Belmont Stakes 2012 Horses: Ranking Favorites After I'll Have Another Retires
Is there a more heartbreaking story in all of sports this year than I'll Have Another, forced to retire with a left front tendon injury?
Probably not, but as they say, the show must go on. So despite everyone's disappointment that we'll go yet another year without a Triple Crown, there remain several horses capable of glory at the Belmont Stakes.
We've looked back sadly on what is not to be for I'll Have Another. Now let's look forward to what could be a glorious day for one able horse in New York on Saturday.
The third-place finisher at the Kentucky Derby is currently the favorite at the Belmont with 9/5 odds. He's the best deep finisher in the field and should benefit from the 1.5-mile track.
The question now for Dullahan is which horse he will stalk. Will it be Paynter, stablemate of Bodemeister, who is a solid sprinter? Perhaps Union Rags, the horse with high expectations who was a huge disappointment at the Derby? Another sneaky contender that jumps out early?
Whomever the horse may be, Dullahan is my pick to take this race. Given the odds, I'm clearly not the only one who shares that belief.
Only Bodemeister had better odds at the Derby. Only Dullahan has better odds at Belmont.
The question for Union Rags (3/1 odds) is whether the smaller field at the Belmont will play a significant factor after he was buried behind the pack at the start of the Derby. If Union Rags is able to run his race from start to finish, does he have enough to take this race?
I think he does, though the late speed of Dullahan may foil him. But if Union Rags doesn't get jostled early or tangled in the field, he could finally live up to his potential and win at Belmont. Look for him to at least finish in the money.
At 7/2 odds, Paynter comes into this race carrying the burden of trainer Bob Baffert's disappointment after Bodemeister finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Which horse will take the Belmont Stakes?
Is it a burden that Paynter can erase with a win?
He's got the speed to do it, but with only five races under his belt, it remains to be seen if he has the composure or heart to win in such a huge race. He'll have a say in this one way, but he could do anything from win this race to fall behind the pack down the stretch.
He's riskier than the odds suggest and doesn't offer a huge payoff if he actually wins. I'd place my bets elsewhere.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets really wanted to have another.
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