I'll Have Another Scratched From Belmont Stakes

By: Brian Blessing | Tuesday, June 5, 2012

UPDATE (June 8): I'll Have Another has been scratched from Saturday's running of the Belmont Stakes due to a leg injury, according to trainer Doug O'Neill.

UPDATE (June 6): Post positions have been added to the table at the bottom of the page, along with an early update to the odds.

Is history on the horizon? The sport of horse racing is clamoring for a Triple Crown winner and I’ll Have Another’s opportunity is at hand.

After a stout effort in the Kentucky Derby, I’ll have Another showed his true heart in tracking down Bodemeister in the Preakness, despite slower fractions and an uncontested lead. Now comes the true test. Standing between racing immortality is a grueling 1½ miles and several talented fresh horses that have the guns loaded.

In particular, Dullahan, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby, poses a major threat from off the pace. The connections couldn’t agree on the plan for the Preakness, but ultimately decided to skip the second jewel of the Triple Crown and it may pay off come Saturday.

The main danger would appear to be Union Rags, who has encountered significant traffic troubles in the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby. If Union Rags finally gets to run his race off the shelf he could be the one that dashes the hopes of the immense crowd at Belmont Park.

It shouldn’t be taken lightly that the rider change from Juilen Leparoux to John Velazquez should make a major difference. Belmont Park has gotten the best of many talented riders over the years. Velazquez knows every step of this strip and should have the patience required to stage a big late run in this event. Velazquez won the Belmont Stakes aboard filly Rags to Riches in 2007.

Bob Baffert never likes being on the sidelines for a big event, so he will saddle Paynter in the Belmont Stakes. It would be ironic if Paynter would be the one to upset the party after Baffert’s charge Bodemeister came up just short on a pair of occasions against I’ll have Another.

Of the newcomers to the Triple Crown series, Street Life would appear to have the best chance to make some noise. Jose Lezcano will get the call for trainer Chad Brown. Street Life is coming off a third place finish in the Peter pan Stakes.

Trainer Doug O’Neil has pushed all the right buttons during this Triple Crown extravaganza and is leaving no stone unturned. Jockey Mario Gutierrez has been named to ride five horses on Belmont’s Friday card. It’s a smart move to give the kid a feel for a surface he’s never seen before. We haven’t seen a Triple Crown winner since 1978, which only serves to enhance the magnitude of Saturday’s big race. The sport is starving for a star.

Sentimentality hopes for a clean trip and a dominant performance from I’ll Have Another. Horse racing reality says Union Rags and Dullahan have a completely different outlook and are more than capable of making us all say, "There’s always next year."

POST HORSE POST DRAW ODDS
1 Street Life

12/1

2 Unstoppable U

30/1

3 Union Rags

6/1

4 Atigun

30/1

5 Dullahan

5/1

6 Ravelo's Boy

50/1

7 Five Sixteen

50/1

8 Guyana Star Dweej

50/1

9 Paynter

8/1

10 Optimizer

20/1

11 I'll Have Another

4/5

12 My Adonis

20/1

 
 
 
 
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