Friday's surprising retirement of I'll Have Another has sent shock waves through the world of horse racing, which was pulling for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to make history on Saturday. Owners, trainers and fans will now have to prepare for a Belmont Stakes that has lost its luster.
As it's often said, "the race must go on." And it will, with an event that is anybody's race to win.
Before the bad news broke, I'll Have Another seemed destined to be the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. But with or without him, a few of horses in the field look destined to finish in the back of the pack.
Long shots include Guyana Star Dweej, Ravelo’s Boy, Five Sixteen (all at 50/1) and Unstoppable U at 30/1. But here's an in-depth look at three other horses who will fail to keep up on Saturday.
This may come as a surprise, but I think Union Rags will run into trouble late in the Belmont. According to the Star Ledger, this horse was supposed to be the best of the three-year-olds, but he got caught in a maze of horses in the Florida Derby as a 2-5 favorite and looked lost down the stretch at the Kentucky Derby. He's had some huge wins, including a 7 1/2-length victory on a sloppy track in Saratoga, but he doesn't appear to have the pedigree to handle the pressure of a mile and half run.
Street Life could surprise, if he can stick around for the stretch, but he'll likely run out of gas before he gets there. According to the Star Ledger, he has had an extra week to prepare, but he closed a disappointing sixth in Wood Memorial, which was one of the few races he ran against this year's best. Jockey Jose Lezcano will have his work cut out for him.
Adonis is one of the field's more interesting horses. He can run like the wind and should be at or near the front early, but patience is not a virtue for this 20-1 long-shot and it will get the best of him. According to Bankroll Sports, My Adonis was the last horse to make the field at the Belmont and was entered to set the pace. He's aggressive and will be a menace to a number of the Belmont's top contenders. Tigun and Dullahan will probably have the most trouble with My Adonis because they both like to close fast.
The longest drought in Triple Crown history will continue this year, which adds to the disappointment of the weekend. Another fact that's hard to swallow is how easy Triple Crowns seemed back in the days of Affirmed. According to MercuryNews.com, Affirmed was the third horse to be victorious at the Belmont, Preakness and Derby in six years. The other two to accomplish the feat were Secretariat and Seattle Slew.
Here is the latest race odds, courtesy of Bankroll Sports:
1: Street Life (12/1)
2: Unstoppable U (30/1)
3: Union Rags (6/1)
4: Atigun (30/1)
5: Dullahan (5/1)
6: Ravelo’s Boy (50/1)
7: Five Sixteen (50/1)
8: Guyana Star Dweej (50/1)
9: Paynter (8/1)
10: Optimizer (20/1)
11: I’ll Have Another (4/5, SCRATCHED)
12: My Adonis (20/1)