- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2008

Big Brown will have the shortest trip around Belmont Park on Saturday in his quest to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner and first in 30 years.

The undefeated colt will start the Belmont Stakes from the No. 1 post position and was installed yesterday as the 2-5 favorite.

Big Brown has thrived starting from outside posts but won his debut from the rail last fall at Saratoga.

“I just can’t see a post position getting him beat,” trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said. “As long as we break good, I can see us getting a good trip. There’s not a lot of speed in the race. If we need our horse early on, he’ll be there for us.”

Big Brown is the 11th horse since 1979 to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown. The first 10 failed to win the Belmont Stakes, which at 1 1/2 miles is the longest of the series.

From the rail out, the field is: Big Brown, Guadalcanal (50-1), Macho Again (20-1), Denis of Cork (12-1), Casino Drive (7-2), Da’ Tara (30-1), Tale of Ekati (20-1), Anak Nakal (30-1), Ready’s Echo (30-1) and Icabad Crane (20-1). Post time Saturday is 6:25 p.m.

“I just don’t think there is any horse out there that can compete with him at this stage,” Dutrow Jr. said. “The only horse that is remotely close is Casino Drive, and I’m not afraid of him at all.”

In the Kentucky Derby, Big Brown won from the outside post, No. 20. He broke from the No. 6 post in the Preakness.

Starting from the rail shouldn’t make a big difference because there is so little early speed in the race.

As expected, Casino Drive and Denis of Cork were made the second and third favorites.

Denis of Cork, Tale of Ekati and Anak Nakal return to the scene after skipping the Preakness. Macho Again and Icabad Crane will join Big Brown in coming back from a three-week break.

Macho Again was second to Big Brown in the Preakness.

“We came here because we believe we have a horse that belongs in this race,” trainer Dallas Stewart said. “Big Brown is a very good horse, but this is a race where anything can happen. That’s why the Triple Crown is so hard to get.”

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