Spectacular Bid's easy victories in the first two legs of the Triple Crown did not scare off his potential challengers in the Belmont Stakes. Nine other colts were entered this morning to run against him Saturday.
The most formidable of them is Coastal, a late bloomer who has won his three races this year, including a sensational 13-length triumph in the Peter Pan Stakes here.
Coastal had not been nominated to the Belmont, forcing owner William Haggin Perry and trainer David Whiteley to deliberate for days over whether to make him a supplementary nominee.
That costs $20,000 - an initial $5,000 payment plus $15,000 to send the horse to the starting gate - and Perry did make the first expenditure.
But Whiteley still hasn't made a final decision.
"We're not in the paddock yet," he said today. "We have a lot of time to change our minds."
The $20,000 gamble could bring Perry and Whiteley a big return. The Belmont will be worth $273,000, with $163,800 going to the winner and $60, 060 to the second-place finisher.
The field, with post positions, consists of King Celebrity (1), General Assembly (2), Quiet Crossing (3), Picturesque (4), Spectacular Bid (5), Screen King (6), Gallant Best (7), Golden Act (8), Coastal (9) and Mystic Era (10).
The post position draw was presumably a relief to Spectacular Bid's connections. Jockey Ron Franklin will get to break outside, a safe distance from his antagonist, Angel Cordero Jr., who rides General Assembly.