The official Belmont Stakes lineup has been set and I’ll Have Another will have to defeat a field of 11 other contenders to take the race and win the Triple Crown. In fact, in terms of number of opponents beaten a victory by I’ll Have Another would set an all time record.
Most of the Belmont Stakes betting interest focuses on I’ll Have Another’s bid to become only the 12th Triple Crown winner in history and first since Affirmed turned the trifecta in 1978. By at least one metric, I’ll Have Another would have a claim to being the most dominant Triple Crown winner in history. Facing a field of 11 other horses in the Belmont, I’ll Have Another has already beaten 19 other adversaries in the Kentucky Derby and 10 rivals in the Preakness Stakes. This means that were he to win the Triple Crown he’d have beaten 40 horses to do it. That would be the most ever by a Triple Crown winner by a wide margin.
To find the previous record holder you have to go all the way back to 1937 when War Admiral became the fourth winner of the Triple Crown. In that year, War Admiral ran against a total of 32 horses in his three Triple Crown races. Should I’ll Have Another emerge victorious he’ll hold the new record of ‘most horses beaten’ along the Triple Crown trail by a margin of 8.
I’ll Have Another will have some other history to overcome in the Belmont Stakes. He drew post position 11–trainer Doug O’Neill said it was a perfect position from which to monitor the pace and should work to the advantage of a closer like I’ll Have Another. History hasn’t been kind of the horse starting in the #11 slot–only two horses have won the Belmont Stakes from the #11 starting position.
The betting odds for the race have I’ll Have Another installed as a prohibitive favorite of 4-5 and that suggests that the starting position won’t be much of a factor. In addition, a number of horse racing experts are of the opinion that everything sets up perfectly for I’ll Have Another and that he’s got a good chance to make history and win the Triple Crown.