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Friday, June 8th, 2012

2012 Belmont Stakes preview: This time, it’s personal

I was weary of writing this preview. I failed to pick I’ll Have Another to do anything in the Derby and Preakness and now he stands on the cusp of ending the 33 year Triple Crown winner drought. We need him to win. We want him to win. I want to see it. As a younger horse racing fan, I grew up with hearing stories of Secretariats’ every-1/4 mile faster run at the Preakness and his 31 length Belmont victory. I’ve watched historical film of Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and War Admiral. I still can name all the 11 Triple Crown horses by memory and it still stings when I remember watching Smarty Jones on tape delay after my high school graduation lose by a nose and being denied the elusive 12th spot. So for pure selfish reasons, I want to witness a Triple Crown winner as it happens. There are only a hand full of sporting championships I would love to see (Tigers’ World Series, Raiders and Lions Super Bowls) but the Triple Crown would mean a lot to me, my family and the sport itself. Therefore, I don’t want to jinx the possibility by picking a certain horse, who will remain nameless, to win. So that’s why you will not see a prediction but only analysis in this preview. Sadly, Bodemeister will not be running in the Belmont, robbing us of a possible Affirmed-Alydar style Belmont duel. with Bodemiester out, Unstoppable U steps in and is the only true speed horse in the 12 horse field. However, he won’t pose much of a threat as he lacks the endurance of Bodemeister. I’ll Have another will start out of position 11 which is a good draw for his wide and outside racing style. Paynter steps back into the hunt and can be trouble as he finished only 3 3/4 lengths behind I’ll Have Another in the Santa Anita. To me those are the only real contenders. With a larger than normal in recent years field of 12 horses, this Belmont will be interesting and maybe even competitive. Let’s just say I’ll be cheering along with the rest of America for #11, but that is not a prediction! And if it is, no one is really going to care because we don’t want to count to 34.

- Will Elkins

Category: Will Elkins
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