NEW YORK - The 1-2 finishers in the Kentucky Derby are 1-2 on the morning line for the Belmont Stakes.
Derby winner Animal Kingdom was made the 2-1 favorite for Saturday's final leg of the Triple Crown, with Derby runner-up Nehro the second choice at 4-1.
Preakness winner Shackleford was next at 9-2 when a field of 12 was entered Wednesday for the first rubber match between a Derby winner and Preakness winner since 2005.
Animal Kingdom, with John Velazquez riding, will leave from the No. 9 post, which has produced only four Belmont winners since 1905. The colt trained by Graham Motion is trying to become the 12th to complete a Derby-Belmont sweep. The last to succeed was Thunder Gulch in 1995.
"It doesn't change anything for us," Motion said of the post position. "I don't think it's going to take him out of his game."
Shackleford, with jockey Jesus Castanon aboard, will try to become the first Belmont winner out of the No. 12 post. The colt trained by Dale Romans also is attempting to become the 22d Preakness-Belmont winner.
Though Motion said Shackleford may have to work harder early in the race to get an inside position, Romans isn't buying it.
"In a mile-and-a-half race, the post position isn't that important," Romans said. "With No. 12, he'll be the last one in and the first one out. Hopefully, he'll be able to clear the field."
Nehro, with Corey Nakatani riding, has finished second in his last three starts. The colt drew the No. 6 post.
"Nehro is very versatile, so he can be anywhere," said Brad Weisbord, racing manager for Nehro's owner, Ahmed Zayat.
The Belmont is the longest and most grueling of the Triple Crown races, and post position usually isn't considered as vital as it is in the Derby and Preakness. Motion, though, believes it can be significant.
"It's not a very long run to the first turn, so I do think it's important," he said. "I'm glad I'm not hung out there [like Shackleford]."
Animal Kingdom breezed to a half-mile time of 47.8 seconds during a workout this week. Motion said he has heard plenty of talk about how this class of 3-year-olds isn't particularly impressive, but he expects Animal Kingdom and Shackleford to have another thrilling duel, and Nehro to be in the mix too.
"I find it odd that we look to knock these horses when they just put on a great show on Preakness day," Motion said. "I think they look like two really nice horses, and hopefully they can come back and validate that in the Belmont. . . . I don't think this year is any different. I think what my horse has achieved in being such a lightly raced horse and only having two races on the dirt, I think it's pretty extraordinary and unparalleled, to be honest."
For the first time, the first seven finishers from the Derby will be running in the Belmont.
The field, from the rail out, is Master of Hounds (10-1), Stay Thirsty (20-1), Ruler On Ice (20-1), Santiva (15-1), Brilliant Speed (15-1), Nehro (4-1), Monzon (30-1), Prime Cut (15-1), Animal Kingdom (2-1), Mucho Macho Man (10-1), Isn't He Perfect (30-1), and Shackleford (9-2).
Monzon is a Maryland-bred colt that many hope will mark the beginning of a revival for Sagamore Farm, now owned by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank. Monzon is believed to be the first horse from Sagamore Farm to run in a Triple Crown race since Native Dancer in 1953.
Here is the field for Saturday's 11/2-mile Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York. The $1 million race will be televised by NBC10, starting at 5 p.m. Expected post time for the Belmont is 6:35 p.m.
PP Horse Trainer /Jockey Odds
1. Master of Hounds Aidan O'Brien/Garrett Gomez 10-1
2. Stay Thirsty Todd Pletcher/Javier Castellano 20-1
3. Ruler On Ice Kelly Breen/Jose Valdivia Jr. 20-1
4. Santiva Eddie Kenneally/Shaun Bridgmohan 15-1
5. Brilliant Speed Tom Albertrani/Joel Rosario 15-1
6. Nehro Steve Asmussen/Corey Nakatani 4-1
7. Monzon Ignacio Correas/Jose Lezcano 30-1
8. Prime Cut Neil Howard/Edgar Prado 15-1
9. Animal Kingdom Graham Motion/John Velazquez 2-1
10. Mucho Macho Man Kathy Ritvo/Ramon Dominguez 10-1
11. Isn't He Perfect Doodnauth Shivmangal/Rajiv Maragh 30-1
12. Shackleford Dale Romans/Jesus Castanon 9-2
Purses: First place: $600,000. Second place: $200,000. Third place: $110,000. Fourth place: $60,000. Fifth place: $30,000.