Belmont Stakes 2012 Picks: Last-Second Predictions for Belmont's Top Contenders
With the Belmont Stakes now wide open, selecting a winner will be that much tougher.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another was a late scratch due to a swollen tendon. While this might disappoint fans that wanted to see the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, it creates a much deeper race that anyone can win.
However, only one of the 11 entrants will leave with a victory. Here is how things will look in the winner's circle following the race.
Note: All odds courtesy of BelmontStakes.com.
4th Place: Dullahan (9-5)
Coming off a third-place showing in the Kentucky Derby, Dullahan is the current favorite in the absence of I'll Have Another.
However, he has not shown the ability to close late and win with consistency.
Dullahan is also starting between a few slow-starting long shots, which could the horse's chance at getting off to a good start.
The favorite before the race is not always the winner, and this seems like one of those times.
3rd Place: Unstoppable U (20-1)
Unstoppable U has won both of his two career races, including last month on the same Belmont track.
He has a great start speed and should be able to push the pace as he gets out to an early lead. While it is unlikely Unstoppable U will be able to stay in front the entire race, a top-three finish is not out of the question.
2nd Place: Street Life (8-1)
Street Life would have already been considered a sleeper coming into the race, but the fact that he drew the inside post is icing on the cake.
Since 1905, 23 winners in this race have come from the No. 1 post—10 more than any other spot on the track.
If Street Life can get good position early on, he should be able to stay with the leaders the entire race.
1st Place: Paynter (7-2)
If there is someone who knows horses, it is legendary trainer Bob Baffert. The trainer of both Paynter and Bodemeister, the second-place finisher in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, thinks he has a better chance this time around.
Owner Ahmed Zayat told the Detroit Free Press, "Bob Baffert, from Day 1, thought Paynter was the better horse. He thinks he's a really, really nice horse."
Bodemeister lost one of the closest races in Preakness history, so Paynter could really do some damage. He has proven his closing ability with two wins in four races and he has been trained for this type of race.
Even if I'll Have Another was active for the final leg of the Triple Crown, Paynter would be the horse crossing the finish line first.
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