I'll Have Another draws wide in Belmont

Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another was installed as the odds-on favourite to win this weekend's $1 million Belmont Stakes despite drawing widely at Wednesday's post position draw.

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The three-year-old chestnut colt, bidding to become the first horse in 34 years to complete the elusive treble of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, will break from barrier 11 in the 12-horse field.

Despite the awkward draw, bookmakers had no hesitation in listing I'll Have Another as the 4-5 favourite for Saturday's 1-1/2 mile (2,414 metre) race.

"Being in the 11 hole, we're able to kind of see how the pace sets up," said I'll Have Another's trainer Doug O'Neill. "If they're crawling, we'll hopefully be leading the crawl. And if they're flying, we'll be sitting in behind the horses flying.

"But (jockey) Mario (Gutierrez) is such a confident rider, and he's so confident in I'll Have Another, and they get along so well. So we're in good shape."

Dullahan, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby then skipped the Preakness to save himself for the final and most gruelling leg of the Triple Crown, was listed as the second choice at 5-1 after drawing gate five.

"If we had won the Kentucky Derby and we thought we would, and the race showed we surely could have, then, of course, we would have gone to the Preakness," said Dullahan's owner Jerry Crawford.

"But having failed to do that, if you examine the genetic code of Dullahan and his sire ... it clearly mitigated in favour of giving the horse some rest and coming here."

Union Rags, a 6-1 hope, drew barrier three. Union Rags was the second favourite for the Kentucky Derby but could only finish seventh after getting checked early race. Like Dullahan, he missed the Preakness to focus on the Belmont.

"Obviously we've been a little disappointed," said owner Phyllis Wyeth. "But we still feel that Union Rags hasn't been able to really run his race as a three-year-old."

Bodemeister, who finished second in the first two legs, was not entered for the Belmont but his connections will be represented by their stablemate Paynter.

The lightly-raced colt was listed at odds of 8-1 after getting post position nine. All of the remaining runners were quoted at double-figure odds.

"It looks like we have drawn a nice post," said owner Ahmed Zayat. "There is a lack of speed, so maybe he'll be on the lead, but I'm not sure."

The field was extended to 12 runners when the Kelly Breen-trained My Adonis was entered on the morning of the draw. Breen won the race last year with Ruler On Ice and My Adonis was rated a 20-1 chance.

"Can I change," Breen joked after My Adonis drew the widest starting gate. "No, I think it's a good post, but I'll have to talk things over with (jockey) Ramon (Dominguez) and figure out a strategy."

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