Bet Twice's jockey, Craig Perret, said he expects the $500,000 Pimlico Special to have the same stretch drive today as last year's Haskell Handicap, which ended in a three-horse photo finish.
In that race, Bet Twice edged Alysheba and Lost Code to win the prestigious event at New Jersey's Monmouth Park.
"I think it's going to be a replay of last year's race," Perret said. "When we hit the one-eighth pole, there's going to be a lot of moving around. We'll have to fight it out from there. Nobody's going to draw away in this one.
"I don't think more than three or four lengths will separate the whole field at any time in the race."
Alysheba, unbeaten in three starts this year, is vastly improved as a 4-year-old. The pre-race favorite at 8-5, the bay colt has won more than $4 million in his career.
Lost Code, also unbeaten in three races this season, is listed at 2-1; Bet Twice is 7-2. Rounding out the field for the 1 3/16-mile race for 4-year-olds and up are Cryptoclearance, Lac Ouimet and Little Bold John.
Bet Twice, runner-up in last year's Kentucky Derby and Preakess before winning the Belmont Stakes, has been in a slump, with no major victories since the Haskell last August.
Trainer Jimmy Croll prepared Bet Twice for the Pimlico Special by running him in two marginal races in Kentucky. Bet Twice won one of the tuneups and finished second in the other.
"He had a seven-month rest, and those two races were exactly what he needed after the rest," Croll said. "This was our whole idea."
Lost Code, ridden by Pat Day, is starting on the extreme outside and is expected to bolt to the lead. He may be the horse to watch, having recently won the Razorback and Oaklawn handicaps.
"No one is going to let Lost Code sneak off to an easy lead," said Perret, who rode Lost Code to each of his three victories this season. Perret chose to leave the mount for the Pimlico Special because of his allegiance to Croll.