Maybe the outside isn't really so bad at the Belmont Stakes. Palace Malice drew the No. 12 post three years ago and won. Tonalist was in the 11-hole when he took down the Belmont in 2014. But it's pretty rare for horses to win this race from outside, and that's what Exaggerator will have to do this Saturday (5 PM ET, NBC) after drawing post 11 for the third jewel of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

If that weren't enough, the four horses with the best chance of upsetting Exaggerator all drew favorable post positions on the inside. The Preakness champion is still expected to win Saturday; at press time, Exaggerator is available at 5/4 on the futures market.
 

Post Office

Here's the 13-horse field for the Belmont Stakes, listed in order of post position, including their jockeys, trainers and odds at press time:
 

Post Position Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1. Governor Malibu J. Rosario C. Clement 14/1
2. Destin J. Castellano T. Pletcher 9/1
3. Cherry Wine C. Lanerie D. Romans 8/1
4. Suddenbreakingnews M. Smith D. Von Hemel 7/1
5. Stradivari J. Velazquez T. Pletcher 7/1
6. Gettysburg P. Lopez S. Asmussen 40/1
7. Seeking the Soul F. Geroux D. Stewart 40/1
8. Forever d'Oro J. Ortiz D. Stewart 40/1
9. Trojan Nation A. Gryder P. Gallagher 40/1
10. Lani Y. Take M. Matsunaga 16/1
11. Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux Keith Desormeaux 5/4
12. Brody's Cause L. Saez D. Romans 14/1
13. Creator I. Ortiz Jr. S. Asmussen 16/1

 

This was about as bad a draw as Exaggerator could have ended up with. While he's been pushed toward the outside rail, alongside the longer shots to win the Belmont, second favorite Suddenbreakingnews is nestled comfortably in the 4-hole. Cherry Wine, who finished second to Exaggerator at the Preakness, is in the 3-hole. Stradivari will benefit from his placement in post No. 5, right next to expected front-runner Gettysburg. And Destin, trained by Todd Pletcher, cannot be overlooked in post 2.
 

Inside Job

Very recent history notwithstanding, the inside posts have produced more Belmont winners than any other position. Other than Tonalist and Palace Malice, only two other horses have ever won from No. 11 or farther out since post positions were recorded: Conquistador Cielo in 1982, and Sarava in 2002. Both were in the 11-hole. For that matter, only one horse has won the Belmont from post 10: Thunder Gulch in 1995.

This drought is partly because the fields haven't always been that large. But Belmont Park is a tricky race; there's just 3/16 of a mile to travel between the gate and the first turn, which tends to keep the outside horses on the outside longer than they'd like. We'll see how that affects Exaggerator this Saturday.

 

*Odds as of June 9, 2016