We have just over five days until the third leg of the Triple Crown runs at Belmont. In the many years that the race has been held—the first one was way back in 1867—there have been 29 horses who have had the opportunity to complete the Triple Crown at Belmont.
This year, it is no different. Favourite—I'll Have Another—comes into the 2012 race already having won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but that does not guarantee him a win, or the Crown, by any means.
In those last 29 attempts by horses who have already gained themselves the first two victories of the Crown, only 11 have been able to get the final and toughest leg of the trio at Belmont. The last horse to do it was Affirmed, when he became the Triple Crown champion in 1978.
Is this the year that a 33-year-old drought is broken, or could there be another Birdstone in this group of capable horses? Birdstone beat Smarty Jones in the 2004 race when Jones was attempting to become the 12th Triple Crown winner of racing.
According to Beth Harris of the Associated Press (via The Province), the Belmont Stakes is a race that is very uncommon for three-year-olds. The 1-1/2 mile track is a distance most will never have to run again. Along with the deep and loose sandy track, many consider this race to be "The Test of Champions."
Let's take a look at the favourite, I'll Have Another, and his competitors, who he may have to fear more so than thought.