Amer­i­can Pharoah draws No. 5 po­si­tion

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Bill Dwyre bill.dwyre@la­

NEW YORK — Triple Crown hope­ful Amer­i­can Pharoah drew a mid­dle start­ing po­si­tion for Satur­day’s 11⁄ 2- mile Bel­mont Stakes, and trainer Bob Baf­fert said that the No. 5 gate in the eight horse-field was fine.

“I don’t think there is a hor­ri­ble po­si­tion,” Baf­fert said.

Owner Ahmed Zayat’s Amer­i­can Pharoah, seek­ing to be­come the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978, and the 12th all-time, was made the ob­vi­ous morn­ing-line fa­vorite at 3-5.

Sec­ond choice in the bet­ting was 5-1 Frosted, with vet­eran Joel Rosario aboard. Vic­tor Espinoza, who fin­ished in a dead heat for fourth in last year’s Bel­mont when his Cal­i­for­nia Chrome was seek­ing the Triple Crown, will ride Amer­i­can Pharoah.

Other en­tries in­clude 6-1 Ma­te­ri­al­ity, 10-1 Mub­taahij, 12-1 Made­from­lucky, 15-1 Tale Of Verve, 20-1 Keen Ice and 30-1 Fram­mento.

Be­sides Amer­i­can Pharoah, those horses that also ran in the Ken­tucky Derby are Ma­te­ri­al­ity, Mub­taahij, Keen Ice, Frosted and Fram­mento.

Tale Of Verve fin­ished sec­ond to Amer­i­can Pharoah in the Preak­ness Stakes.

Vet­eran Gary Stevens rode Fir­ing Line in the Derby and Preak­ness and picked up the Bel­mont ride on Tale Of Verve.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has two Bel­mont en­tries, Made­from­lucky and Ma­te­ri­al­ity.

The race is a Grade I worth $1.5 mil­lion, with $800,000 to the win­ner. It is sched­uled to go off at 3:50 p.m. PDT, and will be tele­vised on NBC.

Baf­fert said Wed­nes­day that all was “go­ing smoothly” in Amer­i­can Pharoah’s prepa­ra­tion.

“He is hold­ing his weight and his ap­petite is good,” Baf­fert said. “It’s my job just to keep him happy.

Hope­fully, he can bring it one more time.”

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