By Sean Gregory
May 28, 2015

Hope springs eternal at the racetrack. At the Belmont Stakes on June 6, American Pharoah has a chance to become the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown. The bay colt is the current favorite among oddsmakers after beating the fields in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. But that means little for the Belmont. Since Affirmed’s Triple Crown in 1978, 13 horses have won the first two races only to fall short of the prize. The past nine Belmont winners did not race in the Preakness; fresh horses tend to do well on Belmont’s long, 1½-mile track. No matter. The potential for a Triple Crown winner gets racing fans everywhere excited about the Belmont, and American Pharoah will have legions rooting for him–with any odds.

This appears in the June 08, 2015 issue of TIME.

Write to Sean Gregory at sean.gregory@time.com.

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