05/28/2008 12:00AM

Prado to ride Casino Drive in Belmont


ELMONT, N.Y. - Edgar Prado was officially named to ride Casino Drive in the June 7 Belmont Stakes, the colt's connections announced Wednesday afternoon.

Prado, who earlier this year was voted into racing's Hall of Fame, has twice won the Belmont, in both instances stopping Triple Crown bids. In 2002, Prado rode 70-1 Sarava to victory as the longest shot ever to win the race, defeating 6-5 favorite War Emblem. In 2004, Prado guided Birdstone to a 36-1 upset of previously undefeated and 3-5 favorite Smarty Jones.

This year, Prado will be trying to upend the Triple Crown bid of Big Brown, who is also undefeated entering the Belmont.

"There are so many good jockeys here that it was very difficult to decide on the right one," said Nobutaka Tada, the racing manager for Casino Drive's owner, Hidetoshi Yamamoto. "The reason we decided on Edgar was his experience with the Belmont Stakes."