The Belmont Stakes is today. And, if you’re bothering to read this article, you probably already know that if American Pharoah wins, he’ll be horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner since 1978. The race is at 6:50 p.m. EDT on NBC. (But coverage of today’s earlier races at Belmont Park has already started on NBC Sports Live Extra, and you should watch it as soon as Barcelona wins this afternoon’s UEFA Champions League finale.)
Here’s my breakdown of the field.
Morning line odds (which are not an expert’s thoughts on a horse’s chances of winning, but rather a prediction of how the public will bet on the race—the actual odds depend on how the public does bet and, as such, change right up until the race goes off)—10/1
This horse has mostly run in Europe, making it hard to compare his performance to the rest of the field, who have all competed exclusively in the United States. His one U.S. race was the Kentucky Derby where he finished an unimpressive eighth out of a field of 18. (Yes, an eighth place finish can be admirable, depending on how it’s achieved—like if a horse got bumped or tripped but came back. Mubtaahij doesn’t have such an excuse.)
Mubtaahij, however, does have the best breeding for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes—the longest distances these horses have yet, and probably ever will, race. His sire’s (father’s) average winning distance was 8.7 furlongs (eight furlongs to a mile) and his dam’s sire’s (mother’s father’s) was 8.8. Most of the sire’s and dam’s sires of horses in this field had averages winning distances in the seven furlong range.
Fun fact: His owner is a first cousin of the ruler of Dubai.
Verdict: A possibility for third or fourth place, meaning consider him in trifectas (pick the top three finishers) or superfectas (pick the top four finishers).