On Saturday evening, the 2012 Belmont Stakes will begin and it will be one of the most exciting horse races in quite some time.
This is largely thanks to I’ll Have Another, who has a legitimate chance to complete the first Triple Crown victory since Affirmed accomplished the incredible feat back in 1978.
However, there are 10 other horses that will be looking to steal his thunder and make their own mark on the sport.
Let’s take a look at each competitor, their current odds and make some predictions.
*Odds courtesy of Official Belmont Stakes Website.
Guyana Star Dweej – 50/1
Ravelo’s Boy – 50/1
Five Sixteen – 50/1
These three horses are all 50/1 for good reason; they just do not have a real chance of winning.
None of them performed well in their last appearance and have no momentum going into Belmont this weekend.
Guyana Star Dweej had the best prior race, finishing second at the Belmont OC/allowance. Ravelo’s Boy had a disappointing fifth-place finish at the Tampa Bay Derby, while Five Sixteen had a fourth-place showing at the Aqueduct allowance.
Unless something drastic happens, these horses will finish near the back of the pack.
Unstoppable U – 30/1
Atigun – 30 /1
Optimizer – 30/1
Street Life – 15/1
Now we are talking about some real dark horses that could conceivably pull off an upset and pay dividends to their backers.
Most of these horses are winners, as Unstoppable U recently claimed first at the Belmont allowance, Atigun won the Churchill allowance, Street Life had wins back at Aqueduct in February and March before finishing third at the Peter Pan and Optimizer is a veteran of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
These colts still have a lot to prove and aren’t by any means a shoo-in to upset at Belmont, but they aren’t a terrible bet by far.
Dullahan – 5/1
Paynter – 8/1
Union Rags – 6/1
Dullahan is a horse that many believe has a chance to win it all. He reportedly ran a four-furlong workout in 45.97 seconds and has the endurance to last the duration of the 1.5-mile race.
Union Rags was one of the favorites at the Kentucky Derby earlier this year, but had trouble getting started and did not finish strong. His team is hoping that by taking the Preakness off to concentrate on this upcoming race, they have a much better chance to play the role of spoiler.
Paynter is coming off a Pimlico allowance victory and is being ridden by Mike Smith, who has won the Preakness, Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes during his career.
All of these horses have a great shot of spoiling I’ll Have Another’s day.
I’ll Have Another – 3/5
For a number of reasons, I’ll Have Another is a heavy favorite. His true odds aren’t this great, but the public is absolutely hammering him and everyone wants to see a Triple Crown victor.
He’s got a great chance to win it, but it’s likely not worth the bet at less-than-even money.
Place: I’ll Have Another
Show: Unstoppable U
Fourth: Street Life
I’ll Have Another is going to finally taste what finishing in second feels like after getting dominated from start to finish by Dullahan, who has been doing nothing but preparing for this race and getting ready to play spoiler.
Unstoppable U will be up near the front of the pack and Street Life will round out the superfecta.