Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford drew the extreme outside post position, No. 12, when post positions were drawn Wednesday for Saturday's 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont.
Trainer Dale Romans is downplaying the post position, despite the fact that no horse has ever won the Belmont from the 12th post position.
"I think in a one-and-a-half mile race like the Belmont, the post position isn't that important," Romans said. "He'll be the last one in and the first one out."
Shackleford is expected to go to the front in the Belmont and set the pace. The question will be whether or not the horse can maintain that lead over the Belmont's 11/2 miles, easily the longest of the Triple Crown races.
To put the $1 million Belmont in perspective, when the field is well into the first turn, horses still have to run the equivalent of the Kentucky Derby's length.
"It's hard to realize just how big this place is, and how much racing there's still left when you turn for home," Romans said.
Shackleford, 4-1, is currently the third choice in the morning line. The Daily Racing Form opines that holding the lead the entire was is a tall challenge for the Preakness champ.
Through the last 26 runnings of the Belmont, only the improbable Da' Tara – the rank outsider at 38-1 – has been able to lead throughout ... The 12 furlongs of the Belmont may be really pushing his [Shackleford's] distance capabilities.
Saturday's post time is 6:35 p.m. ET (NBC).