As he bids to become history's 12th Triple Crown winner, Charismatic hasn't frightened away any challengers.
Eleven other 3-year-olds were entered yesterday for Saturday's $1 million Belmont Stakes, reflecting the popular view that Charismatic is beatable despite his victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. By contrast, the most recent Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, had to face only six rivals in 1978; Secretariat beat five horses, Citation only three.
The morning line for the Belmont also reflects skepticism about the former claiming horse. He is listed at 2 to 1 -- a longer price than any of the previous 25 horses who have come to New York with a chance to sweep the Triple Crown. Menifee is rated at 7 to 2 and the filly Silverbulletday at 4 to 1.
Charismatic drew post position No. 4 for the Belmont. Silverbulletday got No. 3 -- a much better position than her draw of No. 14 for the Preakness, which prompted trainer Bob Baffert to scratch her. However, post positions are considered relatively unimportant in the Belmont, compared with the other two Triple Crown events.
When Stephen Got Even drew Post 11, trainer Nick Zito shrugged it off, saying: "I don't think that there really is a poor post with 12 horses going a mile and a half at Belmont. There's plenty of time before the first turn."
Because the track is so large and the turns are sweeping, even horses who get caught wide are usually not at a serious disadvantage. Horses regularly win races on the 1 1/2-mile oval with outside moves.
Charismatic arrived at Belmont yesterday morning -- along with Silverbulletday, Pineaff and Prime Directive -- on a flight from Louisville that was delayed for two hours by bad weather.