We are closing in on finding out if American Pharoah can break a 37-year drought and become horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Post time at Belmont Park is 6:50 p.m., and the race will be broadcast on NBC.
This is trainer Bob Baffert’s fourth attempt at a Triple Crown and jockey Victor Espinoza’s third.
Baffert’s previous Triple Crown tries came with War Emblem in 2002, Silver Charm in 1997 and Real Quiet in 1998. Espinoza had lost Triple Crowns on War Emblem and California Chrome last year.
Since Affirmed won the last Triple Crown, 14 horses have been in position to sweep the series.
One of them, I’ll Have Another, never made it to the 2012 Belmont because he suffered an injury that was discovered the day before the race. He was retired.
The year before, the Triple Crown candidate was Big Brown, and he ran in the Belmont but did not finish, as jockey Kent Desormeaux pulled him up in the stretch.
For the first time in the history of the race, the New York Racing Association capped attendance at Belmont Park at 90,000. That was in response to problems with seating, parking and concessions last year, when the crowd exceeded 100,000 in anticipation of California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid, which was stopped by Tonalist.
American Pharoah came into the Belmont on a six-race winning streak by a combined 301⁄4 lengths. He won the Kentucky Derby by a length over Firing Line on May 2 and the Preakness by seven lengths over Tale of Verve on a muddy track at Pimlico on May 16.
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