Big Brown connections confident, despite drawing rail for Belmont

NEW YORK (AP) - Big Brown will begin his bid to complete the
Triple Crown by breaking from the No. 1 post in the Belmont Stakes.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner drew the inside position
against nine rivals Wednesday. Big Brown is listed at 2-5 odds for
Saturday's grueling 1½-mile race.
"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 is not a lot of speed in the race. If we
need our horse early on, he'll be there for us."
Big Brown is 5-0, winning by a combined 39 lengths. A Belmont
victory would make him the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years.
His main challenger, Japanese-bred Casino Drive, will start from
the No. 5 post. He is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. He
and Big Brown are the only horses with single-digit odds.
Denis of Cork was listed as the 12-1 third choice. He rallied
from 20th to finish third in the Derby.
Nick Zito will saddle a pair of 30-1 shots - Da'Tara and Anak
Nakal, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby. Da'Tara was
ninth in the Florida Derby, beaten by 23½ lengths by Big Brown.
Guadalcanal was a surprise late entry. The colt is winless in
five starts for owner-trainer Fred Seitz, but was second by a nose
while going the Belmont distance of 1½ miles in his last start on
turf at Churchill Downs.
Big Brown walked around his barn Wednesday, staying out of the
morning rain.
"The horse is doing great. Everybody has seen him run. He's
beaten mostly every horse in the race with ease," Dutrow said.
"We've got a couple of newcomers. I don't think they add too
Wood Memorial winner Tale of Ekati was fourth in the Derby for
trainer Barclay Tagg.
Two Preakness runners are taking on Big Brown again. Macho Again
was second in the Preakness and Icabad Crane was third.
Ready's Echo was third in the Peter Pan at Belmont, won by
Casino Drive in his only U.S. start.
The field, from the rail out: Big Brown (Kent Desormeaux, 2-5);
Guadalcanal (Javier Castellano, 50-1); Macho Again (Garrett Gomez,
20-1); Denis of Cork (Robby Albarado, 12-1); Casino Drive (Edgar
Prado, 7-2); Da'Tara (Alan Garcia, 30-1); Tale of Ekati (Eibar Coa,
20-1); Anak Nakal (Julien Leparoux, 30-1); Ready's Echo (John
Velazquez, 30-1); and Icabad Crane (Jeremy Rose, 20-1).

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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