While the Preakness Stakes certainly had a lot of excitement, now that it is over all eyes have shifted to the Belmont Stakes and I'll Have Another's quest for immortality.
Still, it would be foolish to dismiss the rest of the Belmont field. This is a race unlike the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. It is one-and-a-half miles long, two full furlongs longer than the Derby and two-and-a-half longer than the Preakness.
Going over the field of horses in the Preakness, here are the thoroughbreds that should take their talents to Belmont Park on June 9.
Creative Cause (Finished fifth at Kentucky Derby, third at Preakness)
Creative Cause just seems to be getting stronger the deeper we get into the Triple Crown season. He is not a horse built on great strength, but he does have a lot of stamina and that will help him on the longer Belmont track.
Right now, Creative Cause is "50-50" for the Belmont Stakes, according to trainer Mike Harrington. It would be a shame to see a horse who is coming into his own not get a shot to stonewall I'll Have Another's journey for a Triple Crown.
A lot of things will factor into the decision, but there is time before anything has to be finalized. Hopefully Creative Cause is good enough to go, because he deserves one more spotlight race.
Zetterholm (DNP in Kentucky Derby, fourth at Preakness)
One of the surprise stories at the Preakness was the fourth-place finish of 20-1 underdog Zetterholm. He has really found his groove under jockey Junior Alvarado, winning four straight races prior to the Preakness Stakes.
Obviously those were lesser events without the elite competition he went up against at Pimlico, but Zetterholm more than held his own in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
There has been no indication one way or another what his status is for the Belmont Stakes, but given his strong performance at the Preakness, it would be a shame not to see him get a chance to keep going.
Optimizer (Finished 11th at Kentucky Derby, sixth at Preakness)
While we don't have definitive words on Creative Cause or Zetterholm for the Belmont Stakes, it certainly sounds like Optimizier will be running in the final leg of the Triple Crown. The Baltimore Sun reported that D. Wayne Lukas was using the Preakness to prepare for the Belmont Stakes.
That is good news for the field and everyone watching the race. Optimizer's career has been all over the place, with finishes ranging from first to 11th and almost everywhere in between.
He has done better on shorter tracks, but he was able to finish sixth at the Preakness despite starting on the outside. That is an impressive run for an inconsistent horse. It would be fun to see how he does against a good field.