"All good," said trainer Bob Baffert said at 7:57 a.m. ET June 9, just less than 11 hours before the chestnut son of Scat Daddy will attempt to become the 13th Triple Crown winner.
The early concerns of rain have been wiped away from the forecast for Elmont, N.Y., setting up the likelihood of a fast track for the first time in the trio of 2018 classics, and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner currently sits as the even-money favorite in the field of 10 for the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1). A high of 80 degrees is expected Saturday at Belmont.
Early stakes scratches include American Gal and Highway Star from the Ogden Phipps (G1) (they were cross-entered and ran in the grade 3 Bed o' Roses June 8), Spectator from the Acorn (G1), Kanthaka from the Woody Stephens Stakes presented by Mohegan Sun (G2), and High North from the Easy Goer.
Trainer Phil D'Amato said Saturday morning Spectator "spiked a mild (temperature)," which led to the Acorn scratch. "That's all it is. She'll be fine," D'Amato said of the 2017 Sorrento Stakes (G2) winner.
Kanthaka, the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the Woody Stephens, has been withdrawn because of a heel bruise, according to owner West Point Thoroughbreds' Twitter account.
"Bummed, but he will live to fight another day," the social media post stated.
With more than $381,000 in the win pool for the Belmont Stakes as of 8:45, the odds are as follows (in order of post position): Justify 1-1, Free Drop Billy 28-1, Bravazo 5-1, Hofburg 9-2, Restoring Hope 42-1, Gronkowski 25-1, Tenfold 8-1, Vino Rosso 8-1, Noble Indy 29-1, Blended Citizen 19-1.