Belmont Stakes 2012: Top Contenders to Ruin I'll Have Another's Triple Crown Run

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03:  Union Rags trains on the track in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

If I'll Have Another is going to be the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978, he's going to have to do it against a few familiar foes.

Optimizer is the only Preakness horse that is expected to make a trip north to Belmont to run in the "test of the champions," but Kentucky Derby runners Union Rags, Dullahan and Alpha could be heading there as well.

That is not such great news for the Derby and Preakness winner, as Dullahan finished third at Churchill Downs and Union Rags was one of the favorites for the race.

The Derby runners are the biggest threats to I'll Have Another's run for at a third-straight win.




A third-place finisher at the Kentucky Derby, Dullahan is an experienced horse who has earned his owners a lot of money throughout his career.

He closed well at Churchill Downs and quietly ran one of the better races of the day.

With the rest he got over the last two weeks, we could see Dullahan make a run at the Belmont.



Union Rags

This three-year-old colt was a favorite at the Kentucky Derby for a reason, but he didn't break well and wound up being a total non-factor.

Now he and his team will be out to redeem themselves.

Rags, the son of Dixie Union, will again be a favorite in this last leg of the Triple Crown.




Another Derby runner, Alpha had a few big fans going into the "run for the roses" and will have some again here.

He'll need a perfect race to win, but we've seen crazier things happen. He's a closer running with horses that close even better, but he does have a chance.