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Belmont Stakes Post Positions, Animal Kingdom

Kentucky Derby winner and 2-1 Belmont Stakes morning line favorite Animal Kingdom drew a difficult but not impossible post position Wednesday for Saturday's third leg of the Triple Crown. Animal Kingdom will be in the nine spot in the 12-horse field.

From the Daily Racing Form:

Graham Motion, the trainer of Animal Kingdom, was happy where his colt drew in relation to Shackleford, who will be nearest the boisterous crowd lining the outside rail near the starting gate. Post 9 was a little farther out than ideal, Motion said, but preferable to some of the alternatives.

"I’d have rather been in 6 or 7," he said. "I didn’t want to be in 1 or 12."

While Shackleford will be on the lead, Animal Kingdom, as is his custom, will come from off the pace.

"We’ll know where he’ll be, but he doesn’t know where we’ll be," Motion said. "It’s going to be a tactical race. There’s no doubt about it."

The great equalizer in the race is the Belmont's long 11/2-mile distance, a length none of these horses has ever gone. The DRF thinks Animal Kingdom will be able to hold up:

The Belmont distance is a stretch for all of these 3-year-olds, but Animal Kingdom should have enough stamina to last the demanding trip.

Saturday's post time is 6:35 p.m. ET