Preakness 2012 Winner: Early Predictions for I'll Have Another at Belmont Stakes

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIMay 19, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 19: I'll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez wins the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

After another stellar performance in a Triple Crown race, I'll Have Another deserves to be the favorite at the Belmont Stakes on June 9 in New York. The oddsmakers have to take notice of this horse's performance at the Derby and the Preakness.

They will also be observing the different distances and post positions he faced in both races, yet he still came out on top in both. It has been quite the impressive run thus far for jockey Mario Gutierrez and I'll Have Another, and it would be silly to discount them at Belmont Park.

The track in New York is a mile-and-a-half, but I'll Have Another's amazing closing ability makes that a non-factor. It appears that secondary push would produce positive results on a longer track.

It's even possible we're just watching a special horse that understands where the finish line is. The chemistry he and Gutierrez has allows him to hit another gear at the right time. He systematically chased the favorite, Bodemeister, down for the second time this month.

He was a 15-1 underdog at the Kentucky Derby, but the underdog label doesn't fit this horse anymore. Most will expect another strong race from I'll Have Another at the Belmont Stakes.

It's early, the race is almost three weeks away, but as of right now he's the only logical pick as the favorite in June.

I predict he will not only be the favorite, but he'll win it to complete the Triple Crown.

No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978. Big Brown won the first two legs in 2008, but faltered badly in the Belmont Stakes. I'll Have Another's trainer Doug O'Neil was quoted by CNN with this joyous endorsement.

"I'm just numb; it's incredible," said O'Neill, moments after Saturday's race. "We're thinking Triple Crown, baby!"

I know Doug, so is everyone else.

Follow Brian Mazique and for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports Video Games