Put down the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes, scheduled for Saturday night from Elmont, NY, as another indicator that things are heading back to normal.

The third jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown returns to its rightful place as the final event of the three-legged series after COVID-19 altered the sport’s schedule last year.

It’s also back to its normal distance of 1 1/2 miles compared to the 1 1/8 miles it was trimmed down to in 2020.

Nothing like a grueling test to finish off the primetime portion of horse racing’s biggest event.

On Tuesday, the post positions were drawn for a small field of just eight horses. However, there is an abundance of quality and plenty of storylines to watch out for.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will not participate in the Belmont Stakes as trainer Bob Baffert’s ban from the NYRA is still in effect after the horse failed a post-race drug test following the Run for the Roses.

Preakness winner Rombauer will be taking part in the Belmont Stakes. After having 12-1 odds to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown, his odds have shot up on Saturday as one of the favorites.

He isn’t the favorite, though, as Essential Quality — who was the heavy favorite for the Kentucky Derby — is the favorite to win Belmont after foregoing the Preakness.

Here is how the field is shaking up with the morning lines:

2021 Belmont Stakes Post Draw

1) Bourbonic (15-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche
Bred In: Kentucky
2) Essential Quality (2-1)

Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Luis Saez
Bred In: Kentucky
3) Rombauer (3-1)

Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Bred In: Kentucky
4) Hot Rod Charlie (7-2)

Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Bred In: Kentucky
5) France Go de Ina (30-1)

Trainer: Hideyuki Mori
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Bred In: Kentucky
6) Known Agenda (6-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Bred In: Kentucky
7) Rock Your World (9-2)

Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Bred In: Kentucky
8) Overtook (20-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
Bred In: Kentucky

This story first appeared on amNY.com

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