making their Triple Crown race debut - Tonalist used the Peter Pan (G2) last year, Ruler On Ice exited the Federico Tesio in 2011, and Drosselmeyer prepped in the Dwyer (G3) in 2010.
That sure seems to add up to the fact that American Pharoah is going to be an underlay in the Belmont Stakes.