Updated on 09/15/2011 12:21PM

Favorite in familiar position

Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Judy Elias takes Invisible Ink out for some exercise Wednesday. He will break from the rail in the Belmont.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Point Given is not going for the Triple Crown, but he got the hat trick. For the third consecutive time, Point Given drew the outside post in a Triple Crown race, this time landing post 9 when entries were taken and posts drawn Wednesday for Saturday's 133rd Belmont Stakes.

Point Given, along with Dollar Bill and the longshot Buckle Down Ben, arrived at Belmont Park on Wednesday morning after a flight from Kentucky. Point Given's chestnut coat was gleaming when he got off the van, but he had a noticeable discoloration on the inside wall of his left hind hoof. Bob Baffert, Point Given's trainer, said the discoloration was from glue used last week to affix a glue-on shoe.

"He kept losing that shoe," Baffert said. "We kept changing it. We're trying to get the right angle with that foot because he's had problems back there with a cracked heel. It looks really good now, but I'm sure it'll get inflamed on this track."

Belmont Park's main track is a sandy surface, one that often burns a horse's heels, forcing most trainers to put leg wraps on a horse's rear legs. Baffert said Point Given only had a glue-on shoe affixed to his left rear foot. His other three shoes are conventional shoes that are secured using nails. A fungus caused Point Given's left rear heel to flare up just prior to the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished fifth, but it was virtually dormant at the Preakness.

Point Given had the outside post in a field of 17 in the Derby, and tired to finish fifth after being urged early in the race by his jockey, Gary Stevens. In the Preakness, Stevens allowed Point Given to coast along early after breaking from post 11, and Point Given circled the field to win going away. He likely will utilize similar tactics in the Belmont Stakes, in which he is expected to be a strong favorite.

Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form's national handicapper, installed Point Given as the 7-5 morning-line favorite. Monarchos, who won the Derby but was then sixth in the Preakness, is next at 3-1 on Watchmaker's line.

Monarchos drew post 5, right in the middle of the field.

The draw was a traditional one in which posts are selected randomly. At the Derby and Preakness, trainers and owners picked posts after a random draw determined selection order. Tom Durkin, the track announcer at Belmont Park, mocked the process at the first two legs of the Triple Crown while playing host to the Belmont draw.

"The draw will lack the tension, the high drama, that hour," Durkin said, emphasizing the word hour. He also teased Belmont's racing secretary, Mike Lakow, who was handling the entry cards. "Did you shuffle those?" Durkin asked, in obvious reference to the draw at the Derby, where cards were selected in reverse alphabetical order, beginning with Monarchos.

Invisible Ink and Balto Star, both trained by Todd Pletcher, drew the first two inside posts. Outside them, in order, are Dollar Bill, Thunder Blitz, Monarchos, Buckle Down Ben, Dr Greenfield, A P Valentine, and Point Given. Post positions, however, should not be a significant factor in this race because of the relatively small field, long run to the first turn, and 1 1/2-mile distance, which gives horses ample time to overcome early trouble.

All horses in the Belmont carry 126 pounds, and every horse will be a separate betting interest. The Belmont also is part of a $1 million guaranteed pick six, and a pick four that has a guaranteed pool of $250,000.

The Belmont carries a purse of $1 million, with $600,000 going to the winner. It will be televised live by NBC-Sports in a 90-minute telecast that begins at 5 p.m. Eastern time. Scheduled post time for the Belmont is 6:04 p.m. It is the 10th race on an outstanding 12-race card that begins at 12:30.

The undercard has five stakes, including the champion turf mare Perfect Sting facing males such as King Cugat in the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap, the top 3-year-old sprinters City Zip and Flame Thrower in the $150,000 Riva Ridge Stakes, and the crack older sprinters Men's Exclusive, Hook and Ladder, and Say Florida Sandy in the $150,000 True North Handicap.

The forecast for Saturday has improved as the week has progressed. The National Weather Service forecast now calls for partly cloudy skies and a high of 75 degrees. There is a chance of scattered showers on Friday, but it is not supposed to be of any significance. It was a mild 73 degrees at Belmont on Wednesday.

The arrival of Buckle Down Ben, Dollar Bill, and Point Given means that every horse in the Belmont is now on the grounds. Buckle Down Ben looked well when he exited the horse van. The main question with him, however, is whether he is of this quality. Dollar Bill, who has had troubled trips in both the Derby and Preakness, needs to get a clean trip and hope that the first two legs of the Triple Crown have not taken too much out of him.

Those three colts will only train at Belmont Park on Thursday and Friday before Saturday's race. John Ward Jr., who has had Monarchos here for the past two weeks, believes he has an advantage by having trained here.

"I think anybody who doesn't train at this track has got to be at a severe disadvantage," Ward said.

"That's my out if we get beat," Baffert said, joking. He added, seriously, "He's run here before. If a horse is doing good, he can run well anywhere."